A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
'Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.' - Groucho Marx

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  1. #1

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    George Mason

    Default DEA's top agent's inability to answer simple questions

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFgrB2Wmh5s[/video]

    During a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart repeatedly refused to admit that anything was more addictive or harmful than marijuana.

    Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado pressed Leonhart on whether illegal drugs like methamphetamine and crack, as well as legal prescription drugs, caused greater harm to public health compared to marijuana. But within a three minute time-span, Leonhart dodged his questions eleven times.

    “Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis, who has called for an end to marijuana prohibition, asked.

    “I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart responded.

    “Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” Polis continued. “Is heroin worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”

    “Again, all drugs,” Leonhart began to say, only to be cut off by Polis.

    “Yes, no, or I don’t know?” Polis said. “If you don’t know this, you can look this up. As the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency, I’m asking a very straightforward question.”

    Leonhart said that heroin was highly addictive, but accused Polis of asking a “subjective” question. After being pressed further, she conceded that heroin was more addictive than marijuana, but added “some people become addicted marijuana and some people become addicted to methamphetamine.”

    Leonhart was nominated to be the Deputy Administrator of the DEA by then-President Bush in 2003 and confirmed by the Senate in 2004. She became the acting Administrator of the DEA after the former Administrator, Karen P. Tandy, resigned in 2007. Obama officially nominated Leonhart to the position in 2010.
    I don't care if you're for or against the legalization of drugs, this is just absurd.

    I'm one who believes that marijuana is indeed addictive - it's a mind altering chemical, and everyone's reaction to such things is (or can be) different. But, in general, it's certainly not the same as meth or heroin.

    And in the interest of disclosing any possible bias, I believe most drugs should be legalized (PCP and LSD are tough ones for me because you pretty much lose control of your body/mind with those, but I am open to hearing arguments for their legalization). If anyone is actually interested in that discussion I'm happy to have it, but it's not really the intent of this thread.

    This is the person in charge of the DEA. You'd think she'd have the common sense and forethought to answer the question in a way that doesn't completely destroy the use of the DEA (marijuana isn't the only thing the DEA is in charge of going after) without looking like a complete idiot.
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  2. #2

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    Florida Atlantic

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    Was that a stand in? It reminded me of the scene at the end of "Along Came Polly" when Phillip Seymour Hoffman stood in for Ben Stiller in his big insurance meeting. But even PSH was able to at least SOUND like he knew what he was talking about...

    That's truly pathetic.
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  3. #3

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    Default

    The agenda driven grand standing of congressman Wannabe comes off as far more ignorant than hers. She could have answered better, for sure. Maybe something like, "generally, yes, A can be more addictive than B, but there are no absolutes."

    He wanted a "yes or no" answer to a "most of the time, but not always" question. And he wouldn't accept anything else.

    Having seen quite a bit of the drug and alcohol scene, her answers were all correct. But, they weren't very informative.

    Of course, I quit smoking, which is supposedly more addicting than them all.

    Right?
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  4. #4

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    Florida Atlantic

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    Ax, while I agree, at some point she has to respond with something intelligent. She was stumbling with the same, very non-committal answer, over and over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanky Livingston View Post
    Ax, while I agree, at some point she has to respond with something intelligent. She was stumbling with the same, very non-committal answer, over and over.
    I guess what we don't know, is if her hands were tied, by DEA higher ups, who might require towing whatever company line they want pushed. Not wanting to send a message that they deem one illegal drug, less illegal than another. Addicting is addicting, illegal is illegal, blah blah blah kinda ****.

    Besides, it is true, that they are all addictive drugs. And you would think that say, heroin, would be more addictive than marijuana, every time. But it is not. More times than not, sure, but it is not a simple yes or no question.

    Congressman Nobody was ready to pounce on any answer that wasn't yes. She didn't help herself by just sitting there repeating herself.

    She shoulda pulled a Drew Rosenhaus and said, "Next question!"
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  6. #6

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    George Mason

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    To be clear, there is no one higher up than her in the DEA

    http://www.justice.gov/dea/agency/administrator.htm

    She is the higher up. If her hands were tied, she was the one doing the tying.
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    I guess. I wonder if she's the author of the policy, or just the current administrator/enforcer of it?

    Regardless, her limited answers, and her reluctance to give specific answers to general questions by Congressman Medical Marijuana, sounded bad, but there was nothing incorrect about them.

    More a refusal to answer incorrectly, than an inability to answer at all.
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  8. #8

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    James Madison

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    Not sure why anyone is defending her here. Pretty absurd. For someone that is the head of the DEA, she needs to be able to think on her feet and sound less like a moron than that. Reporters ask inane questions too, someone that high up needs to be better able to respond intelligently to just about anything.

    Hell, had she just said, "that's a clown question, bro", I would have more respect for her.
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  9. #9

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    No question she could have done better. Haven't seen anyone saying anything else. Still came off better than Bill Clinton trying to ascertain what "is, is" before answering his questions. So, she's at least got that.

    On the other hand, Congressman Are The Camera's Rolling, turned in a stellar performance as, Agenda Man.

    No winners here.
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  10. #10

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    George Mason

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    What does Bill Clinton's debacle have to do with it? Is that the measuring stick?

    and i agree with you about the congressmen. I wish that wasn't such a common thing :\
    Last edited by tshile; 06-21-12 at 03:06 PM.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by tshile View Post
    What does Bill Clinton's debacle have to do with it? Is that the measuring stick?

    \
    Ax is pointing out that there are levels of evasion....and that Clinton is still the standard. (i.e., etsbalishng a scale). so...in a word....yes.
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  12. #12

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    George Mason

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    Fair enough.

    I can at least understand Clinton's evasiveness (not justify it, but understand it). I can't understand this woman's though. It comes across to me as evasion out of incompetence, or for the sake of being evasive. In either case I don't like it.
    Last edited by tshile; 06-22-12 at 09:18 AM.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by fansince62 View Post
    Ax is pointing out that there are levels of evasion....
    That's about right.


    Quote Originally Posted by tshile View Post
    Fair enough.

    I can at least understand Clinton's evasiveness (not justify it, but understand it). I can't understand this woman's though. It comes across to me as evasion out of incompetence, or for the save of being evasive. In either case I don't like it.
    I think the difference is, we knew why Clinton was being evasive. With her, we don't. Incompetence is certainly a possibility. I thought the whole thing looked orchestrated, on both of their parts.

    He knew what her answers were going to be before she gave them. And she knew what the questions were going to be before she sat down in the chair. Neither was willing to give into the others intended purpose. Whatever that may ultimately have been.

    The ole political two-step. It do get tiresome.
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  14. #14

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    James Madison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ax View Post
    The ole political two-step. It do get tiresome.
    Now THAT is something we can definitely all agree on.
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  15. #15
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    These questions should have been directed towards someone from the FDA rather than law enforcement.
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