Vin Suprynowicz

The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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The current cattle-chute nonsense at our airports is designed to accustom us to police-state searches, body probes, and questions about why we’re carrying cash (IRS) or pharmaceuticals (DEA.)

This rigmarole costs billions in lost productivity and wasted tax dollars. Completing a perfect hat trick, it’s also useless and unnecessary.

Every terrorist made it through the metal-detectors on Sept. 11, didn’t they? To this day, screening of checked luggage for bombs (when it’s done, at all) fails every effectiveness audit. Airport managers say their miles of sparsely patrolled fence lines and the easy access to parked planes of minimum-wage janitors and soda-pop loaders who’ve undergone minimal security checks makes the whole farce resemble “putting a steel door on a grass hut.”

Neither can this erosion of our liberties be justified by the fact “We’re at war,” since we’re not. Only Congress can declare war, and the last one ended in 1945; you can look it up. (Presumably, they don’t want to vote on declaring war because they’d have to specify who we’re at war WITH, what our war aims are, and how we’ll know when it’s over and we get our freedoms back.)

Finally, of course, we could prevent any future 9-11 simply by asking law-abiding Americans to fly with their firearms, the more the better, having the stewardesses check only to make sure our magazines are topped off with frangible ammo.

You can’t even joke about this nonsense, in the presence of the TSA goons, without getting locked up. (We all remember how many innocents the A-rabs have killed with their sarcastic remarks, don’t we?)

We are thus left with a final and fairly pathetic -- though at least mildly amusing -- means of protest: Do just what they tell you; no more.

This first dawned on me during my 2002 book tour for “The Ballad of Carl Drega.” I was flying from Calgary to Vancouver. They handed me a little green slotted plastic basket -- the kind that’s usually lined with a sheet of white paper at the fried-chicken joint -- for the stuff from my pockets. At the other end of the X-ray machine, they handed it back to me. No one told me what to do with it.

They had me take off my shoes and hold my arms out so they could “wand” me.

“OK,” the wand-waver said when he was done.

“OK!” I replied, enthusiastically.

“OK,” he repeated, showing some exasperation.

“OK!” I agreed, still shoeless, my arms still spread wide, warming up to this little cheerleading session.

Finally, his teeth set in anger, he told this American retard that I was free to lower my arms and proceed to my boarding gate.

No one told me I could put my shoes back on, or what to do with my little green basket.

That evening, I spoke in a classy hotel ballroom in Vancouver to a gathering sponsored in part by the B.C. (British Columbia) Marijuana Party. (I still have their T-shirt -- “Overgrow the State.” It’s particularly popular with our local supermarket cashiers, for some reason.) I dined with the president of that political party, Marc Emery, a gentle soul who runs a bookstore in that town and publishes an internationally circulated magazine called “Cannabis Culture” -- I like to think of it as “High Times” for people who can still read. The centerfolds, needless to say, feature voluptuous marijuana buds, provocatively dripping resin.

Mr. Emery proved a pleasant, relatively quiet and obviously literate fellow. He has made a lot of money selling various hybrid varieties of marijuana seeds internationally, and donates a fair amount of that money to political efforts to legalize the stuff, as well as to other social and political causes.

When I walked up to the lectern to speak that night I explained my experiences at the Calgary airport. I told them no one had ever told me to put my shoes back on, but that I’d decided it would probably be OK to do so several hours later, after flying in my stocking feet as far as Vancouver. As to the little green basket? I held it up and asked if anyone was heading that way, and could perhaps carry it back to Calgary for me.

I remembered the incident -- I seem to recall there was considerable appreciative hooting and foot-stomping -- when I heard Marc Emery had been arrested last March, in Saskatoon, for passing a joint in a public park.

It was a gesture of political protest, and hardly a new one. Marc had 10 similar charges on his “rap sheet,” all of which had drawn fines.

On Aug. 20, however, Provincial Court Judge Albert Lavoie said he was sending Emery to jail for three months to send a message. Emery’s crime was clearly a political act, the judge acknowledged. But he insisted that Emery had flaunted the law, and there was a need for a stronger deterrent.

Emery said the sentence won’t change his devotion to marijuana. “Marijuana is the most beautiful, perfect plant ever put on this earth,” he said. “I’m a great devotee of it and that won’t change, no matter what a judge would sentence me to.”

His lawyer, Lianne Johnson, vowed to appeal.

Many see the thinly veiled fist of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in this turn of events. The DEA has asked that Emery be extradited here on charges of drug trafficking and “money laundering,” claiming he sold marijuana seeds to Americans over the Internet. The judge set Sept. 16 for the start of his extradition hearing.

Marc’s online seed business had been operating openly for more than a decade, with minimal harassment from Canadian authorities. But in the United States, he could face a life sentence.

Karen Tandy, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, described Emery’s arrest as “a significant blow” against “the marijuana-legalization movement,” bragging that “drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

How revealing. Federal authorities claim they have “no choice” but to send people to prison to be buggered and killed for violating their absurd federal drug laws. “If you don’t like the law, then work to change it,” they advise us.

Goodness, how would we do that? By passing petitions, perhaps? By getting initiatives on the ballot and winning majority approval?

But all of that takes money. The kind of money Marc Emery donates.

Americans have done all that. The federal goons gleefully ignore such votes. And meantime, Ms. Tandy makes it clear the reason they want to get their hands on Marc Emery and see him die in one of their hellholes is not because of “the little children that have died smoking the pot that people grew from his seeds” -- since in fact nothing of the sort has ever happened -- but rather so that the “drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

Does Ms. Tandy see her job as ENFORCING the law -- or making sure no one ever CHANGES the law? Do she and her agents view the majority of the voting public as their masters? Or as enemies of the state that they just haven’t gotten around to locking up, yet?

It’s not like this is the first time. In 2003, then-Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval criticized White House “drug czar” John P. Walters’ interference with a 2002 marijuana initiative in the state. “It is unfortunate that a representative of the federal government substantially intervened in a matter that was clearly a State of Nevada issue,” Sandoval wrote in an opinion. “The excessive federal intervention that was exhibited in this instance is particularly disturbing because it sought to influence the outcome of a Nevada election.”

And Walters is at it again this year in Nevada, contending local campaign laws do not apply to him -- that he’s exempt from submitting campaign finance reports to the state as he spends federal tax money trying to derail another local marijuana initiative campaign.

Marc Emery told the CBC Aug. 25 that if he’s sent to the U.S. to face drug charges, he’ll never get out of prison alive -- he’ll either die in jail or be murdered there. He called the U.S. DEA “a Nazi-like military organization.”

If their main goal here is to imprison someone for the “crime” of financing perfectly legal political opposition, thus attempting to cut off funds for legitimate, “by-the-book” attempts to reform the law, I’d say he’s got that about right.

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