POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS: OBAMA’S WATER WAR OVER POT

President_Barack_Obama220px-Water_droplet_blue_bg05Below is my column today in USA Today on the Obama Administration’s decision to cut off water to legal marijuana growers. Notably, the business concern today for the rollout of legal pot sales in Washington is greater demand than supply. I previously wrote about how a little known board had effectively moved to end the debate over the Redskins name, an example of agencies increasingly intervening in social and political disputes. This move by the Bureau of Reclamation is a prime example of such intervention into political disputes and a troubling precedent for the future.

When voters in Washington state and Colorado legalized possession and sale of recreational marijuana in 2012, federal officials were not happy. They will be less happy Tuesday when pot officially goes on sale in Washington. Though the Obama administration has pledged to respect state laws, it is quietly going in the opposite direction by cutting off water to the growers. The idea seems to be that if the administration cannot dry up the public support for legalization, it will just dry up the plants themselves.

Like areas from health care to immigration, a sharp disconnect between voters and their government is growing by the day. The administration and Congress are losing the debate over legalization.

Many citizens do not see the logic or necessity in the crackdown on pot. Support for legalization is soaring. In 1987, only 16% supported legalization. That increased to 26% in 1996 and 43% in 2012. It now stands at 55%. Two states have responded with legalization, others have taken a smaller step of decriminalization, and 20 states have legalized medical marijuana over the opposition of the federal government.

Democrats’ dilemma

220px-US-DOI-BureauOfReclamation-Seal.svgWith other programs such as health care already endangering Democrats in the next election, the administration does not want to openly oppose the wishes of more than half of the population. With one hand, it allows state experimentation, while the other hand, the Bureau of Reclamation turns off the spigot by ordering irrigation districts not to distribute federal water to farmers breaking national drug laws. No water, no pot.

The use of water as a weapon is not new in the West, where “water wars” were once common among ranches and even states. The federal government began in 1902 to take control over such waters with programs to build dams and waterways. What began as a few dozen projects grew into a massive system, in which the federal government controlled a significant portion of the water in 17 states with the construction of more than 600 dams and reservoirs. It is now the nation’s largest water wholesale operation, supplying to more than 31 million people and one out of five farmers in the West. It is not just water. The government’s 53 power plants annually provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours that support millions of homes.

Though some have long chaffed at federal control over this essential resource, the government has insisted that its projects are designed to simply maximize the use of the resource. Indeed, with the growing national crisis over the loss of drinking water and many states experiencing droughts, the role of a neutral federal agency has never been more important.

That is why this latest move is so dangerous. The government already coerces states by withholding money unless they follow federal mandates. If the feds can now withhold water or electricity, too, that stranglehold will tighten.

The government supplies the water that sustains 10 million acres of farmland, and the farms that produce 60% of the nation’s vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts.

In Washington, that translates to the water for two-thirds of the state’s irrigated land.

Legal hypocrisy

Bureau spokesman Dan DuBray insists that the agency “is obligated to adhere to federal law.” However, that position is inconsistent with the actions of the Obama administration in other areas.

I testified in Congress on Obama’s non-enforcement orders issued in areas such as immigration and drug enforcement. In addition, Obama has issued controversial orders that effectively amend federal laws in ways that Congress had rejected. It rings rather hollow for the administration now to claim that it has no choice but to take this action to indirectly support drug laws when it has ordered the non-enforcement of so many others.

This is even less plausible when one considers that the Justice Department has altered its enforcement of the drug laws in light of state legalization. The administration is directly curtailing enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, but a water agency is changing its operations to enforce that same law by other means. The agency could have simply supplied water to every state neutrally. Instead, it is taking action to punish these states.

The shutting off of the water in Washington and Colorado for these growers is not about pot but politics. Carl von Clausewitz once observed that “war is the continuation of politics by other means.” The same can be said about the opening salvo in a new water war.

Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

132 thoughts on “POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS: OBAMA’S WATER WAR OVER POT

  1. Obama is ok with torture but pot growing even when it’s legal in your state has got tot stop! HYPOCRACY and over reach seems to be this administration watch word. The use of water as a weapon of control will destroy what is left of humans respect for government. What can he be thinking.

  2. This is the power elite speaking to the people. They are telling us who controls the resources of our society. They do!

    Detroit is shutting off water to it’s most poor and vulnerable citizens, Even the UN has called for that to stop. Yet it has not stopped. I take this as one more call to wake up and see who is “owning” our common resources and who is willing to work for the elites.

    (Obama is a complete hypocrite, having admitted to using marijuana. Bush also used marijuana as did Clinton.)

  3. Holmes

    No one in the Obama administration has ever condoned or been “ok with torture”. That was Bush/Cheney’s pride and joy.

  4. Washington is a very liberal state. This will not sit well with the progressives in the party. Joe Blow is right, but other crops also suck up a lot of water. Water rights are usually in acre feet or minutes of water per x. However, once the water is flowing downstream/river the water should belong to a public utility and out of the hands of the feds. Are each of these growers going to have to get a note from DOJ saying the DOJ is not planning to prosecute?

  5. I find this objection to be silly. What Obama is doing is called COMPROMISE. I know that is a bad word for many, but he could be strict and enforce Federal laws and shut down pot production completely. Think THAT would be a good idea? This is similar to the objection raised by Obama mitigating some deleterious effects of the health care law. The opponents raise objections to some provisions, and THEN complain he met and accommodated them! GET REAL! This is not a serious complaint and is pure political grandstanding.

    There are very good reasons to put pot on a lower priority than FOOD in distributing scare water resources. So please, not everything is a plot to take over more power for the President or Federal agencies. In fact, in my area of aviation, I wish the FAA would use more common sense more often. The TSA must have policies specifically prohibiting common sense too. Any reasonable person knows that strictly following the absolute letter of the law can produce consequences that violate the spirit of it. So some latitude is needed, and the Constitution provides that mechanism called impeachment if the President goes too far.

  6. rcampbell, Obama is still doing extra ordinary renditions. What is happening to detainees at gitmo and Bagram is torture. Obama and his administration have failed to prosecute for crimes of torture. They are indeed O.K. with torture.

  7. Obama is a spigotry-challenged president (kudos to Squeeky), but does anyone here have any illusions as to what would have happened if Romney had been elected president? On January 1, 2014, when marijuana became legal in Colorado, Romney would have sent in the storm troopers. In this particular case, Obama is actually the least bad president.

    The only problem with marijuana in Colorado is banking. Banks refuse to accept marijuana money because they are afraid of being accomplices in a federal crime. Marijuana businesses therefore deal in cash. An amusing problem has presented itself, where marijuana business drive an armored car to the doors of government offices, pay their taxes in cash, and Colorado and federal officials have no choice but to accept it (and count it, ha, ha). Obama is no different than Bush with respect to the banking sector, as either could have intervened (in the FDIC sense of the word) the Too Big To Fail banks and given them the Glass-Steagall treatment, but there was no difference between Hank Paulson and Timmy Geithner.

  8. Our President smoked weed. He is a liberal. But, before anything he is a BIG GOVERNEMNT whore. The War on Drugs is an integral part of big government. It employs millions of Dem voting government workers, and it controls just another part of our lives.

  9. The writing is not he wall, those with their “moral” objections to marijuana should get their heads out of the sand before they suffocate.

  10. rcampell:

    Not to get into a tangental discussion about torture and who condones it, but, the Obama administration “condones” torture by its failure to hold those responsible to account. “Looking forward” is the same as approval regardless of what is said, as opposed to what is done.

  11. If Jill Stein would have been elected the issue of legalized pot would have been over! Environmental clean up would already begun and how to use water would have begun to be negotiated. Too bad she wasn’t elected! Now, back to the current state of affairs!!!

  12. The #1 Paul wrote “However, once the water is flowing downstream/river the water should belong to a public utility and out of the hands of the feds.”

    I seem to remember you live in Arizona, but it sounds like you do not understand water law. Easterners have no idea how complex it is in the West. More than a few people have learned the hard way after buying land with a stream running though it that they have no rights whatsoever to the water. Water law is a specialty, just like family law.

    Oh, and by the way, when the Hoover Dam was being built and the water was being split via the Colorado River Compact, did you know that those years were some of the wettest on record? In other words, there is not enough water to satisfy all of the states’ demands in the Southwest.

    Anyone interested in the truth about water in the west should read John Wesley Powell’s “Report on the Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States.” Powell was the second director of the USGS and the guy that famous lake was named after. There are some major fights to come over water in the West.

  13. Cautionary tale for those who believe that the government can (and should) be trusted with ever more power.

  14. saucy – the feds built a couple of our dams but the rest were built by Salt River Project, which controls the water coming into Phoenix for irrigation. Most of the drinking water is treated well water by the various municipalities.

    As an Arizonan, I am well aware of the Colorado Compact, which seems to continually be in one federal court or another getting settled. What is very interesting is that regardless of the water level, the tribes get their water without any deduction for drought (at least right now). Do you also know that Mexico is guaranteed water from the Colorado, but there never is enough, so we built a desalinization plant to supply them with their water.

  15. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/water-guzzling-pot-plants-draining-drought-wracked-california-n149861 v “Bauer presented data to CNBC indicating that growers are drawing more than 156,000 gallons of water from a single tributary of the Eel River, in Mendocino County, every day.

    The average marijuana plant needs about 6 gallons of water a day, depending on its size and whether it’s grown inside or outside, according to a local report that cited research. Pot growers object to that number, saying that the actual water use of a pot plant is much less.

    Although the marijuana business has helped revive the local economy, residents may now be feeling the effects of living alongside growers. And, as growers—some legal, some not—face a severe drought, local law enforcement officers expect the fight over natural resources to intensify.

    “I never want to see crime increase, but I have a feeling it will, because of the commodities that are up here,” said Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey. “When we get to the end of the grow season, which is August and September, the need for enhanced water availability is gonna be there, and I don’t think the water’s going to be there, so you’re going to see people, I believe, having some conflict over water rights.” “

  16. SWM – I have a little trouble with the 6 gallons a day. Illegal grows in national forests are drawing off creeks and using a lot less water.

  17. http://hppr.org/post/down-last-drop-texas-panhandle-water-crisis “James Mahan is a plant physiologist and an in-law to the Spinhirne family. He works at the USDA Ag Research lab in Lubbock. He says, “We’re headed for a brick wall at 100 miles per hour, and really, the effects of climate change are branches hitting the windshield along the way.”

    The depletion of the Ogallala is primarily manmade. A combination of irrigated farming and Texas water rights are at the root of the issue, but the nature of the Ogallala itself is a factor.

    No other state’s water law allows such unencumbered individual control. Basically, the law says if you own the land, you and only you own the water. The danger in that concept is becoming apparent as the Ogallala disappears. The law favors the individual above the needs of the community, and in effect, makes water conservation districts ineffective.” Marijuana or not……Water law is becoming an increasingly important area of the law. Some states like Texas have not been forward thinking in this area.

  18. What’s really interesting is this decision isn’t about whether too much water is used to grow pots. Here is what the Federal govt. has to say about their own decision:

    “Posted on May 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 6:52 PM

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Marijuana growers in Washington, Colorado and other states cannot use irrigation water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to grow their crops, the agency said on Tuesday.

    Marijuana growing remains illegal under federal law, so irrigation water from its dams cannot be used to grow pot even in states that have legalized recreational or medical use of the drug, the agency said….

    “This is the policy decision,” DuBray said.”

    So this is not an environmental concern of the administration (which would be strange given it’s support for all kinds of dirty energy)! This is an attempt to stop pot sales to others by people who use it! Jeesh!!!

  19. Again, this issue is not about a concern about use of water. It is a policy decision about Federal jurisdiction over drug enforcement.

  20. Saucy, I’m well aware Republicans, forgetting about the disastrous Prohibition era. thought they could control drug use. My point is, this is where one would hope Dems would be sane. But, they have another reason to love the War on Drugs, their love of bureaucracy. An unholy duopoly “bipartisanship.”

    To think govt. bureaucrats could even come close to competing w/ the ultimate capitalists, drug cartels, is insanity. Where there is demand, there will be supply. And capitalists will provide it. Dems and Rep also have been tepid @ best @ working on the end of that equation that needs work, the DEMAND side.

  21. Growing weeds with water isn’t a problem. Fracking with water is.

    Oklahoma Hit by More Earthquakes Than California.

    What’s the cause of an unprecedented earthquake epidemic in the state? Pumping water from oil and gas drilling back into the Earth has a lot to do with it.

  22. Nick, Nothing to do with Obama….. When my daughter took a course on water law, I realized with the droughts and all, that there is a serious problem with the allocation of water resources.

  23. swarthmoremom wrote “The depletion of the Ogallala is primarily manmade”

    I have commented on the subject of Ogallala-palooza a few times here.

    The Ogallala Aquifer was filled when the glaciers retreated around 10,000 years ago. It was NOT filled with rainwater. When the philistines empty it, that part of the country will start to empty. The only viable cities will be ones lying on rivers.

    Not to mention that fracking fills aquifers with the chemicals used in the process. Or that many Texans believe that the Earth is only 4000 years old.

  24. SMM,

    Lack of water out west and many other places is a real problem. It’s just not the reason for this policy and it is disingenuous to keep implying that it is.

    This issue is most definitely about Obama and his DOJ. The reason given for denial of water use isn’t a concern over depleting the water shed. Here is the reason given: “Marijuana growing remains illegal under federal law, so irrigation water from its dams cannot be used to grow pot even in states that have legalized recreational or medical use of the drug, the agency said….

    “This is the policy decision,” DuBray said.”

  25. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/14/rand-paul-backs-bill-that-could-lead-to-crack-down-on-states-where-voters-legalized-weed/ “Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has thrown his support behind legislation that Republicans could use to force President Barack Obama to crack down on legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington.

    Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, the libertarian-leaning senator said he supported the Enforce the Law Act, which has been approved by the House. The legislation would allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.

    Paul said that Obama appeared to be “writing his own laws whenever he feels like it.”

    “He also does need to enforce the law. We write laws and he is just deciding willy-nilly if he likes it he enforces it, if he doesn’t, he won’t enforce it, and we really think he needs to be chastened, rebuked, and told that he needs to obey the constitution,” he added.” Rand Paul’s bill says that congress can sue the president if he does not enforce the federal laws. He wants him to crack down on the marijuana growers and users and the immigrants. Well, maybe, Boehner can add this to his law suit.

  26. CA could effectively end water problems in the west. The refusal to use so much as a thin dime of So Cal’s unspeakable wealth to build out the desalination plants that are absolutely going to be needed, and cost more every year they are put off.

    But they will pay for themselves once it occurs to someone to sell that water back to the thirsty SW states.

  27. Having been in three fraking related earthquakes in Texas, I can verify that this is happening.

  28. Again Saucy, All true. Fracking is bad news, it just isn’t the reason for this decision by the Obama administration.

    Here’s the reason given: “Marijuana growing remains illegal under federal law, so irrigation water from its dams cannot be used to grow pot even in states that have legalized recreational or medical use of the drug, the agency said….

    “This is the policy decision,” DuBray said.”

    A discussion about water use and fracking is a great idea. I would hope that people would not use that discussion to off track the real reason for this decision which has nothing to do with either of those worthy issues!

  29. So SMM, Is it your contention that Obama is only doing this because he is frightened of Rand Paul or some other Republican? That’s a strange thing to say but if you think that’s the truth, would you mind delineating your thought process on that one?

  30. Jill, SWM is dizzy from spinning so hard. The Rand Paul spin is hilarious. She hates Rand Paul, and all Republicans. When Obama is under attack, SWM goes on the offensive, firing @ will and often hitting her two feet.

  31. SWM, I’m sure Blouise is pleased to read it looks like the Republican Convention in 2016 will be Cleveland instead of Dallas. Electoral votes rule.

  32. “Rand Paul (R-KY) has thrown his support behind legislation that Republicans could use to force President Barack Obama to crack down on legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington.” nick, If you think what he said is hilarious, ltake it up with him. Marijuana laws need reforming along with immigration laws. Again, a do nothing congress……

  33. “Could use” are the operative words there, SWM. Rand’s old man is a cult hero w/ cannabis users throughout this country, and the apple has not fallen far from the tree in that regard. We have seen the slippery slope in all types of laws. That’s why we need much less lawmaking!

  34. SMM,

    Obama is already cracking down on legal pot in states like CO and WA. He is doing so right now. He doesn’t need to be forced by anyone. Basically, he and Rand Paul are in agreement on cracking down on legal pot use.

    I’d say that makes them both hypocrites, one for having used it (Obama) and now trying to deny it to those who are entitled and or need it, and the other (Rand) who claims to champion state’s rights. But apparently, they are hypocrites in complete agreement on the issue!

  35. Jikll, Don’t be snookered by SWM. Read her comments and links CAREFULLY. Rand Paul is NOT saying this law should be used to enforce Fed cannabis laws. The spin folks are saying it COULD be used. We know any law “could be” used for virtually anY purpose. That’s why we need many fewer laws. The law of unintended consequences has taught us that time and time again. With propaganda, you have to be reading and analyzing carefully. The Obama folks are desperate. And, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” You need to discern the folks not worth responding to. You also need to know the folks you need to scrutinize. SWM is the latter.

  36. It’s odd how some folks feel it’s their role to ‘warn’ and ‘council’ other commenters on how or who they should respond to.

  37. It’s doesn’t really give other commenters much credit for having the ability to use their own discretion.

  38. randyjet: “I find this objection to be silly. What Obama is doing is called COMPROMISE.”

    I’m sorry, but exactly how is Obama “settling a dispute by mutual concession” here?

    “I know that is a bad word for many, but he could be strict and enforce Federal laws and shut down pot production completely. Think THAT would be a good idea?”

    I see, so we should be thankful his highness is a merciful and modest hypocrite.

    Got it.

  39. Gittes: “OK, go home, but in case you’re interested, your husband was murdered. Somebody’s been dumping thousands of tons of water from the city’s reservoirs and we’re supposed to be in the middle of a drought. He found out about it and he was killed. There’s a waterlogged drunk in the morgue, involuntary manslaughter if anybody wants to take the trouble – which they don’t. It seems like half the city is trying to cover it all up, which is fine by me. But Mrs. Mulwray, I goddamned near lost my nose. And I like it. I like breathing through it. And I still think that you’re hiding something.”

  40. Okay, so I’m the only one here who was reminded of “Chinatown” with this story?

    Morty: “In the middle of a drought and the water commissioner drowns! Only in L.A.”

  41. This is a strawman attack and it clearly doesn’t strike me as political at all. In fact, it is in support of the rule of law that we always cite around here. The feds deem marijuana production and distribution a federal crime. Until it’s repealed, no federal agency may encourage or promote federal assets being used to flaunt or violate federal law. Releasing water is just that. The fault here is the federal law and not the people sworn to uphold that law. I suspect the agency has an opinion from its inspector general saying that any efforts to support a violation of federal law is in fact a crime in itself — one that the agency cannot be complicit with.

    Many of you may not like Obama (and boy that’s an understatement) but blaming him for requiring an agency to follow federal law sure takes the proverbial cake. This just in: Obama is not the locus of all our problems.

  42. Bob, you posit a heads I win, tails you lose kind of argument. Just what do you think he should do then? If he spends millions of dollars to send in Federal marshals or the US Army to shut down the pot growers and strictly enforce Federal law, you can then blast him for doing so, and for spending money that Congress has not appropriated.

    Of course, you miss the obvious point that denying water from Federal projects IS enforcing the law, but I guess you are for that? On one hand by not using force to stop pot production, you then hit him for simply denying Federal resources for violating the law. Which side are you on? It is obvious to all that you are on the anything goes as long as it is against Obama side. Talk about hypocrisy! Can you give us a straight answer as to what YOU think he should do?

  43. mespo, Obama is ignoring many laws. Some he wrote and signed! His diligence in continuing the war on drugs vis a vis the innocuous cannabis should be highly suspect to anyone thinking critically. You Obama folks have really circled the wagons.

  44. mespo – the problem is that Obama is erratic in how laws are being enforced. On the one hand we have the town being sued because it won’t issue a license to a pot shop because businesses have to comply with local, state and federal law. In this case the feds say it is okay. Now we have the Bureau of Reclamation saying no water for pot farms. Can’t the Obama administration make up its mind?

  45. Nick Spinelli

    We all of a sudden have a bunch of former hippies sounding like Nancy Reagan!
    ==================
    What you mean “we” Spinny?

  46. Villefort: “The feds deem marijuana production and distribution a federal crime.”

    So in August of 2013 when the Justice Department said it would not seek to pre-empt the state laws of Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana; what was that?

    Villefort: “Until it’s repealed, no federal agency may encourage or promote federal assets being used to flaunt or violate federal law.”

    Ah, yes.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2014/05/23/obama-administration-moves-to-unilaterally-make-billions-available-to-give-to-insurance-companies-under-the-aca/

    Do tell.

  47. Sad that Obama seeks to maintain this Reagan war on drugs…
    … Seeing that Obama had admitted to having been a smoker.

    But alas… He has a tradition to follow.
    And the jails keep overflowing, and privatized.

    Who benefits?

  48. Dredd – those experiments you are talking about are run by Obama’s DOD. I am not sure whose side you are trying to be on here: Obama or anti-Obama.?

  49. Bob, “Forked tongue” is a racist term that harms Indians. What an insensitive, horrible, thoughtless, heartless, privileged, white, male, you are. The Obamaists are up to DEFCON 4. There’s no rational discussion possible.

  50. Well all your insert said is that the Obama and the government will not send in the troops to enforce Federal law on that. So how is that speaking with forked tongue? The fact is that the Federal government cannot PROMOTE growing pot as YOU seem to think it should.

    Then you overlook the rather obvious fact that the water boards have to decide which is more important, food or dope? Which side do you come down on with this scarce resource? Think that Congress or the legislatures should make the decisions? That would be entertaining to see the pot lobbyists working there passing out free joints. Of course, after they all get the munchies, they might want to reconsider about the importance of producing more food.

  51. Nick – the reference is to the serpent from the Garden of Eden. Snakes have forked tongues.

  52. Paul, You would mess up a wet dream. I know that, I am referencing the Tonto, “White man speak w/ forked tongue.” Why don’t you get your alma mater’s mind right. First the jaywalking professor, and now the feminist prof giving extra credit to female students who don’t shave their legs or pits! Is Tempe the southwest Berkley? Or, are they trying to compete w/ Tucson? “Keep Tempe Very Unique.”

  53. Of course it’s political. Federal drug policy, like federal policy in many other areas of government, has become virtually incoherent. A foolish consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but consistency in the application of the rule of law is essential. I’m a Democrat by tradition, but my party has become a philosophical shambles.

  54. here’s a question why exactly is the corporation so dead set against legalizing marijuana ? especially since the pharma industry peddles it as a appetite stimulant in the form of a pill named marinol.. i know because i took the pill for years to stimulant my appetite.

  55. Most of the criticism here comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of how the federal bureaucracy works. Agency heads are not dialing up the President to get his take on their decision making. Instead there is an elaborate system of agency due diligence to make as certain as it can that the agency’s decision comports with federal law. If the agency strikes out on their own contrary to the opinion of the in house lawyers, the decision aker pays the price if they are wrong and heads roll. In rare cases the administration can flex its muscle through the agency, but that is the exception rather than the rule. I see no evidence Obama or any other admin. official was involved in this and to suggest otherwise says more about the objectivity of the accuser than the political motivations of the accused.

  56. Nick – I an NOT responsible for the actions of my alma mater. I have stated my views on the professor who was arrested (the officer is currently on paid suspension). I have seen extra credit given for worse then not shaving your pits. The current president of ASU, Michael Crowe has named it the School of the Twenty-first Century. No one knows what that means, but oh well.

  57. mespo – what I have learned about federal bureaucracy is that lots of people have to die before you lose your job.

  58. mespo, Maybe the biggest blow to progressivism has been struck by this Administration, who announced they had govt. solution to problems and then proceeded to piss on both legs for 6 years.

  59. “As a federal agency, Reclamation is obligated to adhere to federal law in the conduct of its responsibilities to the American people,” said Dan DuBray, public affairs chief for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees management of federal water resources.

    “Reclamation will operate its facilities and administer its water-related contracts in a manner that is consistent with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, as amended,” DuBray went on. “This includes locations where state law has decriminalized or authorized the cultivation of marijuana. Reclamation will refer any inconsistent uses of federal resources of which it becomes aware to the Department of Justice and coordinate with the proper enforcement authorities. Reclamation will continue to work with partner water districts and providers to ensure their important obligations can continue to be met.”

    Isn’t that simply following the law as written.

  60. mespo, I am skeptical by nature and profession. I do understand your valid points that some of this Obama criticism is strictly partisan. But, much is not. When someone lies to me, as Obama has, I doubt everything they say and do. I considered Nixon the worst President in my lifetime. Obama is poised to take that trophy, in my mind. We have both seen a plaintiff or defendant be shown to have lied about one thing, and then a jury not believing ANYTHING they have said. That’s the way it works. Finally, regarding “convicting” there are no articles of impeachment or burden of proof. This is simply political @ this point. I voted for Obama in 2008, he lost me by 2010.

  61. The #1 Paul wrote “what I have learned about federal bureaucracy is that lots of people have to die before you lose your job”

    Funny how the exact same thing happens in corporations.

    During the making of the Twilight Zone, Vic Morrow, a 6-year-old actor, and a 7-year-old actor were killed (two decapitated by the helicopter rotor) during a stunt crash of a helicopter. No one in the movie business was convicted of any crime, though there were out-of-court settlements.

    During the making of The Crow, Brandon Lee was killed due to gross incompetence on the part of the firearms handlers. No one went to jail for the death.

    There are many injuries and far too many deaths in the NON-UNION movie business. In the NON-UNION movie business, it is typical for workers to work 18 hours each day, with some of them having auto accidents on the way home due to falling asleep at the wheel.

    Not to mention the many deaths at Walmart and other retailers because they failed to safely accommodate the crowds on Black Friday.

  62. I worked in an oil refinery for many years, and that was the same there. Management was immune from punishment for most of their errors, but the union workers were fired for a ding on a truck. We killed at least one worker every 18 months, and our refinery was one of the safest on the Houston ship channel. At least the company, ARCO, did finally agree to work with the union to change things for the better and succeeded to a large degree, but in such an industrial environment it is simply impossible to eliminate all risks.

    When BP took over ARCO, they destroyed that culture on the North Slope and in the refineries. The result was the blast at Texas City BP refinery which had a very weak union situation in which 25 contract workers were killed for no good reason. At our refinery when it was ARCO, I had the ability to on my own authority to shut down a unit if I felt it was unsafe. That did not obtain at the one BP took over.

  63. Russ Feingold never lied that I’m aware. But, I’m talking about flat ass, premeditated lying. Not a campaign promise that isn’t honored, like “I will close Guantanamo.” I think he really did plan on doing that but then reality set in when he sat down and learned about the facts. Here’s a big liee in my mind anyway, “I you like your healthcare plan you can keep your healthcare plan. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” Flat ass lie that he KNEW was a lie when he said it over and over again. The WashPo Pinocchio meter has Obama w/ many 4 Pinocchio’s. But, that is one that stick in my craw.

  64. Fiorella is one Republican we can agree was a good politician. Maybe Jon Anderson and Lowell Weicker? There are certainly others. My parents and grandparents remember him reading the daily comics on the radio when there was a newspaper strike. They loved him and they were dyed in the wool Dems. His heritage helped a bit too!

  65. The problem is not that Obama lied, but that YOU and others thought that he could order insurance companies to not ever cancel health insurance policies. That has been going on for years, and hopefully thanks to Obama care the insurance companies may no longer do that under spurious pretenses or at their whim It would be the height of imbecility if any person thought that NO insurance plan would or could be cancelled. His point was that if your present insurance plan met the requirements for coverage and met the standards instead of being rip offs, you would not be affected because of the law. Thus you could keep such plans in place, and in fact, most people have NOT lost their health care plans.

  66. My mother was a former Republican voter who became a Democrat, but she was proud of the FACT she never once voted for Lieberman.

  67. A great LaGuardia story as told in wiki:

    “According to “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, LaGuardia often officiated in municipal court. He handled routine misdemeanor cases, including, as Cerf wrote, a woman who had stolen a loaf of bread for her starving family. LaGuardia insisted on levying the fine of ten dollars. Then he said “I’m fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a person has to steal bread in order to eat!” He passed a hat and gave the fines to the defendant, who left the court with $47.50.”

  68. mespo727272 wrote “That’s a politician.”

    Speaking of politicians, Herbert Hoover allegedly promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” during his 1928 campaign. During the Vietnam War years when Americans were traveling to Canada to escape the draft, I mused that the president could resurrect the slogan, only this time declaring that there is “pot in every chicken.”

  69. I was fascinated by the people on What’s My Line, Bennett Cerf, Kitty Carlisle, they were so New York chic. Remember Derwood Kirby? One of my favorite cartoons, Roger Ramjet, did a parody about the Kerwood Derby. I’m on a stream of consciousness, my wife had George Kirby on her caseload @ the MCC in Chicago back in the 80’s. I feel better now.

  70. Guns and alcohol kill more people than pot.
    Yet neither are a schedule 1 controlled substance…
    … Go figure.

    Research pulp industry and hemp… Who ran whom from the plantation? Remember, George Washington farmed which?

  71. How many of you believe that President Obama spent any time at all discussing with his aides or department heads, the issue of depriving water from pot growers? There are other fish to fry.

  72. Smoking tobacco kills more people than any other substance or thing– more than booze, drugs, car wrecks, gunshot wounds, you name it. Suicide is not painless. Outlaw tobacco and quite glorifying it in our culture. It aint cute.

  73. Max-1 – you sound like one of my many students who had just found Hi Times Magazine. Don’t forget that the United States government grew hemp during WWII. ;)

  74. Al – these things filter down. With a micromanager – non manager like Obama I go with “his finger is in the pie.”

  75. I recently read where that gargantuan NSA data center was going to be an immense water-hog, and that Utah (I believe) was going to turn off their water. Sounds like a super-big waste of water, especially just to enhance the police state.

  76. First, the excuse is Obama is engaged in a “compromise”; when there is no evidence of any mutual concession.

    Then we’re told that “The feds deem marijuana production and distribution a federal crime;” ignoring the fact that the DOJ assured the states of Oregon and Washington that they would not seek to pre-empt state law.

    Then we’re told that in Obama’s administration “no federal agency may encourage or promote federal assets being used to flaunt or violate federal law;” — denying the modus operandi of an administration that has declared to “go it alone” while making a mockery of the very principle it is allegedly adhering to.

    Then we’re told that the “the rather obvious fact [is] that the water boards have to decide which is more important, food or dope;” — that it’s a matter of allocation of scarce resources. This denies the fact that the head of Reclamation itself said it was strictly a policy decision.

    Then we’re told “Agency heads are not dialing up the President to get his take on their decision making. Instead there is an elaborate system of agency due diligence to make as certain as it can that the agency’s decision comports with federal law.” To accept this argument we must first ignore the president’s input on the DOJ decision on respecting state’s rights regarding marijuana laws. We must then ignore that the Secretary of the Interior, who controls Reclamation, serves at the pleasure of the president and that all presidents are impotent when it comes to shaping the administrative decisions of their cabinets.

    The phenomena responsible for the aforesaid false, unprincipled and self-contradictory babble in desperate defense of partisan chicanery is known as “sucking up.”

  77. Should read “and then believe that all presidents are impotent when it comes to shaping the administrative decisions of their cabinets.”

  78. mespo, I forgot to mention corroboration that this water horseshit is a pretext. The DOJ does not allow legal cannabis dispensaries to have banking privileges. They are forced to deal strictly in cash and make huge cash deposits. This sets up a scenario for violent robberies and then the DOJ can say, “See, it is a dangerous scourge.” This administration is inept and corrupt. For the most part, Nixon was just corrupt, Carter just inept.

  79. I should have known better than to expect a straight answer from Bob. You never say what YOU think Obama should do.

  80. Randyjet,

    A man of integrity who promises he’s going to respect state sovereignty does not find an under the table way of breaking that promise.

    You don’t need me to tell you that he should direct reclamation to supply the water and not contradict himself or the DOJ policy.

  81. Dredd – the Obama administration is not making their claim on drought grounds, rather on federal law. BTW, here is Arizona we are hoping for a wet year that will take the edge off of our drought problems.

  82. That statement about a President with a finger in the pie is often confused by a President with a cigar in the pie. And pie is in the eye of the beholder. Obama does not give a rat’s arse about whether pot plants in bumfuk Egypt get watered or not.

  83. Al – leadership comes from the top. Holder would not do what he does if he did not think he had coverage. Actually it could be Valerie Jarrett making the decisions but Obama is not stopping her. No decision is still a decision.

  84. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – the Obama administration is not making their claim on drought grounds, rather on federal law. BTW, here is Arizona we are hoping for a wet year that will take the edge off of our drought problems.
    ==========================
    In other words they wanted to assuage the emotional short circuiting of the wrong-wing schizos who say they love states rights … up to a point … except the state voters’ marijuana voting rights … er… their marijuana voting wrongs.

    Wrong-wingers say states’ rights are ok until they are not ok.

    Wrong-wingers are not dyslexic they are KO.

    Whatever, but they could have taken some Spinny logic and said it was because of drought.

    BTW, I hope the expected El Niño brings Arizona lots of rain in a measure that does not cause flooding, but rather causes a decrease in the drought there.

    Arizona has enough to contend with without the dichotomy of flooding and drought at the “same time” IMO (Conundrum: Floods with Droughts (and Extinctions)).

    The feds are probably jealous that weed does better than vegetables in our schizophrenic climate.

    In closing, do you know how many republicans there are in the administration who stay there no matter who is presnit?

    Here is an example of a republican being spied upon by an administration that spies on republicans and democrats alike.

  85. Dredd – thanks for the good wishes. We do not have sewer systems so when it rains hard, it floods. If you live here long enough you learn work arounds.

  86. From our friends at the Onion: Big New about air quality in Chicago.

    CHICAGO—Highlighting increasingly dangerous conditions within the city, a new study published Monday by Northwestern University’s Department of Environmental Studies revealed that approximately 75 percent of the air in Chicago is now composed of bullets. “Far exceeding the levels of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and even oxygen, bullets now constitute three-fourths of Chicago’s air supply,” said atmospheric scientist and study coauthor John Molina, stressing that the dense and widespread deposits of jacketed lead and copper in the air pose severe and potentially fatal health risks to all Chicago residents. “According to our measurements, the proportion of bullets in Chicago’s overall air composition is significantly higher than that of other cities with comparable sizes and population densities. Frankly, if this trend continues—and there is unfortunately little evidence suggesting otherwise—living safely within the confines of Chicago will be almost impossible.” Molina went on to suggest that Chicago’s 2.7 million residents stay indoors whenever possible in order to minimize their exposure.

  87. Bill, If he were going after legal growers, they would be sitting in JAIL, as Bush did. He is not required, nor able to promote growing pot as YOU would like. Of course, if he did, Turley would again, be saying he is an imperial president who is ignoring the laws he is supposed to enforce. It is called heads I win, tails you lose. Think that is fair?

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