This quote from DEA head Karen Tandy has me mad enough to actually blog about actual news:
Today's arrest of Mark (sic) 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.
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.
That to me sounds like the country's top drug cop announcing Emery's bust was more because of his political activism than because of his law-breaking.
Sounds to me, too. And this means that, not joking, we ought to demand Karen Tandy's head. She's announced, straight out, that the United State government intends to use its ability to arrest people and put them in jail as a tactic for squelching political speech that conflicts with the government's policies. It should come as a surprise to no one that the thrust of the free speech clause of the First Amendment is to ensure that government reflects the free deliberative will of the governed. The freedom to agitate for the alteration of government is a minimal condition for the legitimacy of government. Karen Tandy has not only announced that she is violating the fundamental conditions for the moral legitimacy of the power that she wields, but that she is also proud of it. She has flouted her oath to the Constitution, has wantonly abused her power, is a disgrace as a public servant and a citizen, and must be removed from office.
This isn't about marijuana, although the triviality of such a benign substance really brings home the enormity of Tandy's words. Every one of us believes, or may one day believe, that some government policy or other is deeply flawed (war in Iraq, abortion, take your pick). If a government official, with armed agents at her disposal, tries to justifies imprisoning a citizen on the grounds that he has sought through speech to change government policy, then that's a threat to all of us.
Mr. President: FIRE KAREN TANDY!
I hope people are already making the stickers and the t-shirts, and blast faxing their senators. She's really got to go.