The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. AKA: no Ukraine or Covid.


Addendum To My Fifteen Points On The Ukraine War


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 9, 2022


  1. NR

    Finally, Biden did something else good: he pardoned all the people convicted federally or in DC for possession of marijuana. And arguably more importantly, the federal government is now looking at changing the scheduling of marijuana (it’s currently schedule 1, the same as heroin, which is ridiculous), which could have a much more lasting impact if it happens. Now I would like to see the War on Drugs ended entirely, it’s been an absolute travesty in the United States for decades now and has done nothing but destroy communities and young people’s futures, but this is still a good thing even if it doesn’t go nearly far enough for my taste.

  2. responseTwo

    Yes, this is great news. Notice how he waited until right before the midterms. Biden is serving the one percent. He could care less about drug laws. He needs votes.

  3. Willy

    Let’s send Biden’s newly freed to Florida to help rebuild. Put em on buses and drop em off in front of Desantis’ house.

  4. Willy

    I haven’t seen much from the right about this decriminalization, more than the usual pretend-victim moaning. Shouldn’t they have declared dope a gateway to far worse things by now, like fentanyl, LSD, CRT and LGBTQ?

    Sigh. Slow day. Anybody else got better jokes?

  5. just another Joe

    May the heart of wisdom bloom and may all beings aspire to act for the benefit of all without bias or prejudice and may aggression dissolve into the great ocean of compassion. Furthermore may black hearted ones awaken into the innate light of their true state of being.
    Or something like that.

  6. anon y'mouse

    How many people were included in that pardon?

    and how far down the classification is marijuana going to go? it’s still going to be a prohibited substance, no?

    try to keep BidenTime’s great achievements in perspective. doing as little as possible and claiming big is exactly what Obama did (actually, similar to BillyBob Clintoon, Obama actually went out of his way to do bad things, so…).

    i will start to celebrate when we stop having the largest incarcerated population in the world. not when a few thousand people are forgiven for having plants in their pockets, or growing them.

    oh, and wouldn’t it be great to actually offer completely free drug treatments for all types of drugs (legal and non) to the public? that might actually solve the underlying issues somewhat. oh, who am i kidding. that would just turn into the latest grift for PMC run and owned “treatment centers” to skim off the government, and we’d have just as many addicts as before because addicts are caused by a screwed up society full of crap like abuse and neglect, and not merely “personal failings”.

    and nothing on RvW because the PMC keeps telling themselves no one actually cares. every poll they produce magically comes up with this result. they must not be asking any 20 y.o. women who are working their way through college whether that matters to them, otherwise they’d never get such results.

  7. Ian Welsh

    “”The move also is not expected to remove any individuals from prison.
    The administration official speaking to reporters on Thursday said that ‘there are no individuals currently in federal prison solely for simple possession of marijuana.’ “”

  8. anon y'mouse

    one important point i failed to make, so please forgive the double harangue:

    as far as i know, ANY drug conviction will permanently bar you from receiving Federal Student Financial Aid to attend tertiary education in this country.

    so, you have “drugs” and get caught and college will be forever on your dime. no mistakes and no adolescent experimentation for you, unless of course you’re well-to-do and the police decide not to bother charging you because it doesn’t make the oppressive points list they are charged with making (large aside: all the drug users i ever knew as a teen were Rich Kids. why? they could afford that stuff. we poor ghetto children didn’t have discretionary income and lack of any adult oversight whatsoever.
    in fact everyone around me told me not to even start smoking while they did and sold drugs openly around me. these drug users would not so much as sell me one single joint, they believed so strongly in a “do as i say, not as i do” position).

    is that particular permanent lifetime penalty changing? doubtful…..very doubtful.

  9. Trinity

    Marijuana is legal to possess, grow, and smoke by anyone over 21 yo anywhere in Washington DC, and has been for awhile.

    But I agree with others here that all of this Biden stuff is pandering for votes. Most of it will be canceled or rolled back after the midterms, and this has been true also for the last two years of promises. Promises were made but seldom kept or realized. Anything that benefits the very rich is always realized. In other words, nothing has changed. This is just a fight to see who will have a bigger bank balance over the new few years.

  10. bruce wilder

    PayPal updated their TOS to make explicit that they will nuke accounts of people they find guilty of spreading “misinformation” — a further policy of imposing a fine of $2500 on such accounts was walked back.

    The galloping authoritarianism of the liberal/libertarian West and its Tech champion business corporations continues unabated. But, hey, PayPal is woke, so it is all good and “cancel culture” is just a figment of Trump’s imagination. Nothing to see here.

  11. NR


    It was about 6,500 people convicted of federal charges, and an unknown amount more in DC, though that was reported to be in the thousands. So not that many in the grand scheme of things, but Biden doesn’t have the power to pardon people convicted of state charges. He did call on governors to do that, and hopefully at least some of them will.

    And yes, as Ian noted, there aren’t any people currently in prison for federal possession of marijuana charges (which is a good thing), so this won’t free anyone from prison (unless there are some people imprisoned in DC, which I’m not sure on). However it has the potential to help formerly convicted people with getting jobs and/or getting their right to vote restored.

    In any case, as I said, the bigger deal is the potential rescheduling of the drug, though we will have to see where it ultimately lands.

    And I have to say I don’t get the criticism that “Biden just did it to get votes.” I mean, yes? That’s how the system is supposed to work, no? Politicians do things people want done in order to get votes. In this case, it was something good, so we should support it while continuing to push for more being done to end the War on Drugs.

  12. NR


    There’s no way to cancel a pardon. Once it’s done, it can’t be undone.

  13. StewartM


    Is there not any difference between something being ‘true to the best of our knowledge’ versus ‘demonstrably not true’ or is truth and fact and all of reality just a infinitely plastic and fungible thing and we’re all just constructing narratives and telling stories?

    Provable untruths being spread as truths have dangerous consequences. The US Civil War was largely a product of Southern newspapers printing things like ‘Abraham Lincoln is running on a platform of freeing all the slaves and then having them marry white women’. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion helped flame the antisemitism in Europe which resulted in the Holocaust. The Founders of this country, with their Enlightenment heritage, were for freedom and speech and debate on topics, but (due to their Enlightenment background, being a spin-off of the scientific revolution) imagined a debate bounded by facts, and not open to those who spun argument based on ‘facts’ created from thin air. Just last night, I ran into a young man who was convinced that Raphael Warnock was for *killing babies six weeks after birth*. I’m pretty sure he didn’t come up with this non-fact from his own imagination, the “news” sources he was listening to was repeating it.

    This situation has been long coming, after the Right was given extra moola by the disastrous JFK-LBJ 1964 tax cuts to start building their alternative media reality. The Reagan tax cuts further enlarged this media empire. As someone who grew up with such a local newspaper, a newspaper that refused to publish any liberal opinion be it from a reader or a columnist (by contrast, the so-called ‘liberal’ paper in the adjacent big city did that regularly, in side-by-side opinion pieces on the same topic) I’ve been watching this for a long time. Heck, their first icon, William F. Buckley, first book–God and Man at Yale was about silencing “Marxist” professors and how academic freedom for people making arguments Buckley didn’t like, arguments based on fact, was wrong.

    As Abraham Lincoln once said, “people who deny freedom for others deserve it not for themselves”. The Right has for decades now been all gung-ho for denying people who base their opinions on provable facts any voice. Now the ‘left’ is reciprocating in that it *dares* to make it harder for rightists spreading material demonstrably wrong as fact.
    Cry me a river, Bruce.

  14. StewartM

    Response Two:

    Biden is serving the one percent. He could care less about drug laws. He needs votes.

    Gee, I always thought the 1 % were for the war on drugs. Or, conversely, that they were ok with smoking pot along with abortion (socially liberal) but against minimum wage hikes and labor unions. Which is it?

    This is a marginally good thing, though its practical benefit is limited. There are far more egregious DoJ practices that need to be curtailed. (But searching Mar-o-lago, after numerous ‘pretty please’ pleadings made on bended knee, isn’t one of them either.)

  15. bruce wilder

    @ StewartM Now the ‘left’ is reciprocating in that it *dares* to make it harder for rightists spreading material demonstrably wrong as fact.
    Cry me a river, Bruce.


    You think PayPal is standing in for “ the ‘left’”??? Or, PayPal will bother with an “objective” adversarial examination of what constitutes “misinformation”?

    The Enlightenment philosophes embraced critical method as a way to arrive at shared appreciation of what is real, what is objectively true, in a sense divorced from what you think an alleged fact means. A functioning democracy requires being able to agree to disagree on many points including on why we ought to act collectively in this way or that. In journalism, that became “objectivity” — the reporting of facts ahead of opinion. Journalism on the “left” no less than the “right” likes to tell you what your opinion ought to be, and disappear facts that might persuade you otherwise.

    The American Civil War was very much a war of narrative storytelling: about whether slavery was “good” and whether the Constitution permitted a state to secede among other issues. The Confederates persisted in the war of contested narrative long after losing militarily and have only imo been finally defeated in the contest of narrative history in the last two or three generations. But, now we get a new entrant in the narrative wars from the nominal “left” typified in the NY Times’ 1619 Project. That is the new faith, the new orthodoxy and it thrives on stipulating a monopoly on right thinking that is incompatible with realism or democracy.

  16. mago

    Biden is good at sleight of hand. As has been noted, $2K becomes fourteen hundred.
    Paltry student loan forgiveness doesn’t apply to notes held by private firms.
    Overturning federal pot convictions is a joke. As Ian and others observe there are no federal prisoners held for possession. It’s all show.
    So when the Biden crime cartel is exposed after losing the election who’s really gonna give a good flying f*ck? Nobody important. We’ll all be bending over and grabbing our socks heading out the door.

  17. Ian Welsh

    Paypal has hit left wingers as well. It’s deviations from the liberal/centrist norm they’re after. Paypal is not left wing.

  18. different clue

    Here is an interesting discussion from what I think is called the British Columbia subreddit, about the visible and ongoing signs of global warming right in the area, and also some scientific discussion of it by some people in its thread of comments.

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