Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Something's rotten in DEA'n'Marc

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was swept into office, at least to some degree on the basis of his perceived hostility to big government, overbearing bureaucracy and federal meddling. "In this present crisis," he said, "government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem." To this day, I believe that he was sincere in those sentiments. That his agenda for rolling back government was stillborn is not an indicator of personal falsity on his part, but rather evidence of just how difficult it is to stop the growth of, let alone prune, an aggressive bureaucracy intent on its own preservation and expansion.

Behold, the house that Ron built. Today, in an age when the largest presidential campaigns dispose of a mere $200-300 million, one federal bureaucracy has a campaign fund of tens of billions of dollars, and spends it with impunity (but, fortunately, with a frequent lack of success) for the explicit purpose of ... fixing elections. I'm speaking, of course, of the Drug Thug Lobby: The Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug Enforcement Agency and assorted satellite nests of oligarchic vipers who largely owe their present position to Reagan's misguided belief that the "war on drugs" could be "won" by the very people he usually distrusted.

When an incumbent President of the United States wants to go out and busk for re-election, his campaign has to make at least nominal reimbursements to the Treasury for money spent flying him and his entourage from hither to yon. When America's "drug czar" (an odious, but telling, title) wants to tell Seattle's voters that they must not modify their local ordinances, or to warn Nevada's voters that they'd better not act to ease the suffering of the desperately and terminally ill, he flies on our dime, ignores federal election law ... and gets away with it.

Last week one of the nation's top narco-terrorists, DEA administrator Karen Tandy, let the cat out of the bag in a big way.

"Today's arrest of Mark (sic) Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and the founder of a marijuana legalization group," said Tandy in a DEA fax to the media, "is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement. ... Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."

Emery, who also operates the popular web site POT-TV (hold that thought -- we'll be coming back to it) was arrested in Canada after the drug thugs at DEA accused him of selling marijuana seeds to US customers, and demanded his extradition. While other culprits had the brains to put a whitewash on it ("[t]he focus of this case is on the drug trafficking of Marc Emery. It is not about his political activities, nor his campaigns for office. Nor is it focused on his magazine," according to US Attorney Todd Greenberg), Tandy's attack of self-promotional diarrhea of the mouth exposed the scam. It's not about the pot. It's about the politics. ... and this time, it's fairly obvious that the DEA has gone beyond using taxpayer money to protect its own existence and the job security of its employees with its illicit political interventions, and across the line into partisan dirty tricks on behalf of an unpopular Republican incumbent, by way of removing an inconvenient opponent.

Remember POT-TV? It just so happens that the name of medical marijuana activist, US Marijuana Party president -- and, not coincidentally, POT-TV correspondent and host -- Loretta Nall has been coming up as the likely Libertarian Party nominee for the governorship of Alabama.

If she runs, Nall will face off against Republican incumbent Bob Riley ... a governor in deep, deep trouble with just about every kind of Alabamian.

Christian Conservative Alabamians weren't especially thrilled when Riley tried to tell them that Jesus wanted them to support a tax increase. They like Roy Moore -- the former chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court who fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep a display of the Ten Commandments in his courthouse's lobby -- a lot better. And Moore has all but announced that he'll be opposing Riley in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary.

Even if Riley wins that primary, he won't emerge unscathed. He'll go into the general election as a wounded incumbent against popular Democratic lieutenant governor Lucy Baxley. Of course, Democrats being Democrats, Riley isn't popular among them. On top of that, all too many Alabama Republicans remember the days when the Democrats were the party of smaller government in their state, and Riley's record has them thinking that those days may be here again, at least relatively speaking.

Freedom-loving Alabamians consider their state the natural center of the states' rights movement, and the Supreme Court's ruling in Raich v. Gonzales put a lot of gas in the tank of Alabama's medical marijuana movement. Nall would almost certainly do well, and a lot of her votes would come right out of Riley's column (in 2002, Riley won the governorship by only about 3,000 votes out of 1.3 million cast, and even that margin was questionable due to vote-counting irregularities; Libertarian candidate John Sophocleus polled more than 23,000 votes).

"The establishment Republican operators in Alabama are worried about navigating past two roadblocks right now," says Alabama political maven (and state LP vice-chair) Steve Gordon. "Roy Moore in the primary and Loretta Nall in the general election. Bob Riley is the 'machine' candidate, but Roy Moore has more appeal with the party's activist base. Unless Riley just flat buries Moore in the primary, he goes into November running neck-and-neck -- at best -- with Baxley. And in a neck-and-neck race, with a strong Libertarian candidate running on medical marijuana, he might as well go ahead and reserve that U-Haul to move his stuff out of the Governor's Mansion."

Enter the DEA and the sudden, screeching halt to Loretta Nall's livelihood. If you think that's coincidence, give me a call -- I've got some Enron shares I'm looking to unload. Unlike Bob Riley and Lucy Baxley, Nall doesn't get a government paycheck to pay the bills while she tries to climb the political ladder. She has to work for a living. And the work she's done for some time has been for POT-TV.

Let's not take this lying down.

First and foremost, it is imperative that we fight the corruption of America's politics by its own bureaucrats, using our money. Please, write your congresscritters and ask for an investigation into the ONDCP/DEA's abuse of public funds and political power to stuff the ballot box.

Secondly, let's put the kibosh on the instant case and make sure that DEA isn't rewarded for its perfidy by being allowed to drag Marc Emery to the US for a show trial. Here's a list of action items to help out with that.

Third, let's make sure that the GOP's dirty tricks in Alabama don't pay off. Buy a a Nall for Governor t-shirt and wear it with pride (or send it to a friend in Alabama). Or, better yet, kick in a few bucks to help Loretta weather the storm so that she can kick some Republican ass next November. I just ponied up five bucks, and I challenge my readers to drop a few dollars in the hat as well. I'll even make it easy for you:

(Note: Loretta didn't put me up to this -- so if you think it's cheesy, blame me, not her).

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