The impending murder of Steve Kubby

29. January 2006

Most of you have probably already heard by now that the Canadian government has very politely booted medi-pot patient and refugee-activist Steve Kubby out of their country and into the waiting claws of California’s Drug Thugs.

For those who don’t know who Kubby is, here’s a brief summary: Kubby was the Libertarian Party candidate for governor in 1998, and at the same time a leading promoter of “Proposition 215″ which when passed by a majority of California voters, became the Compassionat Use Act and legalized the use of marijuana for medical conditions as recommended by licensed doctors.

The proposition didn’t spell out any rules for distribution and Kubby was a very visible proponent of “growing your own,” and did some experimenting at his rustic Placer County home with various strains of cannabis to develop a weed that would provide maximum medical benefit with minimal amount of smoking. So in 1999 he was raided by the local Drug Thug brigade, who took all his plants, and mysteriously found tiny amounts of psilocybn and peyote in a guest bedroom.

Kubby was tried for “possession (of the pot) with intent to distribute,” a felony, and for possession of the trace psilocybn and peyote, a misdemeanor charge. The Kubbys beat the pot charges (owing to the Compassionate Use Act, but not the charges for the psilocybn and peyote, and Steve was sentenced to 120 days.

One might think this outcome a qualified victory for the Kubbys, but it was more of a phyrric one. Because Steve’s condition, for which he uses marijuana, is a rare adrenal gland ailment known as malignant phenochromocytoma. It’s a form of cancer which causes the adrenal gland to over-produce adrenalin (what causes the “fight or flight” effect when one is alarmed), resulting in a raging fever, sky-high bloodpressure, swelling kidneys and death after several days with no treatment.

The condition is usually fatal within a few weeks, but to the amazement of his many doctors, Steve has managed to keep himself alive for 25 years by smoking copious amounts of marijuana. To keep his symptoms in check he smokes a joint roughly every half-hour. If he goes without for more than a few hours, he starts feeling ill. By the end of 24 hours he is feverish and retching. After three days (the longest he has spent incarcerated) he is completely bedridden, his heart burning itself out via tachycardia. There is more information about Kubby’s history and situation in this Wikipedia article.

There is not a single jail in the United States where prisoners are allowed to smoke pot, medical needs notwithstanding. So 120 days in the pokey, which would be simply a major inconvenience for most of us, is a death sentence for Kubby.

Steve Kubby
Steve Kubby as he appears in A Drug War Carol (print version only).

So the Kubbys fled to Canada and joined a couple of hundred other “medi-pot” refugees. But the oh-so-polite Canucks believed assurances from U.S. Drug Thugs that Kubby would get “adequate medical treatment” in jail so after about 5 years of legal wrangling, the Canadian government ordered the Kubbys to go home.

Upon his return to the United States he was arrested before he could even get off the plane by San Francisco Drug Thugs at the request of the Placer County Drug Thugs, and transferred to the Placer County Jail several hours later.

According to his wife, Kubby has been given Marinol in jail. Marinol is a pill containing THC, but none of the other life-saving cannabinoids found in actual marijuana. Early reports are that the Marinol is alleviating symptoms slightly, but Steve doubts he would survive 120 days (the prosecutors now want to lengthen that time, because he had skipped the country) in this situation. For more details about the current situation, look here.

Drug Thugs will tell you that they’re just neutral enforcers of the law, and if you don’t like the laws, change them. Well, we did change the law, and the Drug Thugs have done everything in their power to thwart, undermine, and undo that change.

When one looks at the hard facts — that marijuana has to be the most benign of all the popular recreational drugs, including the legal ones; that for some sick people, marijuana is either the most effective treatment for symptoms or the most effective way to alleviate undesirable side-effects (particularly nausea) of other prescribed medications; that drug prohibition has not stopped people from using prohibited substances but has generated a veritable holocaust of inner-city crime (just like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s) — it makes one want to grab a Drug Thug by the lapels, shake him and shout, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU DUMBASSES????”

What’s wrong with them is that their Drug Prohibition has become a religion for them. Controlled substances, especially marijuana, are Satan, end of argument, and anyone suggesting that Drugs are Not Satan is at best, a dupe of the Evil One. And this “medical marijuana” stuff is a great big hoax, see? Kubby and his doctors are a bunch of damn liars, see, and the Drug Thugs are going to prove it by depriving him of his Evil Weed and watching him not die after he gets tired of faking being sick.

So either Kubby is a damn liar, or he’ll be dead in a couple of weeks.

If he survives, without serious injury, I suppose a lot of us are going to look pretty stupid.

Placer County District Attorney Brad Fenocchio
Placer County DA Brad Fenocchio as he appears in A Drug War Carol, playing the role of a back-stabbing underling to the Drug Czar.

If he dies, then Sheriff Ed Bonner (Kubby’s jailer) and prosecutors Brad Fennochio and Chris Cattran, and Canadian Federal Judge Yvon Pinard and Immigration Ministry counselor Keith Reimer, will be murderers, or accessories to murder.

And they will not be forgotten, nor forgiven.

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How about THIS one?

27. January 2006

Women have been getting steadily more visible in the comics industry over the past 10-15 years, especially among independent comics creators. In fact, one could say that a key group of about a dozen or so women cartoonists are one of the driving forces behind the recent growth of indie comics.

Most pundits say this is a good thing, and in this rare case I agree with the prevailing mood, more creative women in comics bring more and unique creative visions to the medium and can’t help but enrich it. And the fact that they are winning audiences is another indication that the medium is finally busting out of its spandex ghetto.

Recently Dark Horse Comics released an anthology titled “Sexy Chix” featuring stories from sixteen woman cartoonists (or comics writers), and the line-up is impressive. The book is of course being well received by the comics intelligentsia, as all milestones for this female advance are receiving, and I think that’s great.

But you know, I come across something today that I think might stick in the craw of this intelligentsia. Y’want more women cartoonists, well what do you think about this one?

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A history lesson from a Dead Canadian

24. January 2006

Brad Spangler has revived a concise, and by no means “objective,” history of the libertarian movement apparently written by the late Samuel Edward Konkin III, who was there for much of what happened from the 1960s onward.

Some will quibble with details and selection of focus, not to mention how certain personages are characterized, but I think it pretty much covers all the main points of movement history, starting with Lysander Spooner’s and Benjamin Tucker’s 19th Century movements and ending in 1997. Konkin died in early 2004.

Konkin (often styled “SEK3″) was a longtime opponent of the Libertarian Party who saw it as a break with libertarian ethics as well as bad strategy. From the 1970s onward he promoted an alternative strategy he named “Agorism,” which seeks to undermine and eventually replace the state with “counter-economic” activities — anything from trading goods and services “off the books” to avoid taxes to practicing day-care without a license to smuggling and dealing banned weapons and controlled substances.

It’s very difficult to gauge the effectiveness of Agorist ideas because people engaged in these sorts of pursuits usually don’t talk to pollsters or write letters to political publications. As a strategy it has a certain attraction, except for people like me who have chosen to be “public radicals.” I have no doubt that if I dealt drugs from my home the pigs would confiscate my house within a year. So I have to keep all my receipts and file my taxes and live squeaky-clean while you, my dear readers, get to have all the fun.

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Turd Sandwich Wins

24. January 2006

Over on WarrenEllis.Com, our ever-popular tortured writer posts this bit of commentary on the eve of the Canadian Federal elections:

Just stopping past to note that, on this day of Canadian Comedy Election Cavalcade, where you can vote for any one of a bunch of useless weird-looking twatwarts differentiated only by the timeframe in which they intend to screw you so hard and deep that they jerk their thin, grey, stinking semen directly into your very heart

…

…maybe I should start again.

The comments about this over on The ENGINE included a thoughtful however brief survey of the leading candidates and parties by Derek Burrow. There was a general agreement that the “leadership choices” and the parties generally were a depressingly sorry lot.

I wanted to add some comments of my own but after some earlier difficulties I have promised not to inflict my political opinions on The ENGINE. So I’ll inflict them here instead.

I think it is a hopeful sign to see widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership — it is a dark, and painful for many, precursor to understanding that political leadership will always disappoint and betray their idealistic erstwhile supporters, and the real driving force behind our on-going dismay is the whole idea that we need a political class to run our lives and protect us from The Huns Without.

The worst thing that can happen is for there to arise some charismatic type with a bold, new plan for saving us all and a groundswell of popular support that puts him and his cronies in power — only to betray their original ideologic supporters sooner or later, in favor of their new, sleazy friends, as required by the rules of staying in power.

cf: Newt Gingrich
Bill Clinton
Ronald Reagan
Tony Blair
Josef Stalin
Adolph Hitler

No, I’d rather let the electoral choice be between a giant douche bag and a turd sandwich (plus an assortment of twatwarts, as can get any attention). People are more likely to wake up from unhappy dreams than pleasant ones.

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Culture, passion & politics

23. January 2006

This is a culture-meets-politics rant, by a guest-ranter.

Recently an old acquaintance and present correspondent through the Left Libertarian mailing list, Mike Holmes, gave a response to a recent Reason magazine piece by Jesse Walker about the political inclinations of “Country” music and musicians, which is so good I want to share it here, with his permission:

[Samuel Edward Konkin III] used to argue (or so it seemed to me) that in many ways cultural influence was far more important for libertarians than mere politics (of course Sam officially hated politics…).

I tend to agree. If the Emperor and this minions lose the country music audience ideologically, they are done. Reagan knew this when he picked up the “Reagan” Democrats, mostly blue collar, union types, often rednecks and certainly always of a strong populist stripe.

While populism can be an unguided missile, trending towards class warfare against the “rich,” it is also the instinctive recognition that the political ruling class is screwing you. Too many right-wing libertarians (dare I call them “Reason libertarians”?) seem to be bloodless economists and policy geeks, who lack any emotional reaction to the outrages and horrors of statism in actual practice.

Country music is nothing if not appealing to emotional chords.

As I am fond of some of the alt-country performers Jesse’s review cited (Earle, Crowell, etc.) it is important to recognize libertarian sentiments when and where they exist. Particularly since they are usually also not mere NPR liberals singing with a twang, worshipping the State while bashing Republicans.

If anti Statism isn’t felt and spread via cultural transmission, it will become impotent and just another flavor of academic ice cream, much like what has become of modern socialism.

You of course can also see this in some types of hiphop/rap, etc. as expressed in the frustration of being harassed by the police and others for simply existing. The opportunities for petty harassment and repression have multiplied as the Nanny State and the new fascist “anti terror” apparatus have flourished of late, despite court rulings limiting — supposedly — the ability of the police to subjectively harass and arrest people who they view as undesirable.

Given the setbacks on the political fronts, even the ad hoc issues, we need to pay attention to the cultural arena, where our ideas can be very powerful when combined with film, TV, books, music, art and theater. Not in some obvious propaganda way (that is rarely effective, though often seen in 3rd rate productions) but in underlying themes and illustrations.

The State knows this too. Which is why when they began rewarding TV/radio producers with PSA credit and payments for explicit anti drug messages in programs, we began to see the lines being crossed. This is one reason why so much TV melodrama is full of drug overdoses and the like but almost none about jackbooted drug nazis ruining lives and jailing people for virtually nothing.

The Stalinism of supposed Good Intentions. Yes, by all means glorify the police state agencies (FBI, DEA, CIA, etc.) and the military, all doing heroic exploits.

While some of this may be pandering to audience taste and default propaganda conditioning, there are hidden subsidies built into government “cooperation” with this kind of one sided pro State messaging. Try to get military cooperation about a show demonstrating the horrors of the Iraq war and see how many tanks you get to use.

Fortunately, the libertarian cultural effort is very effective for us. No one is running it, no one is dictating anything. Fortunately people still know Statist bullcrap when they see it. When it is transmitted via popular culture, it is worth 10,000 times the impact of statist Big Brotherism being messaged from on high.

Of course, I also liked Jesse’s article, and I hope you’ll follow the link and read it. Jesse’s focus is more anthropological — a survey of differing political attitudes among stars and fans, than Holmes’s battlefield analysis, but they are complementary.

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Arm-A-Dillo

11. January 2006

As part of our upcoming story Roswell, Texas, Neil thought of a cute little concept for a business logo a while back. I designed and rendered the graphic, which appears below. We decided this would be the logo for a ubiquitous chain of gun/knife/personal defense equipment stores, which will pop up frequently in the background.

Arm-A-Dillo logo

If we get a sufficiently positive response to this, look for it to appear on t-shirts and baseball caps for sale on Version 2.0 of the Big Head Press site when it launches.

And when exactly will that be? We’ll be announcing that very soon.

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Happy Noo Yer

8. January 2006

Okay, so I’m a week late with the New Year greeting, but better late than never, right?

Anyway, I wanted to offer up a treat for my readers, especially those of the Erisian persuasion. And that is, a free Discordian Calendar for the 3172nd Year of Greyface! This calendar uses the 5-season year and the 5-day week, and includes corresponding Gregorian days for those who need to re-orient themselves from time to time. It also has original artwork by Yours Truly on the themes of Discordian lore.

To obtain this treasure, click here to download the .pdf file. The calendar will print out on legal-size paper, and instructions are included for proper print order and how to assemble the thing using a common stapler.

As a special added bonus, the Discordian Calendar is a perpetual calendar (because I didn’t include Gregorian days of the week) and can be re-used year after year. Until I get around to making a new one.

Hail Eris!

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