[Don’t Bogart That Joint ...][Oh, Those Files]

by J.D. Tuccille
October 6, 1996

Don’t Bogart That Joint ...

Had I but known ...

Two years ago, I drove cross-country, following the old Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Along the way, I fell in love with the West — in particular Arizona.

Today’s New York Times reports that an anti-drug move that the Arizona legislature made a decade ago has taken an unexpected turn. Perhaps a bit dizzy under that searing desert sun, Arizona legislators decided in 1983 to add a licensing requirement to their arsenal of weapons for use against marijuana dealers. Dealers would have to purchase a $100.00 license and affix tax stamps to every bag of herb they peddled.

“Huh,” I hear you ask. “If they’re licensing weed dealers, how can it still be illegal?”

You catch on fast. Faster than Arizona dope smokers who just recently started purchasing the licenses and attaching those stamps.

The Arizona authorities hadn’t intended quite this outcome, of course. They’d foreseen peddling-dope-without-a-license charges as a handy new tool with which to whack folks caught puffing on the evil weed.

The first judge to hear such a case saw things differently. He faced a defendant who produced a state-issued license to engage in the very activity he’d been arrested for engaging in. Case dismissed.

As you might guess, this particular issue is still bouncing through Arizona’s legal and political system. Hopefully, before the legislature corrects its fortunate error, Arizonans will realize that not only do their neighbors have a right to smoke marijuana if they so wish, but that marijuana can play a very positive — not to say pleasant — role in everyday life.

Yup. Had I but known, I might have settled in Arizona on the spot.

Oh, Those Files

Thank God! It’s reassuring to hear that the Clinton administration knows what it’s doing on at least one issue. After all, it’s disconcerting to watch your country’s chief executive win favor by firmly fastening his political compass to the Gallup pol— ...

Whoops! I stand corrected. It seems that what Clinton knows he’s doing is assembling an enemies list.

Or at least that’s what a former White House aide, says. Ya see, White House spokes-shills have claimed for months that the improper compilation of 900-odd FBI files on former Republican officials and administration opponents was a terrible mistake and that nothing unsavory was ever intended. Now, Mari Anderson, one-time assistant to former Director of Personnel Security Craig Livingstone (who loyally fell on his sword over this matter) testifies that she recognized many Republican names on the list she worked from. So did other workers, she said, and it was something of a topic of concersation in the office. When Anderson raised the issue with Livingstone, he told her not to worry.

That’s okay, we can do the worrying for her.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that anything underhanded was ever intended or committed with those files. We have no evidence of that. We have no evidence, ya see, because there’s a six-month gap in the records of who borrowed what files, and when. It also turns out that Livingstone borrowed files at will, without making any notation as to their removal.

Try this with your tax records. “Sorry fellas, but I don’t seem to have any records for those months. What say we call it even?”

There’s no doubt that this issue stank from the beginning. Craig Livingstone — in appearance, a John Candy without the laughs — is a Democratic Party dirty-tricks guy from way back. The stunts he’s pulled (piss-ant stuff, all) are even on his resume. No big deal — normally; lots of campaigns employ pranks in order to keep the process lively. Of course, few of those campaigns win control of the White House and let the pranksters oversee access to FBI files on political enemies.

That’s something of a faux pas. It’s also a frightening move in a society that still self-deludingly clings to the notion that it’s a bastion of freedom.

Don’t count on this latest revelation rocking Slick Willie’s lead in the polls. The American people have become so inured to high-level malfeasance that they’d probably feel a nostalgic longing for the days of old were we ever to elect a saint to the Oval Office. Had the current mood prevailed a quarter-century ago, Tricky Dick might have guzzled scotch with Dean, Haldeman, and Liddy through the end of his term.

Ah Slick Willy, maybe you are the right man at the right time.

But don’t mind me while I draw the curtains.

Ah well, and so much for the power of argument. So back you go to Full Automatic or to my home page.

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Copyright (c) 1996 Jerome D. (Il Tooch) Tuccille. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Il Tooch is prohibited. Mess with me and I’ll use your polished skull as a beer mug.