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Marc Emery’s Reaction to Legalization in the USA

submitted by on November 9, 2012

Marc and Jodie, Yazoo prison, September 28th 2012It took 75 years. Seventy-five years to win the majority support for legalizing marijuana at the ballot box.

Colorado and Washington voters passed, by substantial pluralities, legalization bills that guarantee universal access to any one, resident or visitor, 21 years or older, of up to one ounce of marijuana. In Colorado, anyone can grow up to six plants, and stores will sell marijuana to adults. In Washington, the state is obliged to distribute marijuana in retail locations.

Yes, the US federal government will object, but they can't do anything about a state withdrawing all penalties for possessing marijuana, and they would be very unwise to overrule or challenge a state constitutional amendment such as Colorado’s Amendment 64.

The federal government doesn't prosecute grows under 100 plants and the DEA doesn't bust local dealers or individuals in possession. A confrontation is what the movement needs. The framers of the I-502 initiative in Washington brilliantly wrote it up and are already in talks with the US Department of Justice on how they are going to implement the law.

There is no going back now. It's a done deal. And the news is going all over the world. Even the China Daily News quoted Jodie and myself about this historic event. Every marijuana enthusiast across the planet is excited by what's happened in Washington and Colorado.

And in 2014, I believe California, Nevada, Oregon (who lost this time 54% to 46%) and Massachusetts will have universal access initiatives on the ballot, and perhaps other states too. The movement towards voter-approved legalization – or rather, an end to marijuana prohibition – is gaining ground with each passing year. Now 75% of British Columbians favor legalization of marijuana; that is a staggering plurality. Every day some new elected official, judge, prosecutor, former Attorney-General, mayor, DEA agent, FBI agent, Congressman or legislator comes on board.

I think marijuana legalization will be a main election discussion policy in the British Columbia May 2013 election. Members of the Legislature like Liberals Kash Heed and Joan McIntyre, and the NDP's Nicholas Simons, have recently made public statements recommending a completely legal, regulated and taxed marijuana distribution regime. It's getting to be a bi-partisan policy these days. I am encouraging Jodie to run in that election this May to keep the media and voters of British Columbia focused on ending prohibition.

Every one reading this felt a unique and extraordinary wave of elation on the evening of Tuesday, November 6th or the following morning when you heard "Marijuana legalized by voters in Colorado and Washington State." This incredible euphoria has affected me; as I write this, I am giddy with the hope, excitement and possibilities of the future.

However, in Canada, it is marred by the sobering fact that the Harper government's severe and harsh penalties for cannabis growing and selling come into effect this month. The new Safe Streets & Communities Act contains even more severe and wide-ranging penalties for all other illegal drugs. There will be pain and anguish and the further entrenchment of prohibition debasement of us all by the new Harper punishments.

But remember, Stephen Harper and the compassionless zombies that make up the Harper government are into punishment. They like it. It was the philosopher Nietzsche who warned "beware of those in whom the urge to punish is strong." The next Canadian federal election is still 30 months away.

This is no time to slack. Everyone reading this has a job, a duty, a calling, to do more. Preparation for 2014 initiatives must be set in motion. Contact the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, NORML, and other organizations – do more for the initiatives closest to you that are being planned right now.

In Canada, be prepared for demonstrations, occupying the offices of the Members of Parliament and even the Prime Minister's constituency office in Calgary, demanding an end to marijuana prohibition. Canadians MUST engage in a conversation with your provincial MLA or MPP, and your federal Member of Parliament. I expect anyone reading this to support my tirelessly hard-working wife Jodie when she announces her intention to run as MLA in the May 2013 election. All Canadian activists should feel duty-bound and obligated to give cash and support to Dana Larsen's Sensible BC campaign to get a referendum in BC on decriminalizing marijuana in 2014. Get involved!

75 years it took to get to this point where the movement can now harness a majority of voters to end marijuana prohibition. This is the tipping point. My 607 days remaining in this US federal prison in Mississippi has been made a cross somewhat easier to bear, knowing that the end of prohibition is imminent.

But it won't happen like magic. Be inspired by the example of Mason Tvert of Amendment 64's Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and SAFER Colorado, and the example of Alison Holcomb of the Washington ACLU and the New Approach Washington I-502 organization. Be grateful for Peter Lewis and Rick Steves funding the Washington initiatives, and the organizations behind all of the legalization and medical marijuana campaigns. Pledge to take action somehow yourself, wherever you are!

May I repeat, my friend and incredible cannabis advocate Dana Larsen has virtually single-handedly put the Sensible BC referendum proposal on the map for British Columbia, but he really needs more money to continue this campaign all the way to September 2014 when the citizens of BC can vote for decriminalization. Donations can be accepted from anywhere in the world, so go to the Sensible BC website at http://www.SensibleBC.ca and give Dana some well deserved cash – $10, $25, $50, anything. It helps. A lot.

The voters of Colorado and Washington did the world a wonderful favor in looking after their own interests. They proved it can happen, not only in our lifetime, but today. I've dedicated my life to fighting marijuana prohibition for 22 years now. To the citizens of Colorado and Washington, I am awed with gratitude to you – and especially those who made this historic 'fall of the cannabis Berlin Wall' moment happen: I salute you. You’ve made history, and shown us how we can make history too. And we shall!

Marc Emery, #40252-086
Yazoo City federal prison
Mississippi

__________________________________________

INSPIRED? EXCITED?

WANT TO DO SOMETHING?

Get involved!

Read Marc's article: "Advice for Aspiring Activists"

Donate to any organization that works to reform marijuana laws, and volunteer some time for their campaigns:

http://www.DrugPolicy.org
http://www.MarijuanaPolicyProject.org
http://www.NORML.org
http://www.StopTheDrugWar.org
http://www.LEAP.cc
http://www.SSDP.org
http://www.StopTheViolenceBC.org
http://www.SensibleBC.ca

 

www.FREEMARC.ca
Marc in Yazoo prison, Mississippi

 

________________________________________

Marc’s US Election Excitement from Behind Bars in Mississippi

submitted by on October 7, 2012

Jodie and Marc in Yazoo prison, MississippiToday is Wednesday, October 3rd. In less than five weeks Americans will be voting candidates for President, Senate, the House of Representatives, their local statehouse representatives and senators, state attorney-generals, and their Mayor, City Council, sheriff, county commissioners, and possibly dozens of other elected offices at the state, county and local level. And then there are ballot initiatives that seek majority support for state laws legalizing possession of marijuana (Washington, Oregon, Colorado), medical marijuana (Arkansas, Massachusetts), and other proposed legislation.

Only about 20 states allow initiatives (also known as Propositions and Questions). In Canada, only British Columbia allows initiatives – and the signatures needed, about 400,000 voters in 90 days, are a daunting requirement. Nonetheless, my great friend and long-time activist Dana Larsen has undertaken this heroic task with his Sensible BC organization to get a marijuana possession decriminalization statute on a September 2014 ballot. Check out www.SensibleBC.ca for information about that campaign.

Canadians have no experience with the numerous options on a ballot that Americans face each November. When Canadians go to vote, it's for one office and that's it. In British Columbia, a person votes for City Council on mid-November Saturday every three years. For the provincial legislature (the equivalent of the statehouse), in BC we vote for one person on the second Tuesday in May every four years. For the federal Parliament (similar to Congress), Canadians vote for their one representative from their district every four years, sometimes a bit sooner if no one party controls the majority of seats. In Canada, the federal parliament has five parties in it, compared to the two parties in the US Congress.

My wife Jodie Emery, and Jeremiah Vandermeer, editor of Cannabis Culture and Pot TV, will be at the New Approach Washington headquarters in Seattle on November 6th streaming live the results of the marijuana legalization initiative I-502 as they come in (as well as bringing in affiliates from Colorado and Oregon to broadcast the results of their state legalization votes). New Approach Washington (www.NewApproachWA.org) is the organization that has done all the work writing up this proposed legislation, getting the necessary 247,000 signatures of Washington voters to put it on the ballot, and have raised millions to promote the initiative on television and in other media. Be sure to go to www.CannabisCulture.com and www.Pot.tv for the livestream, and share the experience with thousands of others on that historic night!

Vote YES on I-502 in Washington!I am thrilled Jodie, Jeremiah, and his long-time girlfriend Carina will be at the epicenter when history is being in America – that is, when Washington State becomes the first US jurisdiction to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The same legislation also sets up a state cannabis distribution system through all state licensed liquor stores, and although the federal government may try to interfere with that aspect of the legislation, there is little the US federal government can do in regards to negating the provision allowing all adult persons to carry and possess (and thus consume) marijuana, at least up to an ounce of it at a time.

The Washington state initiative is polling a much wider margin of success than similar initiatives in Colorado and Oregon; I attribute this to a very prescient organization in Washington state. This is not an initiative that percolated from the cannabis community. I-502 was done by organizational professionals who largely are more interested in aspects of civil liberty, reducing the pernicious effects of prohibition, and putting forth a practical legislative proposal that takes into account the concerns of the conservative straight voter who is likely to show up on voting day. People who show up to vote are usually those with a long-term stake in the community, usually with children or family as concerns. So when they are asked to legalize possession of marijuana, and these voters in the main don't partake, they need to know that the community safety – and specifically, that of their family – is built into this kind of legislative proposal. New Approach Washington did just that. They raised and spent millions in advertising promoting that aspect of the legislation, and are being rewarded with the best polling results of the three legalization initiatives.

Vote YES on Amendment 64 in Colorado!I do hope the initiatives in Colorado (YES on Amendment 64!) and Oregon (YES on Measure 80!) pass too (check out www.RegulateMarijuana.org and www.Vote80.org). Mason Tvert, one of the principal forces behind the Proposition 64 in Colorado, with his group SAFER, has over a decade of tremendous work in Colorado, first getting a Denver initiative passed way back in 2007 – see more about that at www.saferdenver.saferchoice.org. Colorado already is a medical marijuana state. Polling in Colorado suggests the vote will be close, but is winnable. Oregon is walking a tightrope, and lacks funding to promote the initiative there, but Paul Stanford has done a very admirable job gathering the signatures with his group to get the legalization question on the ballot there, and Russ Belville has been working hard promoting it too.

These efforts will be in urgent need of your campaign dollars and your vote on Tuesday, November 6th. Perhaps the most important votes in the lifetime of anyone in the cannabis culture in those three states will be Tuesday, November 6th. Imagine your elation when you awake on Wednesday, November 7th, and marijuana possession is legal in your state – somewhere in your country! – and you helped make it happen! But don't just dream it, you've got four weeks to make sure this dream becomes your reality!

Vote YES on Measure 80 in Oregon!Of course, if you live in Washington, Oregon, or Colorado, be sure you are registered to vote and go support these history making legalization initiatives. If you are in Massachusetts and Arkansas, get out and vote for their medical marijuana initiatives. And a big thanks to Marijuana Policy Project for providing money and infrastructure to get the Arkansas initiative up and on the ballot for Tuesday, November 6th. MPP has done a terrific job getting statehouses in Rhode Island and Connecticut – this year alone – to pass medical marijuana legislation, and historically have done more to provide the wherewithal to get initiatives on the ballot and legislation in the statehouse than any other group.

Definitely you should make contributions of money – even $10, $25, $50 – to Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, SAFER Colorado, New Approach Washington, the THC Foundation, and any organization making real political change happen. These are the people making history happen in America, and money is an essential lubricant of liberty.

As for voting for President, I cannot say anything positive about Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. I disagree with everything Mitt Romney says he wants to do, and I disagree with everything Barack Obama has done. There is simply nothing to recommend either of them. Both are warmongers, both want to maintain the drug war, both believe in the surveillance state, state secrecy, the Imperial Presidency. They are both the complete opposite of Ron Paul, my hero, who I pray stays healthy and fit to run for President in 2016. As to Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul, the US Senator from Kentucky is a shadow of his great father, and while Rand Paul is in some ways sympathetic to curtailing the excesses of the drug war (as in the case of mandatory minimums, to his credit), he is not the courageous man of perfect principle that his father is.

There are two perfect candidates running for the job of President and Vice President, and while they have no hope of being elected to those positions, they are the best candidates ever put before the cannabis culture for ending the drug war: Gary Johnson, the former two-term Governor of New Mexico and a wonderful, intelligent individual whom I met in 2003; and (California) Judge Jim Gray, a decades-long critic of the drug war whom has met Jodie twice this year. They make up the Libertarian ticket for the White House. They are both articulate and offer the right positions on the military, the drug war, the surveillance state, on the environment, on abortion and female reproductive autonomy, the economy, taxes, the deficit. They are both impeccably honest and very experienced. See www.GaryJohnson2012.com for more information.

There is a Libertarian candidate for virtually every position on the ballot. My recommendation is that you vote for every Libertarian you can, and give a small donation to each their campaign, and help them out, because every Libertarian wants to end the drug war and believes in individual freedom and liberty.

There are a few Republicans running for Congress who oppose the drug war – very few though, and they should be supported. However, many of the Democratic candidates for House of Representatives support some aspect of medical marijuana legislation, or legalization. Only a few Democratic Senators feel this way, alas, and only Rand Paul of the Republicans in the Senate is worth acknowledging in a positive way. You still need to educate your US Representative and US Senator from your district. Write them. Be heard. Watch how they vote in Congress.

Perhaps the greatest essay ever written on the colossal damage the drug war has done was recently published as a blog on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer by Vivian McPeak, the chief of the Seattle Hempfest. It’s poetic, brilliant, sobering and simply fantastic. I hope reading it – "Happy Birthday Prohibition – Now Die" – inspires you to give some money, your time, your vote and your involvement in the fight to end prohibition. These may be the most important weeks in the history of our movement, when your vote, your donations, and your voice promoting these initiatives makes a critical difference.

Jodie and Marc in Yazoo prison, MississippiIt would sure make the 610 days I'll have remaining in this US federal prison a great deal easier to bear on the morning of Wednesday, November 7th. That the torch of the cannabis culture I tried to carry for decades has been carried on by millions of Americans who will not be, and were not, deterred by their governments' resistance to justice. The very state of Washington, home of the Seattle federal court that sentenced me to prison for five years – specifically because of my legalization activities and supporting the marijuana movement with millions of dollars and millions of seeds – will have turned the world of prohibition upside down overnight by making I-502 the law, by making marijuana legal for the first time anywhere on earth. And my own prosecutor, who later realized marijuana prohibition is a failure, is working for legalization and campaigning against prohibition with the I-502 campaign. Our movement gains allies every day.

I'll be locked down in my cell at 7:45pm Washington state (Pacific) time on Tuesday, November 6th. I won't have heard any results by then, I won't know if history was made until I get out of my cell at 6:00am sharp Wednesday morning and check my email from Jodie to read what transpired. I pray that Wednesday, November 7th is going to be my favorite Wednesday of my entire life – the day when legalization became more than just a 32-year dream of mine. The day I awoke and the world really changed.

Please do your utmost, if you live in Colorado, Oregon or Washington to make it your best Wednesday ever, too!

 

Marc on the Huffington Post, and other news from prison

submitted by on September 18, 2012

Jodie and Marc, July 28th 2012On Tuesday, September 4th, I had an OP-ED published on the Huffington Post about the two Presidential candidates and the drug war. Although I like the message that’s there, it was sanitized by the Huffington Post (ultimately with my approval) so that another related theme, the lack of activism from the African-American community in opposing the drug war and prohibition, was removed entirely. I'll discuss that more in my next blog.

Monday, September 3rd was Labor Day, and now that it has passed, I only have one more Labor Day to serve in captivity. 2012 is two-thirds over, and as of September 2nd, I have 675 days to go if I serve every day in the US, and 915 days served behind me.

My band Yazoo's ninth concert was on Saturday, August 18th. We performed despite having a very small audience, as it thundered, flashed lightning and poured down rain for the entire afternoon during our amplified rock show. We still managed to play two hours and 18 songs. It was our best performance yet. I've been trying to improve my technique recently, with both hands, using two fingers (instead of one) on my plucking right hand, and better finger technique on my fretting left hand.

I've got an MP3 player now, with 120 songs on it, and it’s such a wonderful thing to have. I'm working on two songs for our next concert, "Too Rolling Stoned" by Robin Trower and "Running Down A Dream" by Tom Petty, and being able to listen to these and other songs I'm working on is very, very helpful, especially since I don't have the Bass Tab sheet music for either one of those two songs.

Songs are $1.55 each mostly, with some at $1.20. Here are some songs I have on my player; I have an eclectic collection:

Daft Punk – Robot Rock
Bob Marley – Natural Mystic, No Woman, No Cry
BB King – The Thrill is Gone
Talking Heads – Girlfriend is Better (and ten other songs by Talking Heads)
ZZ Top – Blue Blue Jeans
Nirvana- Come As You Are
Ric Ocasek – Emotion in Motion
Digital Underground – Same Song
Rihanna – S&M, Disturbia
Owl City – Fireflies
Nat King Cole – Twilight on the Trail
Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love
Buddy Guy – Stormy Monday Blues
Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker
Peter Tosh – Legalize It, Bush Doctor
Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight, One More Night
Ellie Goulding – Lights
LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues, What’s Going On
Curtis Mayfield – Freddie's Dead
Mason Williams – Classical Gas
Vangelis – L'Enfant (from Year of Living Dangerously)
Haddaway – What is Love? (made famous by Saturday Night Live)
10,000 Maniacs – More Than This
Baby Bash – Suga, Suga
Bob Dylan – Everything is Broken
Bryan Ferry – Slave to Love, Kiss & Tell, Don't Stop the Dance

Some artists are not yet available: the Beatles, The Rolling Stones before 1972, Metallica, Madonna, AC/DC, and the Eagles last two albums, but certainly there is still plenty to choose from.

My health is good and I'm busier than ever. I'm practicing my bass guitar more. I'm reading 'Famous Trials: Sir Roger Casement' after reading the new biographical novel about Sir Roger Casement called 'Dream of the Celt' by Mario Vargas Llosa. Roger Casement was the first human rights activist, and did research – on location in the Congo and Peru – into the murderous and genocidal industrial rubber plantations run in the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium (1903 report), and a British rubber company (Azana Rubber) in the case of Peru (1912 report). Casement was hanged by the England that knighted him and commissioned his human rights work, after he supported the Irish Uprising in 1916 by going to Germany during WWI to get weapons and collaboration from the Germans. Casement was tried for treason and hanged, though Ireland did achieve independence six years later in 1922. Casement's outstanding and daring work as a documentarian of atrocities committed against natives of the Congo and Peru is little known.

I'm reading Grant Morrison's ‘Doom Patrol’ and ‘The Invisibles’ graphic novel series. I just finished the funny and insightful novel called ‘The Full Catastrophe’ by David Carkeet. It’s a quirky, funny novel about a linguist who loses his job studying the communication habits of one- to three-year-olds at daycare centers, and ends up a marriage councilor doing his work living in the household of the family he's counseling. I read ‘Savages’ by Don Winslow and it’s a good book about marijuana producers who get squeezed by a Mexican cartel. [WARNING! SPOILER ALERT AHEAD] Ultimately everyone dies, the heroes, villains, the DEA agent, everyone's corrupt, no one profits by prohibition in the long run, it’s all death and short-term advantage.

It’s a parable about the insanity and senselessness of prohibition. I just received the prequel, called ‘Kings of Cool’, I'll start that next. I'm mid-way through 'To Forgive Design', a book about colossal engineering failures and how we learn from our disasters. Engineering and science learn from their errors perhaps, but not, apparently, prohibitionists.

Marc and Jodie, July 29th, 2012Jodie just got her driver's license, so now she can drive from any airport to see me when she visits. I am concerned I'll get transferred to an immigrant prison after November, but it’s good to know she can drive from the nearest airport to wherever I end up, including while I'm here at Yazoo. I was at an immigrant prison before I was here at Yazoo, and there are not at all as properly run as Bureau of Prisons facilities. In fact, the immigrant prison near here, in Natchez, Mississippi, had a riot in May where one guard was killed, seven injured, the SWAT police were called in in force to restore order with tear gas and riot gear, and the place has been on lockdown for the three and a half months since.

That’s the kind of place I could be sent to, one run by GEO Group, or Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). There is no Corrlinks email there, and its 90%+ Hispanic Spanish-speaking inmates, most all involved with cartels or gangs. My transfer application to return to Canada can begin to be processed in five months, on February 6th, and can be in Washington April 6th – seven months away. I'm hoping to be back in the Canadian prison system by September of next year, and out on parole perhaps for Christmas 2013 with Jodie.

I'm hoping!

I've been writing a letter every day to mail correspondents but I'm still way behind. Hello to Howard in PA., Len in MI (who still writes me every day, amazing!), Kathy in Lethbridge, Dove in Vancouver, and all others who do write – I will write you back, if not the first letter you send, the next one! Each letter I write takes about two hours, so I never quite catch up. But I definitely appreciate hearing from friends and fans. Thank you to all of our supporters!

 

To send Marc mail, please see this page at www.FreeMarc.ca for his address and the guidelines for sending letters, photos, etc.

 

Mississippi Music Man Marc & The Pussy Riot

submitted by on August 7, 2012

MP3 Players are coming, MP3 players are coming! It's official, on Monday, August 13, we can buy a prison issue MP3 player for $70, and on August 20, songs will be available for download on them at $1.20 and $1.60 a song. For me this is the best thing that could happen.

Currently I am practicing songs for our August 18 concert, it will be my band YAZOO's 9th concert, and yet oftentimes I am learning a song from sheet music and my instructor and good buddy Terry, without having heard the song in months or years. We are still able to recreate these songs pretty well identically to the recorded version, although our songs have two solos per song as compared to one solo in most of the originals.

With MP3 players, I can download all the songs we currently play (about 35), and more importantly, any song I'm learning or plan on learning, and play them endlessly to understand how the bass lines go, or the overall structure of the song is, or any aspect of its performance. That’s true for our drummer Sapp, who, though remarkable as he is in getting a song just right, has actually never heard most of the songs we perform. This will be a great help to him, to all of us in the band.

Here is my next concert’s set list, which has five new songs we've yet to perform live marked with an asterisk:

1st Set:
1) * Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
2) Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
3) * Cathedral/Eruption/You Really Got Me/Ain't Talkin Bout Love (Van Halen medley)
4) Crazy Train (Ozzy)
5) Whole Lotta Love (Zeppelin)
6) * Enter Sandman (Metallica)
7) * Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Zeppelin)

2nd Set
8) * Much Too Young (to Feel This Old) Garth Brooks
9) Stormy Monday
10) Hotel California (Eagles)
11) Black Magic Woman (Santana)
12) Wind Cried Mary (Hendrix)
13) Little Wing (Stevie Ray Vaughan/Hendrix)
14) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

Cathedral and Eruption are two solos by Eddie Van Halen that Terry, the band's lead guitarist, will perform, and then the band will come in with You Really Got Me, then segue into Ain't Talkin Bout Love then come back to You Really Got Me. Most commercial versions of the songs we play have one brief solo, most of ours have two solos, one by Terry, and one by Don. For the Garth Brooks song Terry and I have come up with a unique base line that follows the chords of the song, as we don't have any bass tab sheet music, nor have I ever heard the song, so we've come up with a very nice bass line for the verses and chorus.

I'm paying attention to the trial of the Russian female punk protest band PUSSY RIOT (a terrific name for a punk girl band, I must say) who have been jailed in Moscow for SEVERAL months after their protest with a song performed commando-style in church criticizing the close collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. (Just because people voted, doesn't mean they don't end up with dictators – see Hitler, Putin, Harper, et al). These three women face up to seven years if convicted and sentenced to the maximum; the charges are outrageous on the face of it. It’s an affront to civilized norms that these women have spent anytime in jail for these provocative but essentially victimless guerrilla protests.

As an aside, there is a cannabis culture in Russia, albeit intimidated by police; they even protested my arrest for extradition in Moscow and Saint Petersburg on September 10, 2005 in a worldwide day of protest.

I would urge any young musicians or concerned activists to spend a day with a picket and a sign "PROTEST RUSSIAN GOV'T TYRANNY OVER MUSIC & POLITICS: I SUPPORT PUSSY RIOT" at the Russian consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles (and other US cities) and at the Russian embassy in Ottawa and Washington.

The three women, Yekaterina, Nadezhda, and Maria, are charged with hooliganism and religious hatred. Below I’ll include some lyrics in the songs performed at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, essentially calling on the Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, to expel Putin – thus offending church and state in one song. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, an ominously-named Patriarch Kirill, is a devoted follower of oligarch V. Putin, having labeled Putin's dictatorship as a "miracle of God."

The case is part of a broader Russian establishment crackdown on civil rights in what is a quasi-democracy where the people are trying to come out of 400 years of czarist autocracy, communism, and now the Putin oligarchy, facing resistance and repression from churches and state, and a criminal mafia that colludes with them both.

The members of Pussy Riot were arrested when much of the Russian people were protesting the inevitable presence of Putin as head of state (or defacto head of state) during so-called elections last March.

Now the Russian government under Putin's orders are restricting internet access, increasing fines for "illegal" demonstrations (sort of like the Charest government in Quebec), and "libeling" political officials in now a crime as of this month.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers voiced their support of Pussy Riot at their Moscow concert recently, and Anthony Keidis of the band wore a Pussy Riot t-shirt during the RHCP performance, as has Peter Gabriel in concerts recently.

You might say, "but Marc, do you condone trespass into a church to make sacrilegious statements as well as political dissent?" And I'd say, depends on the nature of the protest. If the church I was briefly usurping the altar for was one that had shielded or protected child abusing Priest molesters, then certainly yes. If that church had lent credibility to the dictator of that country, then yes. If that church advocated violence or hatred or hostility toward any minority (pot smokers, homosexuals, racial minorities, et al), then yes.

Churches are only buildings, that don't even pay taxes, and are not sacrosanct or free from public reaction. Religion and churches oppress and support oppression all the time, so they are fair game. Of course, when you take action, you have to defend your action, certainly in the court of public opinion, and possibly in court. Actions in defense of individual liberty, and to counter the oppression of the state or establishment institutions, trumps all other considerations.

These are the lyrics to the song Pussy Riot performed uninvited, in the church:

—–
Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away

(choir) – Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Put Putin Away, Put Putin Away, Put Putin Away

Verse:
Black Robe, Golden Epaulettes
All parishiners crawl to bow
The Phantom of Liberty is in Heaven
Gay Pride sent to Siberia in chains,

The head of KGB their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort.
In order not to offend his holiness
Women must give birth and love

Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!
Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!

(chorus)

The Church's praise of rotten dictators,
The cross bearer procession of black limousines,
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class -bring him money
Patriarch Gundayeav believes in Putin,
Bitch, better believe in God instead.
The belt of the Virgin can't replace mass meetings
Mary, Mother of God is with us in protest

(chorus)

——
Two other Pussy Riot songs of note are translated below:

PUTIN GOT SCARED

A rebellious column moves through the Kremlin,
Windows explode inside FSB offices
Bitches piss behind red walls,
Riots call for the system's abortion

Attack at dawn? Am not against it
For our joint freedom, a whip to chastise with
Madonna to her glory will learn to fight
Feminist Magdalene Go Demonstrate

Revolt in Russia – The charisma of protest
Revolt in Russia – Pissed on by Putin
Revolt in Russia – We exist!
Revolt in Russia – Riot! Riot!

Take to the streets
Live on the Red
Set Free the Rage
of civil anger

Discontent with the culture of make hysteria
Wild male devours brains
The orthodox religion of a hard penis
Patients are asked to accept conformity

The Regime heads towards censorship of dreams,
The time has come for a subversive washing,
A pack of bitches from the sexist regime
Begs forgiveness of a feminist wedge

Revolt in Russia – The Charisma of Protest
Revolt in Russia – Pissed on by Putin
Revolt in Russia – We exist!
Revolt in Russia – Riot! Riot!

—–
DEATH TO PRISON, FREEDOM TO PROTEST

The joyful science of occupying squares
The will to everyone's power without damn leaders
Direct Action the future of mankind
LGBT & feminists defend the nation

Death to Prisons, Freedom to Protest!
Fill the city, all the squares and the streets
There are many in Russia, beat it,
Open all the doors, take off the shoulder straps,
Taste the smell of freedom together with us

Death to prisons, freedom to protest
Occupy the city with a kitchen frying pan,
Go out with a vacuum, get off on it,
Seduce battalions of police damsels
Naked cops rejoice in the new reforms

The fucking end to sexist Putinists!

Kropotkin- Vodka splashes in the bellies
You feel good, but those Kremlin bastards
Face the revolt of the toilets' fatal poisonings,
Flashing lights won't save you, Kennedy will meet you

The fucking end to informant bosses!

Caught some zzz's, time to oppress the day
The knuckle-dusters ready, feminism's sharpened
Take your soup away to eastern Siberia
So that riot will become rough enough

The fucking end to Sexist Putinists!
The fucking end to informant bosses!
Death to Prison, Freedom to Protest!

 

Prison Blog: DEA Admits All My Seed Money Went To Activism

submitted by on July 16, 2012

Jodie and Marc in Yazoo prison, June 23rd 2012It's July 15th, and I have 724 days to go if I serve every day in the US federal system up to my early release date of July 9th, 2014. That means I now have less than two years to go on this sentence here in the US, though I am hoping to be transferred back to Canada next summer or fall to be home with Jodie in Vancouver by Christmas 2013.

If I do get a Canadian transfer, I'll receive statutory release (parole until March 2015) in Canada anytime after July 2013. I was rejected for transfer by the US Department of Justice last year in April, and have to wait two years before an application is reconsidered.

Over a year ago, after getting the transfer application rejected, one of my lawyers put in a Freedom of Information request about me to the DEA, FBI, Department of State, Bureau of Prisons, and other U.S. federal agencies. The FBI claimed not to have any file on me, others sent minor paperwork, and the DEA stalled – claiming that with so many email accounts and servers to go through, they couldn't afford the time to do it! But finally, some the DEA files were handed over; heavily redacted too, of course.

Some of the most interesting information is that the DEA confirmed that I gave over $2,000,000 to activists, activist groups, political parties, rallies, events, court challenges, and verified that over $753,000 of it was sent by Western Union wire. (I actually gave just under $4,500,000 in cash, check, money order, credit card and western union to those causes and people from 1995 to 2005, but the DEA apparently could only ascertain $2,000,000 of it, from 1999 to 2004.)

Here are the excerpts from the DEA release:
[Click the images to view the full pages]

—-
PAGE 14:

In a recent Editor's Page piece, EMERY and assistant editor Giesz-Ramsay boast that "my [EMERY's] organizations (including CC) have contributed over $2,000,000 toward court battles, ballot initiatives, jailed individuals, rallies, conferences, marches and elections – all involving cannabis or the drug war."

It goes on to state, "There is virtually no drug reform group or organization in North America that has not received some assistance from us."

These sentiments are confirmed by the investigation conducted by the San Francisco FD into the numerous Western Union wire transfers initiated by Marc EMERY to many marijuana political activists around the world.
—-

 

 

—-
PAGE 18:

The San Francisco Field Division, in coordination with the Blaine Resident Office is investigating Marc EMERY. At the request of Blaine RO, SFFD has conducted an analysis of Western Union wire transfers sent by EMERY for the period 5 April 1999 until 5 April 2004.

In total, $753,712.14 was transferred by EMERY through Western Union Financial Services. The financial analysis revealed that EMERY distributed this money to candidates for elections in the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries.

This Report of Investigation details the significant websites and email accounts documented in cables DTG: 102055Z June 2005 and DTG: 102110Z June 2005.
—-

 

So there you have it. Although I have claimed all along to have donated millions of dollars (all my seed profits) to activist efforts in those ten years I was a seed seller – because that was the point of the seed business – it's still nice to have the DEA confirm this. And out of the San Francisco Field Office of DEA, at that.

Of course, this further buttresses my claim that my extradition and prosecution was entirely political in nature, considering what DEA head Karen Tandy said on the day of my arrest:

"Today's DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.

His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.

Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General's most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery's illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."

As always, that DEA press release can always be seen and downloaded from the front page of www.FreeMarc.ca (click HERE for the direct link).

My band YAZOO had its July 4th concert on Friday evening, June 29th. Terry, my lead guitarist, played a beautiful Jimi Hendrix version of Star Spangled Banner in the middle of our 17-song set, which we managed to get completed in 100 minutes. It was my 8th concert, and our best yet, with few mistakes, and a comfortable 93 degrees F (34 C) temperature from 6:15pm to 8pm when we played. Our song list was:

1) Hey Joe (Hendrix)
2) Jumpin Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
3) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
4) White Room (Cream)
5) Red House (Hendrix)
6) Little Wing (Hendrix)
7) Star Spangled Banner (Hendrix)
8) Pride And Joy (SR Vaughan)
9) Back in Black (AC/DC)
10) Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)
11) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
12) Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
13) Crazy Train (Ozzy)
14) Whole Lotta Love (Zeppelin)
15) Come Together (Beatles)
16) Blue on Black (KW Shepherd)
17) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

For the last three weeks I have been learning 'Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid' by Led Zeppelin, and now have it down. We'll be adding that pair of songs to our Labor Day concert set list. I have just mastered 'Plush' by Stone Temple Pilots and am now intensely learning and practicing on 'Enter Sandman' (Metallica), with 'Bad to The Bone' (George Thorogood) and 'Running Down A Dream' (Tom Petty) to be learned next. We have over seven weeks until this next concert and we should have these songs mastered by then.

'Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid' was perhaps my biggest challenge so far, although it took a lot of practice to get proficient on my two previous big challenges, 'Black Magic Woman' and 'Crazy Train'. I've also been working more enthusiastically on the minor and major scales, because I have realized that all songs are created within a scale and I can see that, when I go through the B minor scale, for example, I can hear how 'Lean On Me' by Bill Withers was created out of that scale. So musical light bulbs are going off in my head about song construction and how these songs sound so 'right', it's all in the scales!

We did get a 'special' July 4th meal: two hamburger patties instead of one, a slice of watermelon, and a pouch of Famous Amos raisin/oatmeal bite-size cookies. It could be worse – and usually is!

There is a charming poster of my band YAZOO by Gary Wintle posted on my Facebook fan page at www.Facebook.com/PrinceOfPot. I finally got some copies in the mail; numerous correspondents waxed enthusiastic about it, and my bandmates' families have seen it and enjoyed it too. I want YAZOO to become the most popular band no one in the free world has ever actually heard!

If anyone reproduces the poster in color from Facebook and sends it to me, I'll have each member of the band autograph it and send it back to you. (My mailing address is always on the front page of www.FreeMarc.ca) I'm hoping we can take that wonderful Gary Wintle illustration of the band, make some modifications to it, and put it on t-shirts and get them out there. If you would be interested in buying a YAZOO band color t-shirt for $15, let Jodie know. I'm hoping we can make 50 of each male and female t-shirts, give two to the families of my four band-mates, keep a couple for posterity, and sell the other 90. I promise to sign the t-shirt for anyone who has one when Jodie and I go on our 30-50 city cross-Canada speaking tour, from September to November 2014. Can't wait to travel Canada to see our people and fire 'em up for the May 2015 federal election! We'll have to make sure the NDP and Liberals fully intend to repeal the Harper mandatory minimums for marijuana as that election comes closer.

Canada's new mandatory minimum jail sentences for marijuana and all illegal drugs come into effect November 22nd, thanks to the Stephen Harper Conservative majority government. This will change Canada's cannabis culture significantly, and worryingly. There are numerous enhancements that make jail time longer, such as growing or selling in a rented property, in residential communities, second offenses, and more. Once Canadians start being charged under these new penalties, a chill will descend on Canada's cannabis culture, and prices will rise (making the black market even more lucrative, of course). Canadians are increasingly opposed to marijuana prohibition, but the Harper Conservative government is in office until an election in May 2015. There are dark days ahead, and a lot of work will need to be done to fix everything!

I have fallen behind on responding to letters sent me, so I have decided to make four different postcards that I can use to send to everyone who writes me a letter within a day of my receiving it. Most of my letters that I write are 6-10 page letters and take 90-120 minutes. I love writing such long missives, but I don't end up responding to most of the letters I get because I actually don't have the time! So this way, I'll be able to answer each letter with a postcard (the photos are of me and Jodie in the visitation room, or of me by myself in the prison photo room) and a personal message on each one that might only take me 10-15 minutes each. Most of the letters I write tend to repeat the same information (what I'm reading, the music I'm playing, etc.) and I cover that in these blog entries, so on the postcards I'll be able to be a bit more personal (albeit brief).

I'm reading voraciously, mostly still outside, but as every day is 96-100 degrees F (35-38 C) now, and will be for the rest of July and early August, I escape to the air-conditioned environs of our unit every now and then. Some books of note that I finished recently include:

– 'The Fish That Ate The Whale', the biography of the 'Banana Man' Sam ZeMurray
– 'Emperor of All Maladies', a 'biography' of cancer
– 'Armies of the Night', by Norman Mailer, of the march on the pentagon in October 1967 protesting the draft and the Vietnam War
– All seven books in the 'Joe Sandilands' murder mysteries by Barbara Cleverly
– 'The Omnivore's Dilemma', by Michael Pollan, following up his brilliant book 'The Botany of Desire'

I've been enjoying graphic novels by Grant Morrison, his 'The Doom Patrol' Vol. 1-4, 'The New X-Men' 1-3, 'WE3', a plethora of Carl Barks material, his Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge work from 1949-1960, a very bizarre and wonderful series called 'CHEW' about an investigator who is 'cibopathic', meaning he gets visions and information from eating anything (except beets). So to solve murders he (now this is strange) eats a sample of the flesh or blood of victims, or the murderer! I've also gotten larger hardcovers of the work of Steve Ditko and Bernie Kriegstein. Kriegstein did work for EC comics and others in the 1950's, and Ditko has a career spanning the 50's to the early 80's, and is most famous for the first 38 Spiderman comics. He was an Ayn Rand acolyte, and that shows up in work like 'Mr. A' and 'Avenging World'.

These and so many other graphic novels that I get (and lend around the prison extensively) come to me courtesy of my great friend Dana Larsen. And most of the books I'm reading, and music books I work from come from Dana too! Dana is organizing 'Sensible BC', which exists to get a referendum on the ballot in British Columbia in September 2014 to essentially decriminalize marijuana possession in BC. Dana is an incredible activist and person and I hope you will join his Facebook page (click HERE) and support his dispensaries, Sensible BC at www.SensibleBC.ca, and his many other extraordinary projects. Dana ran for leadership of the BC New Democratic Party from January to April 2011, and was very, very good in that campaign all the way to the leadership convention, and represented the cannabis community with great panache and honor.

Jodie and Marc in Yazoo prison, June 23rd 2012Jodie visited me last weekend, and you can always see the latest photos of us on my Facebook page, where she recently posted the photos from our visit here on June 24th and 25th, and she shares them in her weekly videos at www.YouTube.com/PotTVNetwork (also always posted at www.Pot.tv and www.FreeMarc.ca). As you can see, there is a new photo background, a change from the fence by the seaside background that has been at Yazoo since May of last year.

For every anniversary or special occasion between Jodie and I, I make a special card relying heavily on the talents of one or two Mexican guys here. In prison there are many talented artists, particularly from Mexico, and they do great 3-D greeting cards. I help out in simple things like waxing the letters to make them shine and gleam, cutting out the paper or cardboard shapes, gluing pieces together, and choosing the text. I admit I don't do the really talented work! I started work on June 4th for the card for Jodie and my 6th anniversary (on July 23rd), and finished it June 24, sent it June 25 only to have Jodie get an empty envelope in the mail! These are exquisitely beautiful cards and Jodie proudly shows them on her Jodie Emery show every week at www.Pot.tv and www.FreeMarc.ca.

Despite the latest card going missing in the mail (maybe look for it on eBay sometime in the future as an authentic Marc Emery signed card – hah!) I still have time to get another card made, so I've started work on it with my brilliant Mexican artist and I'm hoping we have one ready by next week in time to send to Jodie, arriving before July 23rd. Look for it on the Jodie Emery show of July 26th! And thank you to those friends and fans who send donations to my commissary, so I can buy phone calls to talk to Jodie, and other prison essentials. Jodie and I both really appreciate it!

 

Prison transfer thoughts and other updates

submitted by on June 4, 2012

Today is June 3rd, and there are 766 days left to my release date of July 9th, 2014. I've served 823 days, and with my good time credit, I've got 1,058 days behind me on this 1,825-day (5-year) sentence.

I can, and will, put in my treaty transfer application to the US Department of Justice on April 6th, 2013, two years to the day from my rejection by the DOJ of my original transfer application back to Canada (see blog written about it here and the Canadian Press story here). You must wait two years to re-apply. It will take two months for the DOJ to approve or reject it, then, if approved, it will be forwarded to Canada's Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, for Canadian government approval.

Using the guidelines of both governments, I qualify under every criteria for transfer back to my home country, but that didn't stop the DOJ from rejecting me last time. If approved by the DOJ in June 2013, then approved by the Canadian government over the summer of 2013, I should be returned to Canada by October-December 2013. If I arrive in Canada after August 2013, I qualify for immediate statutory release (2/3 of sentence completed, Canadian automatic parole rules).

I'm hoping my American supporters can and will appeal to their US Congressional Representatives in getting a letter-of-endorsement for my transfer back to Canada, that will be submitted to the Department of Justice by next April. I'm also hoping my former prosecutor/District Attorney John McKay, presumptive Washington Congressman Roger Goodman, and various state representatives and other Congressional Reps will also endorse my transfer back to Canada. At the Canadian end of things, I'm counting on no fewer than 20 Members of the Canadian Parliament and additional elected representatives from across Canada to support my Canadian application for transfer (we had 23 current and former political representatives from every level of government in Canada endorse my application last time – see the story and the official letter here).

If you are Canadian, please ask your Member of Parliament to write a letter of endorsement of my transfer. Ask for a reply in writing, then forward the reply to Jodie so she may contact them. Once I am released in Canada, I would be on parole until March 2015. If I serve my time in the US (that is, if I get refused transfer), I'm out of here and deported back to Canada in July 2014, without any Canadian parole conditions.

In the meantime, I am keeping busy in the blazing sunny weather that is virtually permanent here in Mississippi. All days are blue skies 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 38 Celsius) in May and June, and I stay in the shade each afternoon and practice my new material I have to learn by our next concert on July 7th.

My band, Yazoo, played its sixth concert outside on the evening of May 26th, a 100-minute set of the following 15 songs:

1) Don's Jam in E Major
2) Back in Black (AC/DC)
3) Blue on Black (K.W. Shepherd)
4) White Room (Cream)
5) Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)
6) Red House (Jimi Hendrix)
7) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
8) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
9) Come Together (Beatles)
10) Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
11) Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
12) Jumping Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
13) Crazy Train (Ozzy Osborne)
14) Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
15) Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix)

It started off with challenges. Don broke his B string at the outset of his solo on Back in Black, but when you break a guitar string in the middle of a number you continue on as best as you can. He quickly replaced that string after that song. Then the vocal mic went dead at a key moment in White Room. Each of us made a few flubs, but nothing egregious, and the last ten songs went really well over-all. Flies kept landing on my nose and even walking around my lips while I played, but I did not lose my place while playing, maddening as it was on three or four occasions. I have been playing bass guitar for a bit over a year now, having never played any instrument in my life prior to May of last year, and my skills and learning curve continue to advance.

Our next concert, either on July 4th or July 6th, will feature the following set list:

1) Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
2) Pride and Joy
3) Sweet Home Alabama
4) Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
5) Back in Black
6) Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Led Zeppelin)
7) Crazy Train
8) Star Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix, solo by Terry)
9) Little Wing (Stevie Ray Vaughan version)
10) Blue on Black
11) Sharp Dressed Man
12) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
13) White Room
14) Come Together
15) Jumping Jack Flash
16) Enter Sandman (Metallica)
17) Whole Lotta Love

In the next five weeks I have to learn Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid, Enter Sandman, and Plush. This week I've been working on Heartbreaker, and should be ready for our first studio run-through on Monday. Our Yazoo band poster by Gary Wintle, the fantastic artist who created the FREE MARC logo and did many years of great work for Cannabis Culture magazine, should be ready soon and seen on my Facebook page.

The prison warden stopped me from receiving the April 27th and April 29th editions of the daily newspaper The Province that I was in (see coverage and the pages here), claiming that allowing them in would threaten the safety of the institution. These are the ones that had columnist Jon Ferry visiting me, the first with a full-page article and a section on the cover, and the second with a full-page photo of Jodie and I on the cover and a two-page article inside, with a photo of my band-mates. I wish I could have seen those newspapers!

After reading a book called "Food Rules", by Michael Pollan (whose great book "Botany of Desire" is one of the best books I've read in prison; it deals with the strange and odd histories of apples, potatoes, tulips, and marijuana), I've decided to restrict my diet further, trying to eliminate all processed, sugary, starchy, foods. Since the commissary here doesn't sell any fresh food, only processed foods, that leaves me with very little to buy that’s healthy. I do eat a sealed pack of pink salmon ($3) or albacore tuna ($3.40) every day, these two are brain foods high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids (like hemp seeds are), and I add to that some crushed garlic, jalapeno peppers, mayonnaise, onions, and sometimes chopped cheddar cheese. I eat whatever fruit they serve (apples, oranges, sometimes a banana), which I get because I never eat the sugary deserts that come with each meal, so they offer a fruit substitute. I don't eat the pork or ground beef they serve here, and they never serve fresh vegetables (other than iceberg lettuce, and I'm not sure that counts as a vegetable, it’s really cellulose and water) so it’s lean pickings for me in the Chow Hall.

I receive two newspapers daily, and I do the crosswords in both the NY Times, and the Providence Journal (courtesy of my Rhode Island friend Catharine Leach). Without access to the help of the internet or any reference books, I can complete one in four crosswords, and nearly complete another one in four. I can only get 25-50% done on the others, but my brain is very sharp these days, so eating the fishes and exercising my brain on challenging endeavors like bass guitar and crosswords is keeping me mentally fit.

I've read all nine volumes of the graphic novel "Preacher" by Garth Ennis; all ten volumes of "Y: The Last Man"; three volumes of "New X-Men" by Grant Morrison; and lots of Carl Bark's and Don Rosa's cartoon books on Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck. I eagerly await new material by an artist/writer named Kyle Baker, too. I've read his "Plastic Man" #1 and #2, and his "You Are Here", "Why I Hate Saturn", and "Nat Turner".

I also read a very interesting book on a very strange subject, "Love to Love You Bradys; The Bizarre Story of the Brady Bunch Family Hour", by Sue Olsen. The Brady Family Variety Hour was a 10 episode 1977 show rated as the #4 worst show of all time by TV Guide. Sue Olsen had played the youngest Brady girl on the 70's sitcom The Brady Bunch. That show went on for five seasons (1971-1975) and – to me, as I was around then – was one of those wholesome family sitcoms, along with A Family Affair (with Brian Keith), and the Partridge Family, which, even at age 14 in 1972, I found cloying and annoyingly reality-free (especially compared with M.A.S.H., All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, and The Jeffersons, all gritty 'liberal' shows that had a huge influence on my counter-cultural developing sensibilities – I was subscribing to the Village Voice from 1972 to 1975 when I was 14 to 17!).

I ordered the Brady Bunch book largely to share with my bandmate Terry, who was a fan of Sue Olsen because she had a radio show in 2008 and 2009 that he listened to. But it was a surprisingly good book, extraordinarily illustrated, with a bizarre story to tell, which was very entertaining, as I ended up reading the 300 or so pages of this oversized picture book.

Other books I have read in the recent two months include the latest installment of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series (I've read all fourteen in the series and eagerly await each new volume, although it’s very light reading), "Tug of War" (#6 in a series of historical mysteries by Barbara Cleverly), "History of the World in 100 Objects", and "No One Gets Out of Here Alive" (a biography of Jim Morrison, a total jerk, alas). I'm also reading the Lonely Planet Guide to Jamaica. I realize the cost of airfare hasn't gone up much in the past 20 years (thank you, de-regulation), but hotels, all-inclusives, and restaurant meals sure have. I'm hoping Jodie and I can go to Jamaica for two weeks in early December 2014, if I'm not on parole then, and three days in Paris, and 24 days in Italy in May 2015. I used to go to Jamaica every year from 1982 to 1990 when I lived in London, Ontario; I always went to Negril, which was so much fun. I have never been anywhere in Europe except Amsterdam in 1994 and 1996, and Greece in 1975 as a teenager on a school trip (read that story here). Jodie and I have never been abroad anywhere together, so I'm excited to travel to Europe and the Caribbean with her.

Jodie just renewed many of my expired magazine subscriptions, so I'm still getting about 25 different subscriptions, including five different guitar magazines (Guitar World, Guitar Player, Guitar Aficionado, Premiere Guitar, and Bass Player). My favorite magazines, all of which I read thoroughly, are, in order of value to me, are:

1) MacLean's – I read this cover to cover, it’s all about Canadian current events, politics, arts, literature, a terrific magazine
2) Mental Floss – About cool facts and subjects, I also read every word printed in this magazine
3) Bloomberg Business Week – a great news and business magazine that has far more depth than any other magazine
4) WIRED – always a surprisingly interesting read from cover to cover

Other magazines I look forward to are TIME, NEWSWEEK, Atlantic, Reason, and Harper's; I read almost every article in these. Others like Popular Science, National Geographic, Vanity Fair (I miss the late Christopher Hitchen's column), Architectural Digest (everything is priced for rich people, who has $8,000 for plain "designer" coffee tables?) I skim, but find it hard to get into them. Rolling Stone Magazine reminds me that rock and roll isn't what it used to be. I get travel magazines with compellingly beautiful photographs that set my imagination dreaming of the times ahead when Jodie and I can share some time in the sun: Islands magazine, Caribbean Life & Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, and National Geographic Traveler.

We still haven't been able to buy our prison MP3 players yet, and now the so-called time they'll be sold is late July. Meanwhile, the private federal prisons for immigrant prisoners (like I was in, in early 2011) have had MP3 players for as long as two years. It will be wonderful to be able to buy music and play it with perfect sound. The radio stations here are so hit and miss, and reception is often dodgy.

I still have my two jobs, being the roster clerk for the Recreation Department, and supervising the music room and the instruments five nights a week for two and a half hours each night. Between the two jobs, it’s 60 hours a month for $18. Well, it’s not about the money anyway; I like the jobs, and as we all say, it’s better than working in the kitchen of the Chow Hall.

I received word that the House of Representatives was considering a bill to end cable TV and recreational movies in federal prisons. Boy, that would that be a big mistake. Of the 1,750 inmates here, most serving 20+ years to life, TV is the great pacifier. TV keeps the staff of any prison safe. For most inmates, the biggest punishment of being put in solitary is no TV. I must be the only person here who does not watch TV (conversely, I am one of the few people who reads books). The Hispanic inmates watch Univision and another Spanish language station available only on cable. ESPN is watched around the clock in every unit. AMC, CMT, History channel, Discovery Channel, BET, are all hugely popular and on all the time. There are nine TV's in each unit, all on different channels, mostly cable, and inmates listen through our radio receiver headphones/earphones. Mess with the TV, and I know some guys’ motivation to behave will greatly diminish.

I'm sure the riot last week at Adams County Federal Prison in Natchez, Mississippi, not far from here, where one guard was killed and five other staff were injured, was over television or some seemingly minor change in the rules or deprivation. That was an immigrant concentration camp like D. Ray James, where I was held before I was transferred here, and where the inmate population is 90% Hispanic. At D. Ray James, each unit had only two televisions, one Spanish, and one English, for 64 inmates. There were usually about 60 Hispanics and four English-speaking inmates in each dorm. You can imagine the tension. Eventually D. Ray James added a third television in each unit. Canadians in US federal prisons are most often sent to these privately run, vastly inferior prisons where there are few amenities, no Corrlinks prison email, and few televisions. That is among the many reasons the Canadian government should never extradite Canadians indicted abroad; most justice systems in the world are crooked, in the United States the sentences are draconian and medievally unjust, and the 'criminal alien' prisons Canadians generally get sent to are dangerous or inferior compared to those that Americans get sent to.

I confess I'm behind in my letter-mail correspondence. I write one long letter every day, taking about 90 minutes, but it doesn't begin to keep up. However, I still read every letter and have them queued to write someone each day.

My incredible wife continues to amaze me and make me so proud of her. She's looked after all our business and politics and activism for over two years now, and now she has been asked to speak at Idea City in Toronto on June 13th, on the first day of the three-day program. Tickets for 600 non-presenters, with swanky receptions after each day is done, are $3,500! This annual intellectual summit is billed as "Canada's Premier Meeting of the Minds" and features 50 presenters from all around the world, including author Pico Iyer, cartoonist Chester Brown (whose work I love, I have three books of his right here in my collection!), musicians Liona Boyd and Jann Arden, Reform Party founder and Conservative icon Preston Manning, robotics engineer Hod Lipson, CEO of X-Prize Foundation Peter Diamandis, neuroscientist David Eagleman, Greenpeace Founder Rex Wyler, art historian Thomas de Wesselow, and many more. See Jodie's profile on the website here.

I spoke at Idea City in 2001 and 2003 (see video of the 2003 speech here), and prior to Jodie's presentation, host and media mogul Moses Znaimer will show a video retrospective drawn from my two speeches. Naturally, I am tremendously proud Jodie has been asked to present, and I do hope she has a great time meeting some of Canada's most brilliant minds.

When Member of Parliament Libby Davies interviewed me for Rabble.ca in 2009, she asked me what good I hoped would come out of my imminent prison experience. I said I hope people will see how Jodie will excel and exceed all expectations, and demonstrate a strength and accomplishment in my absence that will never allow anyone to regard her as a woman who lives in my shadow. I want the world to see my full and equal partner who, on her own for four or more years, will achieve greatness.

And so she is! I'm so proud of Mrs. Jodie Emery!

 

The Importance of Washington’s Legalization Initiative I-502

submitted by on May 21, 2012

My declaration in my previous blog that activists who oppose the legalization initiative on the November ballot in Washington State are acting foolishly and counter to the interests of our movement provoked a reaction, not unexpectedly.

So I am writing about I-502 again.

In a perfect world, devoid of politics and where the rules of conduct in society are determined by principles of liberty and the full autonomy of the individual, the ideal circumstance for us would be where the governments of Mexico, the United States and Canada all strike marijuana and all controlled substances from the Controlled Drugs & Substances schedule.

In that ideal world, there would be, in fact, no regulatory regime of any kind governing what adults (adults being defined as independent, autonomous, self-sufficient entities making their own decisions – that is, not living at home under the largesse and responsibility of parents) can do with their bodies or their mind, limited only by the caveat that their actions be peaceful, honest and consenting.

That, to me, is the long-term goal that I have pursued politically as a libertarian for 33 years: to advocate whatever measures can lead us in the direction of greater liberty and individual autonomy. We live in a world where we have inherited a very imperfect and corrupted democracy, and where politics, not reason or principle, determine the landscape by which we are legally judged for our actions.

I have run for elected office 12 times from 1980 to 2009, not because I believe politics is legitimate (it isn't), but because as a practical matter of self-defense I have to articulate the vision of a proper social system that my fellow citizens can embrace, and, over time, advocate and agitate towards in whatever peaceful way possible that our times allow.

In truth, in my lifetime, politics has not liberated us nearly as much as technology and science. What defeated censorship was instantaneous electronic communication like the internet and smartphones. What defeated 'blue laws', restricting when stores can retail, was 24-hour online shopping. What defeated laws prohibiting explicit sex depictions was VCRs, then DVDs, then the internet. Gambling happens on the internet, largely neutering gambling restriction laws. RU-42 pills make an abortion available bypassing government control. Most government prohibition attempts have a technologically liberating response. That is how the seed revolution I started, to 'Overgrow the Government', succeeded. It made the mass dissemination of cannabis genetics possible using modern mail and the internet.

Politics, and the process of government control of the people, is a corrupt and discredited holdover of the past, and people are extremely cynical about it – young people especially. In Canada and the US we have dysfunctional democracies where a majority of citizens want marijuana legalized, but almost no representation in the Parliament or Congress or White House work to make that happen. The most suitable act to end the prohibitions in all three countries would be to end the scheduling of drugs and let individuals decide what to put in their bodies. This would draw to an immediate close the illegal drug markets, the cartels, gangs, SWAT teams, most police forces, most prisons, the narco-corruption of governments, the tens of thousands of killings, the lucrative profits, the tragic waste of our resources, the criminal records that over 25,000,000 living North Americans have for a drug conviction.

Prices for all these substances in a legalized world would no longer drain us of our personal finances nor our tax payments, and those who want marijuana or other drugs would no longer consort with, join, or subsidize organized gangs; the streets would be safer; there would be more money for medical care, hospitals, doctors, education, and much less taxes needed for prisons, police, militaries, border guards, Homeland Security, the surveillance apparatus, SWAT police, courts, sheriffs. Fewer people would be on welfare, vastly fewer people would have guns and criminal records.

In short, the lives of everyone on the planet would be perceptively improved immediately upon ending prohibition, and would continue to improve as the grim specter of prohibition receded. Once the cancer of prohibition, the greatest policy disaster in the history of humankind, ends, restoration of human dignity, choice, public safety, the credibility and effectiveness of our institutions would transpire. The effect would be revolutionary, making the world of the post-prohibition future unrecognizable to our sadly failed world today.

To repeat: It would be the greatest boon in the history of humankind, for every one of us on planet Earth, to end the prohibition and the pernicious drug war that flows from it.

But because of politics, it does not happen.

Instead, those who care, and are aware (and we are gaining in numbers and influence every day), must participate in this corrupt political arena and seek out directional improvements to the sordid status quo. The most we can accomplish in this system are tiny, incomplete, hardly-satisfying steps that take us only fractionally toward the ultimate ideal of a prohibition-free society. And even that is tough work, and very rarely does it happen.

So I rejoice when, for example, my friend and esteemed lawyer Kirk Tousaw spends months in a Canadian courtroom to have a judge, over a period of years in the making, declare that, "Yes, a Canadian with a medical marijuana exemption card can indeed possess cannabis infused cookies as well as dried marijuana legally." Tiny little victories, and but a tiny bit more freedom for just a few. Not even freedom for many, but a few. A lot of work to achieve, in the big picture, a little bit more liberty. But what other choice does Kirk have? Should we all sit around and wait for a perfect world to exist before we support small steps towards that perfection? Of course not.

We did try, indeed, to have the entire marijuana prohibition struck down in court in 2003. I was largely responsible for funding the 2003 David Malmo-Levine challenge in the Canadian Supreme Court, to strike down marijuana prohibition, but we lost, the Justices voting 6-3 against us. The three francophone (French) judges were with us, and said, clearly, marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional. The six Anglophone (English speaking judges), the bastards, all ruled against us, saying "marijuana consumers have no more a constitutional right to cannabis than cannibals have a constitutional right to practice cannibalism"! (I kid you not, they did indeed write that). We can't get a re-do in the Supreme Court. So we have to chip away at the edges of prohibition.

In British Columbia, 68% of citizens want legalized marijuana. Four former BC Attorneys-General have come out saying legalize marijuana. Eight current BC Mayors say legalize marijuana. Four former Mayors of Vancouver said we should legalize marijuana. The entire 10 members of Vancouver city council recently voted to endorse ending marijuana prohibition. "So what does it take to get 'er done?!" you ask? Secede from Canada and declare British Columbia sovereign? I mean, at what point do politicians, our political representatives, acknowledge this and act on it? And if they fail to act on it, why?

The scourges of prohibition – and there are dozens of toxic byproducts that emerge from drug wars and prohibition – are SO obvious, the only reason politicians, one would conclude, maintain the prohibition is because they are totally with the gangs, cartels, and the other violent, murderous prohibition profiteers. Those who support prohibition are fully aware of the tragic consequences of this insidious policy, and yet, they fully endorse it. They prop up the gangsters and the control/prison/punishment complex despite the brutal harm caused to billions of people on earth.

Is there any greater definition of evil?

The need for systemic revolution is great. And yet, all we can do is chip away at this grotesque injustice by tinkering at the local level, the state and provincial level, by writing our Congresspeople and Parliamentarians (admittedly in a largely futile expense of effort), by educating, by going to rallies, and, if motivated suitably, by voting. It’s essential to participate in this horrible, inefficient, disappointing, corrupt, unsatisfying, frustrating democratic process. Simply because we must. To disengage from the political process is not an option, because it surrenders the system to the exploiters and demagogues who by and large have far too much influence now.

In British Columbia we have a 'Sensible BC' campaign coming up, where 350,000 signatures must be gathered in a period of 90 days to put on the September 2014 ballot, in a special referendum, an initiative stating no taxpayer money will be spent in BC on the arrest, jailing, prosecution, investigation of any person involving the possession of marijuana. (Currently 3,583 people in BC every year are charged with marijuana possession – that’s ten every day in a province of 4.4 million people, the highest possession arrest rate in any province in Canada.)

It's an enormous, almost impossible threshold of signatures to gather in 90 days. A staggering amount of people will need to gather signatures in such a short time for what is surely a very modest proposal. Paid signature gathering is not permitted under the legislation governing referendums. There is no federal referendum process in Canada where we can challenge the federal law that perpetuates the nationwide prohibition; this is true also for the US federal government.

The wording of a state initiative is a very tricky thing. It must be worded so that the legislation sought is constitutional under state law. It must be politically weighted to attract at least 50% of the voters who vote on that day. It must appeal to a broad cross-section of voters, those directly affected, and those indirectly affected. It must have adequate safeguards to quell the vitriol of opponents who may be expected to oppose the initiative. For a principled person to support the initiative, it must extend liberty to the people in a greater degree than currently exists.

Washington State's legalization initiative I-502, by New Approach Washington, provides that hundreds of retail outlets currently selling alcohol in the state will be legally authorized to sell legal cannabis in quantities up to one ounce at a time per adult 21 years of age or over. Those adults, 21 to 100 years of age (and older), can possess and transport it. Producers of the cannabis provided to these hundreds of outlets will be from Washington State licensed growers. There will be taxes added on top of the retail price.

Most people in the cannabis community would find these provisions a positive step forward, and many in the non-toking community will too. Important questions do remain, such as, will the retail price be low enough to discourage people from growing and selling their own? Will the price be low enough to discourage black market dealing? How will producer licenses be issued?

The most controversial aspect of this proposed legalization legislation is the proposed statute that says driving a vehicle with over 5 nanograms of active THC in the system is a DUI offense. Police would require one of the three elements of probable cause to take a blood sample: 1) cannabis smoke, 2) impaired or dangerous driving, or 3) being involved in an auto accident. For an explanation of what the DUI provisions mean, see the I-502 DUI fact sheet here: http://www.newapproachwa.org/content/faq

In Michigan, the Court of Appeal there on April 17, 2012 ruled that the state had a 'zero tolerance' for any THC in the system of any driver called on to provide a blood sample, in the case of an accident investigation that prompted the appearance before the court. The defendant in the case had a Michigan medical marijuana card and the court ruled that nonetheless it was considered impairment to have any active THC in his system.

In British Columbia, police can take a blood sample at any time they consider a driver impaired; probable cause includes dangerous driving, being involved in a car accident, and the smell of burned marijuana in the vehicle. Now, despite the law permitting this, blood samples are rarely taken – and mostly at accident scenes, if ever. DUI punishments are severe in British Columbia for a first offense, resulting in loss of drivers license for three months, impounding of vehicle for one month, counseling for a year, and a breathalyzer-tester-for-ignition device installed at the expense of the driver once his vehicle is out of impound. The expenses involved in the first DUI add up to around $4,000!

So the 5 nanograms/per milliliter threshold in I-502 is broadminded by comparison, and provides a window of driving opportunity for anyone who hasn't smoked in six hours. Bear in mind that the law, right now, does not allow anyone to drive while smoking cannabis. So this DUI provision is no worse than what already exists, and in fact, the rest of I-502 is tremendously better than what already exists in law.

It's possible or likely any legalization initiative that passes would be subject to being pre-empted by the Washington DC federal government. But that does not mean we should refuse to support an imperfect law. Opponents of I-502 say the federal government won't allow I-502 to happen and that's reason to not support it, but that is no different than saying that any legalization initiative is not worth supporting because the federal government won't allow it to happen. Do they think that a 'better', less restrictive initiative wouldn't be pre-empted by the federal government? Of course not. That pre-emption argument is a very poor reason to oppose I-502.

In November, the only initiatives that provide this huge leap forward are Washington state and Colorado, with Oregon very close to also getting a legalization initiative on the ballot. These initiatives, if passed, put huge pressure on the federal government – and there is, ultimately, no other alternative. These initiatives force a confrontation between the lawful process of the state initiatives and the intransigence of the federal government.

I-502 provides for a retail infrastructure that would be more accessible that any other system in the world. Even in Amsterdam, you can legally buy no more than 5 grams of cannabis at a time; I-502 would allow an ounce at a time to be purchased. (And beginning next year, Netherlands law forbids the sale to foreigners, though this is expected to be flouted. But in law, foreigners will have no legal protection. In fact, it still isn't legal in the Netherlands to possess marijuana; it's merely tolerated.)

Under I-502, it's not considered a violation of state or local law to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and the state will be the agency of distribution in hundreds of outlets throughout the state. You'll be able to legally buy marijuana, legally transport the weed home, and legally possess and consume it. That is incredible, and there is no other place on earth that has legislation like that in place.

Because it will be a legal substance, it can be smoked without stigma, and the threat of dismissal from work if you are known to have smoked marijuana (Facebook photos, staff parties, etc.) evaporates. Because it would be legal, state prisoners would no longer be considered to be violating their parole, probation or bail conditions if in possession or testing positive for THC (for federal prisoners, it may still be a violation). Because it would be legal under state law, cannabis use couldn't be used against a mother or father in a custody dispute.

All production to service the hundreds of I-502 legal outlets would be legalized and licensed, the price over a short time would drop, and the varieties over time would be widened and varied. Newspapers would be reviewing all the different legal strains of cannabis on sale, just as wines or beers are reviewed.

Because legalization at the state level will remove the stigma, we can foresee that university students, who tend to dangerously binge on alcohol, will use more cannabis, since whenever they buy alcohol, the cannabis will be available at that location too. No more loss of student financial aid because of a cannabis conviction.

There are about 10,000 arrests in Washington State annually for possession; this will end. For minorities, mothers, college and university students, those who use public transit, those who don't own a car, the benefits are huge. Even though the law provides legality to those age 21 and up, those 16 to 20 years of age will know that within a very short time, they too will be afforded legal protection for the rest of their life.

I've heard it said that I-502 does not deserve support because no protection is offered to those 16 to 20, but as we all know, this is the same as the law is now; if I-502 passes, it doesn't get worse for those under 21, and because marijuana will be so much wider in its distribution, the reality is that it will be far more accessible for those 18-20 of age after I-502 is in effect. Is it right to allow adults and seniors to continue facing arrest and persecution for possession, just because kids and teens up to 21 years of age won't be able to legally buy marijuana? Of course not.

I-502 would normalize the use, consumption, production and possession of marijuana, and this effect would be contagious to voters and legislators in other states. It would also provide a huge tax revenue bounty for the Washington State and Colorado governments, and this will attract the attention of other state jurisdictions, and ultimately, lawmakers in Washington, DC.

SO WHY DO PEOPLE OPPOSE IT? WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

Most of our people in the cannabis culture who smoke, grow, or sell the herb don't vote. The vast majority will never give money to political reform of any kind, most won't gather signatures (unless they are paid) and will never write their congressperson or even a letter to the newspaper to condemn prohibition.

Despite Presidential candidate Ron Paul wanting to end the entire federal drug war (and having advocating this for 30+ years) and having been passionate about complete legalization even on his speaking trips to Washington State, saying in Seattle, "Why can't we put into our bodies whatever we want?", almost every Washington state legalization activist refused to vote for Ron Paul in the Washington primaries, with many preferring to support the arch-enemy of the pot people, Barack Obama, who has continued and increased the drug war and other unjust and worrisome laws and policies such as spying, torture, war, and more.

For the most part, our people are politically useless, unwilling and unable to organize, distracted by petty acrimony, and won't actively support candidates or initiatives that will further the legalization of cannabis. For all the 250,000 stoners/pot people who come to Seattle Hempfest each August, the organizers can't even get this mass to contribute pennies per person in donations, so pathetic is the sense of political responsibility among our people. Even a tremendous event like Hempfest suffers deficits because our people can't collectively volunteer to give even ten cents per attendee to pay for its costs. Sad, sad, sad.

So we are left depending on straight people, who have a very casual affiliation at best with our culture – they might know someone who is a medical user, or smokes pot, or they smoked themselves in college – but who believe certain aspects of the drug war are wrong and counter-productive. (Still, we have many to convince; women with children and people over 65 are the toughest demographic to win over to the legalization argument, although the over-65 crowd is getting more on board gradually.)

It is not always obvious who is supporting prohibition and who is opposing it. California's Proposition 19 campaign in 2010 to pass the greatest legalization initiative ever offered to voters in history failed because the prohibition profiteers, including those allegedly in our own culture, worked so hard to defeat it. They feared losing their control and profits in the industry, and decided to maintain prohibition instead of supporting legalization.

Sadly, enough California prohibition profiteers and betrayers undermined the greatest opportunity in a generation to legalize production, possession and use of marijuana for all citizens in 2010 with Proposition 19. There will not be another Richard Lee, and there isn't another Richard Lee – the DEA and Obama have taken care of that, shutting him down, stopping him from ever financing another legalization proposition in that state. And that's a tragedy that every day Californians ought to regret. I never heard then, and I have never heard since, any rational argument offered to oppose Proposition 19. It was greed, self-interest, and paranoia offered as so-called explanations for opposing it.

When Steve Kubby put forward the 'Regulate Marijuana Like Wine' proposed initiative this year, I knew it would fail because, despite the California marijuana industry going through several billions of dollars each year, 99.9% of those earning that money don't give a damn about legalization, and never have. Proposition 215 has created a prohibition-profiteering monster than now feeds on its own success, the legal right to produce cannabis without fear of arrest while selling the product at hugely inflated prohibition profits, well beyond what a legal market could justify. Richard Lee was a saint for all of California, and he is forcibly retired now. Shame on you, Californians, for your dereliction of justice and duty to the movement!

The California situation was right out of the classic British Ealing Studios class-war film with its eponymous title and climactic greatest scene, where the one sane person in the film castigates everyone from unions to capital to government over the 'British disease', calling them out for saying "I've got mine, and screw you, mate, I'm All Right, Jack!"

Sensible Washington, the tenuous coalition of activists who made a decent effort to get a 'grass-roots' initiative on the ballot in 2010, suffered because, like California, our people won't cough up any money. Seems activists are broke and have no connections to cash. From that 'nice try' in 2010 where signature gathering fell 100,000 signatures short, it was a very depressing bad try in 2011, to a 'no try' for 2012. But most disappointingly, their response is to work hard to defeat the perhaps-not-perfect-but-still-better-than-even-Amsterdam legalization initiative I-502!

I-502 is outstanding legislation at this particular point in the cannabis liberation movement's political history. The nay-sayers may fume and deride it, but it is much sound and fury signifying nothing. I-502 is supported by many politicians and officials – the very same people we’ve all been working for so many years to bring on board to legalize cannabis. Suddenly, after they join our cause and put a legalization initiative on the ballot to allow adults to legally buy and use marijuana, they are viewed with suspicion, and even protested against!

Should I-502 fail to pass in November, we'll know who to blame, and who can be held responsible. The so-called grassroots could not manage to get their own initiative on the ballot, and in their frustration, they may choose to sabotage the best opportunity Washington State has had in the long history of prohibition to do what is possible – under the political reality of the day – to legalize marijuana.

You, my friend, should do what you can to make history, and have Washington State be the first (or amongst the first) state to legalize marijuana in the United States. So get out and vote YES on I-502 on the first Tuesday this November!

www.NewApproachWA.org

 

Marc’s US Prosecutor Pushes for Legalization; Exclusive Newspaper Articles about Marc & Prison Life

submitted by on April 29, 2012

Today is Wednesday, April 25. I have 805 days to go to my release. Ten days from now, on Saturday, May 5 – on the day of the Global Marijuana March, and on the occasion of my great friends Chris Goodwin and Erin Gorman's wedding in Toronto after the march – I'll have put in 795 days in prisons serving out this 1,825 day sentence.

Marc's prison band "Yazoo"(Photo: Marc's prison band "Yazoo") With my 235 days good time credit, I'll have 1,030 days behind me, and 795 days to go. On that day, I'll be at the exact halfway point of the experience, with as much time remaining as I have put in.

So the 66 days in Canada I spent waiting to be extradited, the 5 1/2 months I spent at Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center in Washington state, the 4 weeks at Oklahoma Transfer Hub, 3 weeks at Nevada Southern Detention Center, 4 1/2 months at the immigrant concentration camp D Ray James, and 12 1/2 months at Yazoo Medium, in all, 795 days; I just have to do it one more time! And then I'm home.

When I write it like that, it seems like a long time I've been gone, and a long time to go. But then I think of the more than 12 months so far here at Yazoo and it’s gone by very quickly. My daily work out on the bass guitar and being in my band Yazoo has aided the passage of time immensely.

You can see a photo of me and my bandmates in a 2-page newspaper spread by columnist Jon Ferry in this upcoming Sunday's “The Province” newspaper in British Columbia. (A one-page article appeared on Friday April 27 in the same paper, seen here.) Jon visited me here last weekend in order to write this exclusive story. The two-page feature will discuss my political opinions, the continuing fight against prohibition, and life here at Yazoo, with several photos. I did take some photos with Jon Ferry that are kind of fun but they will not be back in my hands for a week, so they do not appear in the Sunday edition.

[Update: see images and links to the Sunday edition of The Province newspaper's cover story and 2-page feature at the bottom of this page!]

Jon Ferry told me he thinks I look so healthy, youthful and relaxed because I am "drug free"! I explained that on the outside, I had the stress of imminent extradition weighing on me, legal bills, money problems, closing the print version of Cannabis Culture magazine, sleep problems from all that accumulated tension. So, here I am fit, I eat modestly, and try to eat only the good foods I can get, drink only water, read and write extensively, no watching TV, play music and work with my band every day.

Right now on the bass guitar I am getting down Back in Black by AC/DC, Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, and Jumpin Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones. The air here is terrific and smells nice, every day is sunny and warm, when it rains it tends to do so at night, the water out of the taps is very good, I sleep like clockwork from 11:30pm to 7:30am, and I walk 3 miles around the track daily. Our next concert, my 6th here at Yazoo, is on May 26, on the Memorial Day weekend.

Part 1 of the Province newspaper feature(Photo: Part 1 of the Province newspaper feature) I have been on the TV here this week as Discovery Channel aired the National Geographic episode "Marijuana Nation" again, of which I am in a fair bit of that episode. The documentary "A NORML Life" was also seen by of the C.O.'s (correctional officers). I have had 8 letters published in newspapers in Canada signed "Marc Emery, Yazoo City Medium Federal Prison, Mississippi" since I have been here at Yazoo, and the most recent two letters, published in the last two weeks in the Globe & Mail and National Post newspapers (the two cross-Canada newspaper publications), have been read aloud on the National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). MPB must think its interesting a Canadian in Mississippi gets letters about the drug war published from his Mississippi jail cell.

The 4/20 celebrations in Vancouver and Toronto saw record numbers of people in attendance, and good weather to make it all pleasant. My friend in Adelaide, Australia, Rhiannon Lynch, put on a 4/20 in her hometown too. It’s so cool that an event that’s now a worldwide phenomenon started with my store staff in April 1995 (read about the history in this Huffington Post article I wrote, "The Origins of 4/20 as a Day of Celebration and Protest"), and eighteen 4/20's later I can confidently say is witnessed by millions of people around the world who meet that day for political and herbal inspiration and fellowship. It doesn't get any better than that!

In my original hometown of London, Ontario, the police announced in advance they would disrupt any 4/20 celebrations, the only Canadian police force that did so, and 250 people responded to the police disruption of the 4/20 at Victoria Park by marching to a major intersection and chanting 'Fuck The Police' for an hour. Absolutely right, London. The London, Ontario police dept. is still in good need of an enema, twenty years after I left there.

My fabulous wife, Jodie, had what I would call a career week last week. She appeared alongside my prosecutor, former District Attorney for Western Washington state, John McKay, as well as former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant, at a joint press conference in Vancouver hosted by the amazing new pro-legalization organization Stop The Violence BC.

McKay articulately denounced the drug war and marijuana prohibition, and Jodie was extensively interviewed across Canada for days; headlines appeared in all media across the country, such as "Prosecutor of Prince of Pot Marc Emery wants to legalize marijuana". You can see news coverage here, and video of the press conference here, as well as a Canadian Press video here.

My wife's major week of accomplishment continued. On Thursday, April 19, the day after the McKay press conference, Jodie had her first Op-Ed (opinion editorial) piece published in the nationwide National Post newspaper, titled "Victims of the Drug War". There was a critic of Jodie's Op-Ed the next day, columnist and editor Matt Gurney, writing in the same National Post "A Grass Bed of his Own Making", and then I had a letter rebutting him on the day after that, Saturday, April 21, titled "Immoral Pot Prohibition Laws".

Jodie was also profiled in an article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on Saturday, written by "Bud Inc." author and columnist Ian Mulgrew, called "Jodie Emery Rises to the Occasion" (click image on the right, below, to read it). I was so pleased with this feature on her, published in between the two Province articles about me. Team Emery was on it like white on rice! (Or like ink on paper?)

Vancouver Sun news column on Jodie(Photo: Vancouver Sun news column on Jodie) The great news continues. My former prosecutor John McKay, not content with just being a lecturer on the evils of the drug war, is also co-sponsor of an excellent legalization initiative on the Washington State ballot this November. Apology accepted, Mr. McKay! What’s really disturbing though, is the number of the 'grassroots' activists in Washington state who are absurdly opposing the I-502 legalization bill because of a clause that allows police to issue DUI's if a very high level of THC is in the bloodstream while driving. Otherwise, adults can possess, transport, and buy at licensed outlets a huge range of cannabis buds – all legally, without fear of arrest or prosecution. That's incredible!

Currently 10,000 people in Washington State get arrested for pot possession each year. That would end under this legislation. How ironic that I currently have far more respect for my former prosecutor and his proposed legislation than I have for those activists who would foolishly and dangerously oppose this great step forward over trivialities, much the same way as done by many so-called members of the movement who killed Prop. 19 in California in 2010. Much of the Washington state opposition to I-502 is rooted in adversarial jealousy, because after three attempts, some activists just can't get an initiative of their own on the ballot, so resent McKay, the ACLU and their backers who did manage to get I-502 on the ballot. Sometimes the famous quip Pogo Possum said in the eponymous cartoon is correct: "We have met the enemy, and it us."

I implore all Washington State activists and concerned citizens to support I-502. Read the very important editorial in the NY Times by Seattle activist Dominic Holden called "Smokeless in Seattle" and NORML's Russ Belville's blog on why supporting I-502 with your vote this November is essential. I think Russ Belville is the best commentator out there regarding our movement, and all his writings are very, very good.

To show you the kind of momentum the campaign to end prohibition has, an all-political-party panel called "Speaking Truth from Within Power: Passion, Politics, and Drug Policy in Canada" takes place in Vancouver on the evening of May 4th, the day before the Global Marijuana March. From Canada's Parliament, Conservative Senator and chairman of the 2002 Special Committee on Cannabis, Pierre Claude Nolin, will speak along with Liberal Senator and former Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, and NDP Member of Parliament and deputy leader Libby Davies about their attempts to get modernized drug law legislation passed or promoted. All three favor various legalization models. They will be joined by provincial BC NDP legislator Nicholas Simons. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, please consider attending.

Our movement is gaining momentum where it’s needed most – beyond the activist grassroots. While I count down the days in prison for my “crime” of selling seeds to finance major activism efforts and campaigns with millions of dollars from 1994-2005, it’s comforting to know that my work continues not only in the grassroots cannabis community, but also in the political and mainstream sphere where real change has to happen. When I get home in just over two years, there might not be anyone left to convince about legalization! Keep the pressure on, fellow activists and friends.


Update:

The Sunday edition of the Province newspaper had Marc on the cover, and two pages inside. Read the articles here, and click the images to enlarge:

Marc Emery claims victory in drug war

Marc Emery's suggestions from prison to better B.C.

Marc Emery calls B.C.'s leaders 'uninspiring'

The Province cover, Sunday April 29, 2012

The Province cover, Sunday April 29, 2012

Province feature, page 1

Province feature, page 1

Province feature, page 2

Province feature, page 2

Marc Emery Prison Blog, Monday April 2nd

submitted by on April 5, 2012

It's Monday, April 2nd, 828 days to go to my release date of July 9, 2014. Although I get 'released' from prison on that date, because I am Canadian I have a 'detainer' on me, so what happens is US Immigration picks me up from the prison and takes me to an immigration detention center, puts me before a judge where I confirm I want to be deported back to Canada, and then I'll wait in an immigration jail until they put me on a plane to Vancouver with some US Marshall escorting me.

That apparently takes a few weeks, so I'm hoping to be home with Jodie in time for our 8th wedding anniversary on July 23, 2014.

This Saturday I have my 5th concert outside in the recreation area with the excellent amplified equipment they have here for concerts. This is the Easter Weekend concert, and our band YAZOO will be playing in this order:

1) Don's Jam (a warm-up improv piece)
2) Come Together (Beatles)
3) White Room (Cream)
4) Hey Joe (Hendrix)
5) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
6) Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix)
7) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
8) Crazy Train (Ozzy Osborne)
9) Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
10) Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
11) Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker)
12) Red House (Hendrix)
13) Purple Haze (Hendrix)
14) Blue on Black (Kenny Wayne Shepherd)
15) Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
16) Hotel California (Eagles)
17) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

I've been practicing every day for a few hours and tonight we have our final studio rehearsal where we run through all 17 of our songs and see where we might have a few things to work out this week in the days leading up to the concert. I feel we know the material pretty well now, my big hope is for good weather. If it rains, we can't have all this electrical equipment outside and the concert would be postponed.

Yesterday we took photos of the band members Don, Terry, Sapp, Chap, and myself, which you will see on my Facebook page in about 3 weeks or so after Jodie gets them in the mail. We aren't permitted to have our instruments in the photo, so we'll be having an artist here make a band poster using our photographs as reference and then drawing us in the studio playing our music. From there I'll use that to make posters for our upcoming concerts here. I'm sure you will see this YAZOO band poster on Facebook and www.FreeMarc.ca when it's completed.

April 20th is coming up in a few weeks, and I'm not shy about saying that this now-colossal worldwide Cannabis Celebration event was started by my HEMP BC staff in April of 1995, and on that April 20 in Victory Square (at Cambie & Hastings street), it was a beautiful sunny day with music, speeches, toking and good times. The original idea to have April 20 change from just a time of the day (4:20pm) to a whole day (4/20, April 20) was inspired by two Grateful Deadheads who worked for me, Danna Rozek and Cindy Lassu. In 1997 we moved the rally to the Vancouver Art Gallery, where about 1,000 people came and toked from about 1pm to 6pm.

In those years from 1997 to 2008, the master of ceremonies and co-ordinator was activist and 'dealer dignity' advocate David Malmo-Levine. It grew from attendance of 1,000 to 10,000 in that decade, and by 2005 the event had evolved to become a farmer's market of cannabis consumables along with a day-long smoke-out, peaking at 4:20pm with a massive collective cannabis plume floating above the Art Gallery square bounded on all sides by Georgia, Howe, Robson and Hornby streets. There is nothing else like it in the world, not even Amsterdam or any other cannabis mecca has a day-long smoke-out in the major downtown public square combined with a fantastic assortment of cannabis ingestibles, smokeables and consumables for sale.

This year even the school board has closed the high schools for Friday, April 20th, accepting the inevitable 4/20 absences and making it official. This means even more young people than usual will be toking all day, and hopefully not drinking alcohol, as problems each year arise from alcohol excess. Police are polite and stay on the periphery to guide traffic, and there are never any major problems. I encourage you to spend money and patronize the vending booths and pavilions by the main sponsors "Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture Headquarters" (or CCHQ), Vancouver Seed Bank, The Dispensary, and EndProhibition.

Marking his 18th April 20 involvement in Vancouver, having been involved in every Vancouver 4/20 ever, former Cannabis Culture editor (1995-2005), Dispensary entrepreneur, author (Hairy Pothead & The Marijuana Stone), former BC NDP leadership candidate and my best friend Dana Larsen is organizing this year's huge event with Jacob Hunter of WhyProhibition.ca co-ordinating the day's logistics and Adam Bowen (host of the BCMP Vapour Lounge Jam Night) arranging the incredible musical line-up and staging of the presentations that go on from noon to the early evening. You can see videos and photos of Vancouver's 4/20 from previous years at the new website www.420Vancouver.com to whet your appetite for the greatest outdoor pot party on earth this year!

As a point of clarification, Seattle definitely has a huge 3-day rally in August, that possibly sees 250,000 people attend at Myrtle Edwards Park, and there is no peer on Earth to that event, but it's not an open-air farmer's market with cannabis products sold openly and without police interference and consumed openly for 10 hours on end. But why not attend both and see for yourself? They both represent the height of achievement within the movement. Seattle is an all-volunteer event that has incredible political credibility with Congressmen, the Mayor of Seattle, State representatives and other big names speaking. The sheer scale is awe-inspiring. Vancouver's 4/20 has attracted Members of Parliament Libby Davies to speak at last year's event, but it is largely a massive party and celebration of the cannabis culture.

On April 20, while the party goes on, the Vancouver Province newspaper will be sending columnist Jon Ferry down to Yazoo Medium to interview me that weekend. The weather here in Mississippi is warm and sunny every day, quite a contrast to my hometown of Vancouver, where most days are described to me as cool, overcast or rainy. I'm certainly grateful for the very sunny, warm days, the constant breezes, the excellent air that I breathe when I'm outside here. It's a large component in why I feel so healthy here.

I've been reading some wonderful graphic novels, comic books, my many magazine subscriptions, the NY Times newspaper (I do the crossword each day too), some excellent books, and I remain a major source of reading items loaned to many inmates here. Our MP3 players have yet to be put on sale, and although these delays (the MP3 player has been 'coming soon' since I arrived here a year ago) are suspenseful, it has not hindered my musical progress. The current scuttlebutt is that they go on sale in the first week of May.

This last weekend I had a visit from my great friend and Rhode Island activist Catharine Leach. This is the second time Cat has come to visit me, and both times she has had numerous challenges! The first time she visited last October, the electrical system on her plane here failed mid-air and she thought she was going to die until they made a successful return to the airport. This time, she encountered numerous annoyances like banks that wouldn't change a $50 bill into quarters and small bills, the guards here held her for inspection of her rental car, and they refused her admission because her shoes had no backs on them (a rule for visiting), so she had to go into town and buy an $18 pair of shoes with backs on them (that put dents in her feet, as she showed me) to get in to visit me. Then her plane leaving Jackson required maintenance and she was held overnight in Atlanta because she then missed her connecting flight. Plus she came down with a cold and missed her husband and children. It's possible that's the last time Catharine is going to visit me, but I really enjoyed seeing a friend and laughing a great deal over the weekend. I always cherish seeing Jodie visit me every two to four weeks, but seeing a friend in the two years I've been inside US prisons is very rare.

April 12th is my 8th anniversary of Jodie and I becoming involved with each other. In our entire time together, Jodie has had to live with the tension of having me go to jail or being in jail. When I get out in July 2014, I'll be so excited to be with her without the imminent threat of jail time awaiting me. The week we became very close I was in court for passing one joint in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with saw me ultimately get sentenced to three months in jail later that summer. After that stint at Saskatoon Correction from August to October 2004, I was arrested the following year for extradition to the USA, and here I am.

So I'm excited that finally Jodie and I, in July 2014 – by then more than 10 years after we became an item – will be able to have some peace and serenity in our relationship without the threat of prison hovering about our heads. I LOVE MY BRAVE AND AMAZING MRS. JODIE EMERY! It will be so wonderful to finally be home. 828 days to go. (See the daily countdown clock at www.FreeMarc.ca)

 

What’s with these Conservatives and Republicans?

submitted by on March 9, 2012

I've really enjoyed the continuing revelations about Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ marital and ministerial infidelities, the most recent being the disclosure by the group Anonymous that alleges Toews made a paramour of his, Catherine Everett, a member of the Manitoba judge's bench.

Vic Toews, Public Safety Minister(Photo: Vic Toews, Public Safety Minister)

This is alleged to have happened around 2005-2006, and apparently Prime Minister Harper got wind of it, removed Toews as Justice Minister and appointed him President of the Treasury Board in January 2007.

Shortly after this, Toews, undaunted, was boinking his children's babysitter and got her pregnant, and in all this, Toews was also having an affair with Stacey Meek, a Conservative Party staffer… and my God, can it get any more sordid? This is the man once dubbed the "Minister of Family Values." He's also the man who would approve any transfer of me from the US prison system back to the Canadian system when I put my transfer application in April 2013.

Public Safety Minister Toews’ current legislative proposal is to give draconian powers of warrantless searches of citizens’ online and phone communications to police, ostensibly (but unconvincingly) for the purpose of tracking online child predators. Who needs internet child pornographers to blame when the Minister of Public Safety is preying on young girls?

You'd think this would cause some embarrassment in Toews' Manitoba riding of Provencher, although not enough to vote him out in elections 2008 or 2011, despite the lurid paper trail left behind in the wake of his public divorce in 2009. Toews’ vote totals increase in each election; in 2011 he got 70% of the votes cast.

Letters in the National Post newspaper by Marc and Vic Toews(Image: Letters in the National Post newspaper by Marc and Vic Toews; click to enlarge)

Toews is a completely incompetent cement-head as a minister. I had the great delight of having my letter published in the National Post newspaper regarding warrantless police snooping (the Toews-proposed Internet Snoop Bill) with Toews’ letter published underneath mine claiming there was no such provision allowing police to go on fishing expeditions or vendettas. Then, a few days later, Toews admitted he hadn't read HIS OWN LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL and was shocked! shocked! he said, to find that indeed the bill did allow unlimited warrantless snooping of Canadians and their email and web use.

Religious Conservative voters in both America and Canada have a big heart when it comes for forgiving the sordid hypocrisy of their own, while condemning anyone else who operates their lifestyle openly, whether it’s sexuality, drug use, abortion or mistresses.

Every day Rick Santorum, Presidential Republican candidate, issues some screed against contraception ("Contraception is wrong because it encourages people to have sex for the wrong reason" was the most outrageous remark, I thought), college education being elitist snobbery (though Santorum himself has two university degrees), fellow Catholic John F. Kennedy's wonderful remark on the separation of church and high office (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAvHHTt2czU) making Santorum 'want to puke', as he said.

Santorum must have a lot of forgiveness in his heart for his wife, as her most intimate and important relationship before Rick was a six-year long love affair with a full-time abortionist doctor. Karen Santorum, who, like her husband, now opposes abortion even in cases of rape, and doesn't condone birth control (as they believe sex is only for procreation), lived with Dr. Thomas Allen for six years in the 1980's while his chief medical practice was performing abortions. In those days, Karen Garver had liberal views on unmarried sex, birth control and abortion.

Santorum's biggest backer in the media is Conservative radio talk show bigmouth Rush Limbaugh. After a woman named Susan Fluke testified on Capitol Hill about the consequences to some of her colleagues lacking birth control coverage in their health insurance, Rush went totally off the deep-end and said these statements regarding what was a very poised and reasoned explanation by Fluke before the Congressional committee on television, which I saw:

"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke who goes before a Congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex -what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

Not content with that deplorable screed, the next day I heard Rush say this on his show:

Rush Limbaugh vs Sarah Fluke(Photo: Rush Limbaugh vs Sarah Fluke)

"A Georgetown co-ed told Nancy Pelosi's hearing the women in her law school program are having so much sex they're going broke, so you and I should have to pay for their birth control. So what would you call that? I called it what it is. So I'm offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

Note that along with calling her a slut, Rush insists she video tape her sexual activities and put them online for Rush and his fellow ditto heads to enjoy.

I listen to these depraved and wretched right wing talk shows every day and often gasp at their unrestrained bilious rants. Laura Ingram, Rush Limbaugh, and several religious-based talk shows (like Focal Point on the FRN radio network) are the worst. Dennis Miller, who was once clever and bitingly funny when he was a liberal on Saturday Night Live, is a pathetic shadow of his former self, shilling on the Dennis Miller Show for a whole range of intolerant malicious bigots.

But no one tops Rush. In endlessly circular arguments with himself, he is deplorable. Finally, this man – who for years used his maid as a drug mule to go out and illegally buy huge quantities of prescription drugs for him while he was berating illegal drug users on his show and urging they be sent to jail – is finally suffering from his excess of bile. Advertisers are withdrawing from his program. But when Wolf Blitzer asked Rick Santorum to condemn Limbaugh, Santorum could not do it, saying "Mr. Limbaugh is an entertainer… er, uh, ahem… we're in two different worlds…" and it was a long squirmy sweaty performance by Santorum while Blitzer had a very serious condemning look. Santorum gets the support of all the most vituperative of the right wing on radio, including Limbaugh and Laura Ingram, and he will not deny them, as they are his principle cheerleaders in his quest for President.

I thought Santorum had sweatily sabotaged his own Presidential aspirations right there on the screen by refusing to condemn Limbaugh's appalling attack on the woman – but I was wrong. As Santorum's primary wins in Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, and strong showings elsewhere on Super Tuesday showed, Americans embrace this guy.

Entertainer and commentator Bill Maher, despite my disappointment in his giving $1 million to the pro-Obama PAC instead of the Ron Paul PAC, has a point: America is full of religious fundamentalist intolerant bigoted hypocrites, and they go vote. What never ceases to amaze me are the depraved sick values of those American voters, especially ones who call themselves Tea Party voters, whom I once thought I agreed with, and the self-righteous religious people called 'evangelicals', 'born-again' or 'values voters.'

The choices for US President. Who's best?(Image: The choices for US President. Who's best?)

Ron Paul virtually founded the original (and respectable) Tea Party, and has been married for 53 years to the same woman, is a proper Christian, is the most incredibly decent, consistent, respectful man ever offered up as Presidential candidate, and he opposes (as he has always opposed) all the wars, opposed the war on drugs, opposes the surveillance state, opposes any invasion of privacy, would pardon all non-violent drug offenders in federal prison, pardon all those with federal drug convictions on their record, abolish the DEA and the office of the drug Czar, end the federal reserve, slash spending, and much more to restore the United States and save the lives of people worldwide.

Lobbyists don't even both talking to Ron Paul. If it’s not specifically authorized in the Constitution, he's against the federal government doing it, so he can’t be corrupted or bought out. Ron supports Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, internet privacy and freedom. Ron Paul is the most faithful and dignified defender of the proper interpretation of the US Constitution ever put before voters. But do these self-identified Tea Party types, these Christian evangelicals, support him in the Republican primaries? They do not. They support overwhelmingly Rick Santorum and – get this – Newt Gingrich.

Now, I hate Newt because he once said he'd approve of the death penalty for anyone caught dealing in even a few ounces of pot. Although Newt has since retreated on his positions from the 90's Congress he led as Republican Speaker of the House, regarding severe sentencing with incarceration as a successful way to deal with prohibition and crime, when asked during his Presidential campaign in late 2011 about medical marijuana, Newt said he would maintain a strict prohibition at the federal level and use federal resources to attack it absolutely at the state level. Newt's explanation was that the message that 'marijuana was harmful to American society' was more important than disrupting the lives of those who genuinely needed it for medical reasons. Yes, he actually said that.

Newt's current wife Callista was having an affair with him for six years while Newt was married to his second wife. When Newt came 'clean' and told wife #2, it wasn't to apologize or confess or renounce his affair; it was to ask his wife if she would share Newt in a more public way with Callista. Then when that didn't fly, Newt decided a divorce was not going to be helpful to his political career, so the affair just continued until wife #2 got multiple sclerosis and was, at least to Newt, of no use whatsoever, then it was over.

Newt was doing this all while railing on television, in Congress, and in the press about Bill Clinton's occasional and infrequent extra-marital blowjobs. Newt met wife #2 and had an affair with her while still married to wife #1. Now, let me just say that what distinguishes me (or you) and the idea of 'private sphere' or 'nobody's business' is that I've never advocated or endorsed putting anyone in jail or compromising their liberty or lifestyle based on sexuality, drug use, internet pictures downloaded, guns owned, abortions had, contraceptives used (or not), money decisions, or even freaky religious beliefs. I'm against all prohibitions on peaceful choices. The only people I demonize are hypocritical politicians, and perhaps in a lesser way, their enablers in the media and the voters who wrongly support and keep them in office even after they’ve been revealed as hypocrites.

Since leaving office, both Santorum and Gingrich have taken millions from powerful vested interests to lobby Congress. Both were completely corrupted insiders while in Congress, but nonetheless the Republican's who identify themselves as 'Tea Partiers', 'values voters' or 'strong conservatives' support Gingrich or Santorum in the main. Santorum and Gingrich would take America to war against Iran, and both want to maintain a vigorous and aggressive military policy. This is red meat with the so-called devotees of the 'Prince of Peace' Jesus. Mitt Romney tries to emulate these two in out-machoing them, and is also bellicose for war and intervention.

These 'values voters' don't seem to support Ron Paul, who has not said a single embarrassing or unkind remark during the whole Republican primary campaign. Ron Paul called out Rush Limbaugh for his grotesque remarks against Susan Fluke, referring to Rush's words as 'crude, 'inappropriate' and 'wrong'. Not surprisingly, a shrill right wing harpy like Laura Ingram disdains Ron Paul and shows great love for Rick and Newt. Limbaugh, Brian Kilned ('Kilned & Friends' on Fox), Laura Ingram, and most all other populist demagoguing right wing talk shows all despise Ron Paul. These vulgar right wing radio hacks (about all that you can get on AM radio in Mississippi, which is why I listen) try at all opportunities to ignore him, insult him, or misrepresent him, while blocking Ron Paul supporters who call their shows.

Obama is a bad President, increasing the debt by trillions of dollars, pursuing the drug war in the US and worldwide, betraying the cannabis culture, repealing nothing from the Bush era except 'Don't ask, Don't Tell'. Without Ron Paul on the ballot in November, it’s only Gary Johnson (Libertarian) I’d consider for President. But I have no faith in the majority of Americans to choose a sane, rational person for President, and that is dispiriting.

www.RonPaul2012.com