LATEST NEWS

All The Progress Made On Marijuana Legalization Could Vanish With A New President

Posted on November 21, 2014. Filed under: Federal Government, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


 

1021495_1392179425.8185

 

Matt Ferner  Become a fan  Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

The movement to end marijuana prohibition has made significant progress recently, but it could all be undone when the next president takes office in 2017.

Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws in a Wednesday op-ed for CNN on why Congress needs to act now on federal marijuana policy.

"Despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured," Miron wrote. "Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law."

With marijuana legalization supported by a majority of Americans, and with states continuing to pass legalization laws — about a dozen more may do so by 2016 — it seems unlikely that the federal government would push back against the popular movement. But it’s not impossible.

That’s because the regulation of marijuana — as seen in programs currently in place in Colorado and Washington state, as well as those that will soon go into effect in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. — remains illegal under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. The states that have legalized marijuana have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. That guidance could be reversed when a new administration enters the White House.

“Both Miron’s analysis and conclusion are spot on," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post. "The federal government needs to end the failed prohibition of marijuana by rescheduling or removing it from the list of controlled substances. Too many lives are ruined and futures cut short by these outdated and wasteful policies.”

Blumenauer is just one of a number of lawmakers from both parties who have worked toward that end. About a dozen bills were introduced in 2013, several by Blumenauer himself, aimed at limiting the federal government’s ability to interfere with states’ legal marijuana programs. Last year, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would direct the U.S. Attorney General to issue an order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. If passed, Polis’ measure would effectively end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana.

And while Congress has failed to pass any of those bills, attitudes are still changing rapidly on marijuana policy. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said he remains cautiously optimistic about marijuana legalization being here to stay, despite Congress’ tendency to move slowly on controversial social issues like this.

"It’s all political," Nadelmann told HuffPost in an email. "Of course it’s possible that the next president could decide to crack down on the states that have legalized marijuana but that prospect becomes ever less likely with every passing day."

"Diverse sectors of society are developing a stake in marijuana remaining legal," he continued. "Taxpayers and tax collectors enjoy the revenue. Cost cutters appreciate the savings from no longer arresting so many people for marijuana. Unions welcome the new legal jobs. Businessmen, including many who vote Republican, relish the actual and potential profits."

In a similar vein, Blumenauer himself has predicted that before the end of the decade, the federal government will legalize weed. Federal authorities have already allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s historic marijuana laws to take effect, and earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the states that permit it. The first hemp crops in U.S. soil in decades are already growing.

Moreover, in May, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed bipartisan measures aimed at limiting Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on state-legal medical marijuana shops, and at preventing the agency from interfering in states’ legal hemp programs.

Even in gridlocked Washington, the Democratic White House and the Republican-heavy Congress have been able to see eye-to-eye over how criminal justice and drug policy reform will be implemented in the next two years.

So what do some of the likely 2016 presidential candidates say about marijuana? On the Republican side, according to HuffPost’s Pollster model, the front-runners are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Paul has been supportive of D.C.’s new recreational marijuana law, and he’s also introduced legislation aimed at protecting state-legal medical marijuana operations from federal intervention.

Huckabee, meanwhile, is opposed to both medical and recreational marijuana, and Bush came out against Florida’s recent medical marijuana bill. At the same time, Bush has made generally supportive comments about keeping the federal government out of state marijuana laws.

On the Democratic side, the current front-runners are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). While Clinton hasn’t offered a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization, she has left the door open, saying she supports medical marijuana "for people who are in extreme medical conditions." She’s also said she wants to "wait and see" how recreational pot works out in Colorado and Washington state.

Biden has called legalization a "mistake" in the past, but he’s also said that cracking down on marijuana users is a "waste of our resources." Warren has offered some support for medical marijuana legalization, but is opposed to recreational legalization.

"For 77 years, the United States has outlawed marijuana, with tragic repercussions and unintended consequences," Miron wrote Wednesday. "The public and their state governments are on track to rectify this terrible policy. Here’s hoping Congress catches up."

Read Miron’s entire editorial here.

CONTINUE READING…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Another challenge to Schedule 1 – Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law

Posted on November 20, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Patients for Medical Cannabis:

A judge in California is examining the legality of America’s marijuana laws, she may be on the verge of throwing the entire system into chaos.
From The Daily Beast Published 11.04.14

Three states, one district, and two cities will vote on various aspects of the nation’s drug laws on Tuesday but the most crucial marijuana decision being weighed in the coming days will be made by just one person. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could be about to start a legal revolution.

After a five-day hearing in California, she is considering the validity of the science surrounding pot’s classification as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.

In May, she became the first judge in decades to agree to hear evidence relating to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana which puts it in the same category as heroin and meth. Over the next few weeks, Mueller…

View original 1,216 more words

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

What the Hell is Going on?

Posted on November 20, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on :

crew-2231Comment by Jim Campbell, Citizen Journalist, Oath Keeper and Patriot.

Why not spend $3.2 million to observe monkeys drinking alcohol. If Democrats didn’t spend it there, they would find another useless to

saturday-8534spend the taxpayers money on ending with dubious results.

Of course there should be no law against monkeys, known to sling crap, forbidding them from drinking Vodka.

After all, Politicians still drink and none spread crap around like our “Leaders,” in Washington.

November 19, 2014

idiotprufs:

drinking-monkeyI had yet another brilliant post about search terms planned for this weekend, but then I stumbled upon a news story that I was compelled to address.

Note: I can sense your disappointment. And it’s not the typical disappointment that comes from reading this blog. It’s not the “I’ve just wasted five minutes of my life that I will never get back, and I think I…

View original 581 more words

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Official Bob Marley Marijuana Blend On the Way

Posted on November 19, 2014. Filed under: Activists, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , |


Marley Natural blend will hit states where weed is legal next year

Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

 

By Daniel Kreps | November 19, 2014

 

The world’s most famous reggae singer is on the verge of becoming the Marlboro Man of Marijuana: The Bob Marley estate has licensed the Legend singer’s name and likeness to create a special blend of herb dubbed Marley Natural.

Marley’s widow Rita Marley and children Cedella and Rohan have teamed up with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group specializing in the legal marijuana market, to exclusively mass-produce those "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains" that Marley himself smoked to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer the face of the herb revolution. Privateer also owns Tilray, a 60,000-square-foot property on Vancouver Island, British Columbia that ranks as the world’s largest marijuana grow farm.

Family Reflections on Bob Marley and "The Herb"

Although the blend won’t hit the States where pot is legal – which now includes Alaska and Oregon – until late-2015, Marley is now positioned to become the face of a movement to legalize weed not just in America but worldwide. "Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We’re going to help him finish it," Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy told NBC News.

"It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation," Cedella Marley, 47, the reggae legend’s first-born daughter, told NBC News in a taped statement. "As Daddy would say, ‘make way for the positive day.’" Son Rohan Marley added, "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations."

Rita Marley, who was once a member of Marley’s backup singing group the I Threes, said in a statement, "You can depend on Bob, too. He’s 100 percent behind what is happening. He’s happy because this is what we dreamed of," referring to marijuana legalization. "It was unruly for them to call it weed or drugs. We saw it as a spiritual thing, given to us by God." The Marley family also shared a commercial for the Marley Natural, as well as the blend’s logo, a dread lion positioned between two pot leaves.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/official-bob-marley-marijuana-blend-on-the-way-20141119#ixzz3JXPZ7Tzk

Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Ebola.com Purchased for $200K by Marijuana Company. And It Gets Stranger From There

Posted on November 18, 2014. Filed under: Corporate Cannabis, International Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


Garyjohnsonphoto - modified.jpg

Jacob Davidson @JakeD

Oct. 23, 2014

Earlier this month, we reported that Ebola.com’s owner, a disease-obsessed domain name vendor called Blue String Ventures, was hoping to sell the URL for at least $150,000. Now, according to a report from DomainInvesting.com, Ebola.com has been sold to a Russian company that is apparently focused on the marijuana business.

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Ebola.com was bought by Weed Growth Fund for $50,000 in cash and 19,192 shares of Cannabis Sativa, a Mesquite, Nevada-based recreational and medical marijuana company that trades on over-the-counter markets. Based on Cannabis Sativa’s current stock price, those shares are valued at roughly $164,000, making the overall transaction worth just over $200,000.

So to recap: Ebola.com was sold to a marijuana-related company based in Russia that paid mostly in the stock of another marijuana company.

But the story’s not over yet. As recently as September of this year, Weed Growth Fund was known as Ovation Research, which according to this BusinessWeek profile was in the business of distributing “stainless steel cookware products for retail and wholesale customers in North America.”

Then, on Sept. 19, the company filed with the Nevada Secretary of State changing its name to Weed Growth Fund. (We tried to contact Weed Growth Fund by phone and email to ask about the deal and name change, but got no answer.)

Why would a marijuana company want to own the URL Ebola.com? Elliot Silver, DomainInvesting.com’s publisher, asked Blue String Ventures founder Jon Schultz this very question. And while Schultz replied that he did not know why Weed Growth Fund wanted the domain, he did send Silver to this Marijuana.com article in which Cannabis Sativa CEO Gary Johnson (the former two-term New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate!) claims that marijuana can be used to treat Ebola. (You can see him do it in this Fox Business interview.) Cannabis Sativa also did not respond to requests for comment.

So there you have it. A newly renamed, Russian weed-related company bought Ebola.com using shares of a medical marijuana business run by a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who thinks that pot should be used to treat Ebola. And no, you’re not high (as far as we know). This really happened.

Continue Reading…

More Info on Gary Johnson…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Secret US spy program targeted Americans’ cellphones

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying |


The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of cellphones through fake communications towers deployed on airplanes, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

Planes are equipped with devices—some known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials because of the initials of the Boeing Co. unit that produces them—which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.

The technology in the two-foot-square device enables investigators to scoop data from tens of thousands of cellphones in a single flight, collecting their identifying information and general location, these people said.

People with knowledge of the program wouldn’t discuss the frequency or duration of such flights, but said they take place on a regular basis.

A Justice Department official would neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a program. The official said discussion of such matters would allow criminal suspects or foreign powers to determine U.S. surveillance capabilities. Justice Department agencies comply with federal law, including by seeking court approval, the official said.

The program is the latest example of the extent to which the U.S. is training its surveillance lens inside the U.S. It is similar in approach to the National Security Agency’s program to collect millions of Americans phone records, in that it scoops up large volumes of data in order to find a single person or a handful of people. The U.S. government justified the phone-records collection by arguing it is a minimally invasive way of searching for terrorists.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.

Published November 14, 2014

The Wall Street Journal

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Altria’s Untapped $40 Billion Market: Marijuana in the U.S.

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


 

BY Ben Reynolds

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Marlboro cigarette maker Altria (MO) controls 50.9% of the U.S. cigarette market. The company is still gaining market share; one year ago the company controlled 50.7% of the U.S. cigarette market. The U.S. cigarette industry is slowly declining as the negative health consequences of smoking become common knowledge.

Despite onerous taxes and advertising restrictions, selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in the U.S. is highly profitable. Altria has recorded about $24 billion in sales and $4.3 billion in profits over the last 12 months. Altria stock is up almost 40% over the last year, more than twice the gain of the S&P 500.

In the coming years, Altria may be able to tap into the growing U.S. marijuana market. The similarities between marijuana and tobacco are many. Both products are smoked and consumed repeatedly. Marijuana is not physically addictive like tobacco is, but marijuana is psychologically addictive. It also carries a cool vibe in many subsets of society that cigarettes no longer do. The primary reason Altria has not moved into the marijuana market is because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level in the U.S. Despite this, four states have legalized marijuana for both legal and recreational use (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington).

Size of the U.S. Marijuana Market

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales. In August (the most recent month for which data are available), marijuana sales in Colorado, excluding black market sales, totaled $67.5 million. Recreational marijuana sales accounted for $34.1 million, while medical marijuana sales came in at $33.4 million. Colorado has a population of 5.26 million; total marijuana spending per capita in the state was $12.83.

The U.S. has a population of about 316 million. If the entire U.S. legalized marijuana and consumed it at a similar rate as the state of Colorado, the U.S. marijuana market would generate about $48.6 billion per year in sales.

A sizable chunk of Colorado’s marijuana revenue was generated by tourists. This likely inflates marijuana sales numbers in the state. This would be partially offset if the entire U.S. legalized marijuana, as "pot tourists" from around the world would come to the U.S. Still, the effect is likely to be less on a percentage basis than what Colorado is experiencing.

Must Read: Marijuana Brands Push Past Bans to Go National

CONTINUE READING…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Kentucky’s great hemp hope

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Farming, Industrial HEMP, LATEST NEWS |


In industrial hemp, the state of Rand Paul and Wendell Berry sees a solution to its post-agrarian ills

November 12, 2014 5:00AM ET

by Michael Ames @mirkel

Mike Lewis hemp

Mike Lewis, a farmer who employs veterans on his farm, was recruited by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to join the state’s hemp crusade.

MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — Mike Lewis doesn’t want to talk about marijuana. He is an organic farmer, the son of a retired federal agent, and he follows the law. 

"If you’re gonna talk about drugs, you’re going to have to leave my property," he said to the group of entrepreneurs and activists who had traveled to central Kentucky to see his farm, one of the few legal, private hemp operations in the country. The threat sounded serious, and with it, Lewis had everyone’s attention. "We’re here today to talk about building an industry."

The most progressive cannabis program in the United States won’t get anyone stoned. But while officials in Colorado and Washington state await the results (and reap millions in taxes) of their drug-legalization experiments, conservative Kentucky has launched an ambitious and industrious project devoted to the ancient, controversial plants. Marijuana remains illegal here, but with industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive cannabis varietal with dozens of commercial uses, the state sees a different kind of salvation, an old-fashioned agrarian answer to a variety of 21st-century American ills.

Seven university-affiliated grow sites in the state, spread from the Mississippi valley in the west to the Appalachian east, are researching hemp’s potentials. Eastern Kentucky University is studying bio-fuels. Manufacturers are talking up hemp-based car parts and hempcrete, a biodegradable construction material. Bio-chemical engineers in Louisville will test the plant’s capacity to remediate the city’s toxic dumps. In struggling Appalachia, where thousands of families were wiped out when the federal government ended its tobacco subsidies, small farmers are wondering whether hemp can fill an economic vacuum. Wherever Kentucky has a problem, it seems industrial hemp has an answer.

The initiative was launched by the state’s agriculture commissioner, Republican James Comer, who ran for the office (an influential position in a predominately rural state), largely on his hemp visions.

"We thought he was crazy," recalled Holly Harris, who served as general counsel for the state GOP during Comer’s 2011 campaign. "The party chatter was, ‘This guy is crazy.’" But after Comer won that race — the only Kentucky Republican elected to statewide office that year — Harris was hired as his chief of staff and witnessed what she described as the most wild and memorable political experience of her career.

The conventional wisdom was that hemp was a political nonstarter, a fringe concern better fit for liberal states like Colorado or Washington, where marijuana prohibition was already being phased out. The conservative-led coalition that gathered around Comer’s agenda destroyed those assumptions. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was instrumental, recruiting a delegation to testify in support of the state’s legalization measure; the group included Louisville Democrat John Yarmuth, libertarian conservative Thomas Massie and former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey. When Paul spoke at the hearing on Senate Bill 50, he wore his favorite button-down hemp shirt. In Washington, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky, amended the 2014 farm bill to permit the plan under federal law. As the legal and political hurdles fell, Comer revived the long-moribund state Industrial Hemp Commission, a committee of stakeholders and experts responsible for getting the industry off the ground. Funding arrived from RandPAC (Paul’s political action committee) on the right, and from a standard hippie culture staple, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. The two organizations provide the entirety of the commission’s budget.

Kentucky is not entirely alone in the legalization movement. Lawmakers in many rural states are frustrated by the fact that, while it’s perfectly legal to sell hemp products made in other countries, federal law denies independent farmers the right to grown their own. In recent years, more than a dozen states have passed legislation that, to varying degrees, allows colleges, universities, and state agriculture agencies to research, grow and market the plant. Comer, however, took the additional step of licensing farmers like Lewis as state contractors, something no other state has done. In Colorado, farmers are allowed to grow the crop, but “it’s more like don’t ask don’t tell,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, the industries chief lobbying group. Kentucky, he said, “pushed the envelope and are letting farmers do commercial activity as research.”

It’s been less than five months since Lewis planted his first seeds, and he said that he is currently in talks with more than a dozen manufacturing companies interested in processing hemp for a dizzying range of commercial and industrial applications, including health supplements, building insulation and bedding for Kentucky thoroughbreds. He said that a plastics company, which did not want to be named, is interested in processing hemp fibers into durable car paneling, a practice that European automakers have been using for years.

"We saw there is real opportunity," Lewis said. "We want to work with these people to create products, to drive dollars into the local economy." At this point, with so much energy and promise, Lewis "suffers from the oppression of opportunity." His biggest problem, he said, "is managing expectations."

PLEASE CONTINUE READING….

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Obama won’t budge on Keystone ahead of House vote

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Ecology, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


President Obama would not budge on the Keystone pipeline ahead of a key House vote on Friday, indicating during a press conference that he wants to let a review process run its course even as lawmakers threaten to send a bill fast-tracking the project to his desk.

The president spoke during a joint press conference in Burma with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

As the House prepares to vote on the pipeline — and the Senate is set to vote next week — Obama made clear his position has not changed. 

Obama said his administration believes the project should be judged on the basis of whether it accelerates climate change. Obama also insisted the pipeline would not be a “massive jobs bill” and would have no effect on U.S. gas prices.

The looming vote will mark the ninth time it has been voted on in the House as lawmakers look to finally secure approval of the delayed proposal after numerous environmental reviews, legal challenges to its route and politics.

But the pipeline was only put on the lame-duck Congress agenda because Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu pushed it on the Senate side — in an apparent effort to not only boost the energy industry, but boost her own re-election bid in a tough runoff next month. Landrieu’s race for re-election goes to a runoff next month against GOP-hopeful Bill Cassidy. Landrieu is considered an underdog in that election.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, traveling with Obama in Myanmar, told reporters that the president takes a "dim view" of legislative efforts to force action on the project. Earnest stopped short of threatening a veto, but reiterated Obama’s preference for evaluating the pipeline through a long-stalled State Department review.

Obama has repeatedly ordered such reviews under pressure from environmental groups, who say the project would contribute to climate change.

Senate Republicans and several moderate Democrats have pushed for the project to be approved for years, and backers of the project got a major win after Republicans took control of the Senate. Supporters say the construction of the pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs.

But the project divides Democrats, with environmentalists in opposition while some unions as well as energy-state and business-minded lawmakers support it.

The Sierra Cub issued a statement opposing the measure, as did Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who urged Obama to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Supporters of the measure appeared to have at least 58 of the 60 votes they would need for approval next week. That included all 45 Republicans as well as 13 Democrats, among them Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, whose office confirmed his support during the day.

Another obstacle in the pipeline is getting approval for it to go through Nebraska.

The administration has put off announcing any decision pending a Supreme Court ruling in Nebraska on a challenge to the law that allowed the route of the pipeline to be set.

The Nebraska Supreme Court’s decision is expected before the end of the year.

That case involves a lawsuit filed by landowners and activists opposed to the project who are seeking to overturn a 2012 state law that allowed Republican Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the pipeline’s route through the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

CONTINUE READING….

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Kate Stone’s Civil War: The story so far …

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on stillness of heart:

1862

Catch up with Kate Stone’s amazing stories as she defiantly faces Union soldiers, escapes across a Louisiana swamp, falls in love with Texas, and watches the Civil War rip her country and her family apart.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Check back as more excerpts are added throughout 2014 and 2015.

From 1861
May 15: Death in defense of the South
June 5: The stir and mob of angry life
June 18: Whipped unmercifully
July 1: They thought me so ugly
July 4: The blood of her children
July 26: Gallantly fought and won
Aug 24: The fevers
Sept. 27: The war inches closer
Oct. 19: Gladden our hearts
Nov. 27: The noble…

View original 450 more words

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Top Five Special Interest Groups Lobbying To Keep Marijuana Illegal are (1) Police Unions, (2) Private Prisons, (3) Alcohol and Beer Companies, (4) Pharmaceutical Corporations, and (5) Prison Guard Unions.

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Truth11:

by Lee Fang / http://www.republicreport.org/

Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rights experts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.

There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.

However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:

View original 380 more words

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Marijuana Soon to Protect NFL Players from Concussions?

Posted on November 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , |


Despite the controversy surrounding the legality of the cannabis plant, one drug company hopes to soon use medical marijuana to protect NFL players from repetitive concussions, which are shown to cause symptoms on par with those seen in patients with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.

In order to even commercialize such a miracle cure, companies would first have to obtain an exclusive license from the federal government for a medical marijuana patent, currently held by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But in 2013, Dean Petkanas, CEO of the New York-based company KannaLife Sciences, got his hands on the license in order to bring a marijuana-based neuroprotective drug to the market.

"We’ve taken the preclinical approach so far to date on our first indication which is hepatic encephalopathy, which is a brain-liver disorder, where you do have neuronal degradation and degeneration, oxidative stress," Petkanas told Fox News. "So we felt that we could look at that in parallel with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) another brain-related disease, and see if neuroprotection would indeed be afforded across that panel."

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by brain trauma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), usually seen among athletes like NFL players. Though its symptoms include memory decline, changes in mood and behavior, depressions and irritability, CTE is different from Alzheimer’s disease. Signs of the disease aren’t usually noticeable until decades later (ages 40-50), so it’s often not diagnosed until death, which reveals accumulation of Tau protein in the brain.

Football is obviously a contact sport, but Fox News reports that to date more than 4,500 retired players have sued the NFL for supposedly downplaying and covering up that they knew the game could cause long-term neurological damage due to repetitive concussions.

That’s where Petkanas’ company comes in, hoping to develop cannabidiol-based (CBD) drugs – a form of medical marijuana – that can protect the brains of such athletes.

KannaLife Sciences is only in preclinical trials, so there’s no telling if and when NFL players can hope for a solution; but when NIH first obtained its patent, called "Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants" in 2005, they provided scientific evidence that certain properties of cannabis compounds could limit neurological damage following stroke or trauma, and help treat neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.

Experts did bring up the issue of the marijuana showing up on the league’s drug tests, but Petkanas notes that the drug reportedly has no psychoactive effects, so it wouldn’t be an issue. His company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA in early 2015.

Tags medical marijuana, football, concussions

Read more: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/10224/20141111/marijuana-soon-to-protect-nfl-players-from-concussions.htm#ixzz3IpodGdLP

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

E-cigarette firm eyes emerging cannabis oil market

Posted on November 10, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Commerce, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , |


By TIM TALLEY

Associated Press November 9, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY — As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise.

Marijuana is illegal under federal drug laws. But voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state and Colorado. And in more than a dozen other states, medical marijuana is available.

The growing availability of legal pot opens the door for Tulsa-based Palm Beach Vapors to market a method for producing a cannabis oil product that can be inhaled through a common e-cigarette, according to CEO and co-founder Chip Paul.

"This is a wave that’s kind of sweeping the nation," said Paul, whose company is looking to patent the method and has already signed licensing deals in California and Colorado for what it calls the M-System. He said he intends to set up franchise locations in other states.

The use of marijuana is currently illegal in Oklahoma, but the market for cannabis products is projected to grow as more states move to legalize it. Advocates plan a big push for legalization initiatives on 2016 ballots in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, according to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Paul was one of the organizers of an Oklahoma initiative petition calling for the legalization of medical marijuana, an effort that ended in August when volunteers failed to gather the needed signatures of more than 155,000 registered voters. The failed petition sought voter approval of classifying marijuana as an herbal drug that would be regulated by the Oklahoma Department of Health. Doctors would have been authorized to prescribe it for a variety of medical conditions.

Cannabis has a history of medicinal use to treat pain or alleviate symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS. Paul plans to launch another petition drive in August 2015.

But Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, says the agency is concerned about the inhalation of cannabis oils via e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes work by heating liquid nicotine into an inhalable mist; cannabis oils and waxes work much the same. Palm Beach Vapors does not buy, sell or ship marijuana but licenses the preparation method and additive that produces a vegetable glycerin base in which cannabis oils remain evenly distributed, which is key to labeling concentrations, similar to the nicotine measurements in e-cigarettes, Paul said.

The company has applied for a patent, and expects the M-System to account for 30-40 percent of its annual revenue by 2018, provided the country continues its march toward wider legalization, Paul said.

Marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, but Nate Renschler, who has a Palm Beach Vapors franchise in Newburgh, Indiana, said that sentiment could change when state officials realize the tax benefits of legalization.

"The whole country is going one way and Indiana is taking two steps back. We’ll be one of the last steps to legalize marijuana," Renschler said, noting that the e-cigarette product is still viable regardless of what state it is sold in. He uses the Palm Beach Vapors method to sell hemp oil, which he claims is good for a person’s general well-being.

Even though marijuana is not legal in the majority of the United States, Woodward said teens are obtaining e-cigarettes and cannabis oils. "It’s an easier way for people, especially our youth, to disguise their marijuana use," Woodward said.

He said investigators for the agency have already intercepted couriers traveling across Oklahoma who have purchased cannabis oils legally in one state with plans to sell it where it’s illegal.

"It can be hard to detect," Woodward said.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/09/3529336_e-cigarette-firm-eyes-emerging.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Casper Leitch: FaceBook is censoring activists

Posted on November 6, 2014. Filed under: Activists Opinions, CIVIL RIGHTS, LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying | Tags: , , , |


https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-prn2/v/t1.0-1/c30.30.369.369/s50x50/47043_511083858956206_398116326_n.jpg?oh=f896645c351f283b2527e68a676eab71&oe=54F5E0FD&__gda__=1424027838_418020e8d77dffc03b7386621cc9aabd  FaceBook is censoring activists – PLEASE visit my profile often and share my links!

April 25, 2013 at 5:11pm

At first, I thought it was just ME.  But, over time I have encountered SEVERAL activists on FaceBook who SUDDENLY get the same WARNING messages from FaceBook that I have been receiving.  It would seem, to those of us who attempt to reach a LARGE number of our friends, that FaceBook is doing EVERYTHING it can to prohibit the  sharing of REAL information.
When FaceBook forced us all to use it’s new TIMELINE FEATURE – it became impossible, at that point, to control who would have access to any thing and EVERY thing that is posted on the profiles of this social site.  If NOTHING ELSE, advertisers get access to our information – and we know that the government (ie. the DEA, FBI, CIA and HomeLand Security) have free access to our profiles and often times are reading our posts.
At that time, I removed ALL personal information from my profile…every bit of it – my private e-addy, my ph numbers, my real age, who my real family members are, date and place of birth information, current address, likes and dislikes, personal photos…every single bit of it and rebuilt my FaceBook personal profile into an electronic magazine focused on ending marijuana prohibition and preserving Freedom.
Members of the FaceBook community embraced my hard work and the number of friends I have quickly swelled to the 5,000 limit allowed by FaceBook.  Even tho I am the host of a global radio program with a listening audience of over 2-million people, I am still allowed to interact with ONLY 5,000 members of my audience on the worlds biggest SOCIAL MEDIA website.
To overcome THAT obstacle I started the ‘TIME 4 HEMP – LIVE’ page that people have liked and now visit for news in the world of hemp/marijuana that is found at: https://www.facebook.com/Time4HempLIVE
On this page, I post information that is MOSTLY about marijuana with a few posts about our loss of Freedoms.  On my profile page I have gone CRAZY and put up posts about marijuana AND A GOOD NUMBER about our loss of Freedoms along with some links to great music.
I have many well informed friends who post fantastic information that I feel needs to be shared with ALL of my other friends….it seems that FaceBook does NOT agree.
When FaceBook first went to TimeLine – several of my friends requested that I tag them in my posts – and I did.  FaceBook blocked me one day from tagging any of my photos because I was "tagging too many people" in them.  I had about 50 friends that liked being tagged in my images because the images would appear on their profiles and the information attached that I was wanting to share could also reach their friends.  As of now, I am allowed to tag only 4 people per image – if I attempt to do more than that, I can then not tag anyone in an image for 30-days.
To overcome THAT obstacle, I began posting images and URL’s onto my profile and then would re-post them onto the profiles of my friends.  FaceBook won’t allow me to re-post the same image or URL now more than 8 times before they start blocking that option.
To overcome THAT obstacle, I attached my Twitter feed to my FaceBook account and began visiting the profile pages of my friends and sharing THEIR information onto my Profile so my friends could review it and….well, wouldn’t you know it….now FaceBook tells me that I am ”over using the SHARE button and need to slow down other wise be blocked from using this feature for 30-days" and if I should attempt to share more than 25 URL’s or images in about an hours time – I am blocked form using the share button – FIRST for 4-hours and if I keep OVER USING THE SHARE BUTTON that day – then I’m am blocked from using it for 30-days.
Now, I just post EVERY THING onto Twitter (and nearly 9,000 people follow the head-lines that I post at: https://twitter.com/time4hemp – check it out!) and have begun using the marijuana social site established by Todd McCormick more and more to interact with my friends.  The link to that is http://www.HEMP.xxx and is free to join AND does NOT limit how you interact with other members.
I have to say – FaceBook is very successful in censoring activists.  In order for any one to discover the information posted on this profile page – it is now COMPLETELY up to my friends to actually come to my profile page each day and review the new links that I have been able to successfully post to find the information and SHARE IT WITH THEIR FRIENDS.
Instead of being able to get a message out to the 5,000 friends that I have like I could when TimeLine FIRST began…..instead of being able to get a message out to the approximate 2,000 friends that I use to reach when TimeLine was just a few months old….instead of being able to get a message out to the approximate 300 friends that I use to reach when TimeLine was just a year old….instead of being able to get a message out to the approximate 150 friends that I use to reach up until this week – I can now reach about 30 people a day.  For every one else interested in the material I post – they MUST take time to visit my profile and then SHARE any information they discover to be of importance.
THIS IS WHY I AM ASKING that my friends visit my profile OFTEN and make it a point to share and re-post the material that you consider to be important. 
PLEASE READ:
The IRS is spying on you through Facebook, Twitter
http://www.bizpacreview.com/2013/04/08/irs-spying-on-you-through-facebook-twitter-60352
Does Facebook spy on you, even after you’re logged out?
http://www.spywarewarrior.org/newsflash/does-facebook-spy-on-you-even-after-youre-logged-out.html
The Government is Spying On You Through Facebook Right…Now
http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/18/the-government-is-spying-on-you-through-facebook-right-now/
Facebook’s Spying On You For a Good Cause
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/facebook-s-reading-your-messages-but-it-s-for-a-good-cause#ixzz2RVe1aNki
The FBI Is Spying On You: On Facebook, Twitter & Myspace
http://www.thisis50.com/profiles/blogs/the-fbi-is-spying-on-you-on
Many people watch you every move on Facebook
http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/whos-watching-facebook-213557740.html

CASPER LEITCH ON FACEBOOK

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

What Can Bourbon Do For Obama And McConnell? (The Note)

Posted on November 6, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , |


 

 

 

By Michael Falcone
@michaelpfalcone
Follow on Twitter

Nov 6, 2014 9:08am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)

NOTABLES

  • OBAMA ADMITS ‘REPUBLICANS HAD A GOOD NIGHT‘: A day after Republicans took control of the Senate and gained seats in the House, President Obama admitted the GOP “had a good night” and “deserve credit for running good campaigns,” ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY reports. http://abcn.ws/1uy0a3M
  • MITCH MCCONNELL SAYS HE WILL ‘TRUST BUT VERIFY’ HIS NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRESIDENT: Sen. Mitch McConnell said he intends to employ a “trust but verify” relationship with President Obama when he takes the helm as the new Senate majority leader, saying voters sent a clear message that both parties must govern. “The American people have spoken. They’ve given us divided government,” McConnell told reporters in Louisville yesterday. According to ABC’s JEFF ZELENY, it’s an open question how much agreement the Republican-controlled Congress and the White House will forge, given the high degree of partisan acrimony that has been festering in Washington. But McConnell listed trade agreements and corporate tax reform as two potential early areas of compromise with the president. http://abcn.ws/10oPar6
  • FORGET THE BEER, OBAMA AND MCCONNELL HEAD STRAIGHT FOR THE HARD STUFF: President Obama has met one-on-one with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell only once or twice in six years.  But now, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER and MARY BRUCE report the president is ready to join the Kentucky Republican for a drink. “You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell,” Obama told ABC’s JONATHAN KARL. “I don’t know what his preferred drink is, but, you know, my interactions with Mitch McConnell, he — you know, he has always been very straightforward with me.” http://abcn.ws/1tBgmNW

THE ROUNDTABLE

ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Will Ted Cruz and a handful of other senators be a thorn in Mitch McConnell’s side or an ally in his new Republican majority? It’s likely a safe bet we’ll see a bit of both. But McConnell and his Republican leadership team are trying to quickly bring the new Republican class to their side to avoid anything that resembles a Cruz caucus. When McConnell talked to us yesterday in Louisville, he made clear that government shutdowns and budget showdowns won’t take place on his watch. The only way he can deliver on that promise is by keeping the freshmen senators in his corner. He suggested that the mandate from voters was on his side, saying: “The vast majority of them don’t feel that they were sent to Washington to just fight all the time.”

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Compromise, it’s been the ugliest of words in Washington. But, if voters made one thing clear when voting in that Republican wave Tuesday is that they are sick of gridlock, bringing angst about so many issues–including a hatred of the way things work in Washington–to the voting booth. Yesterday, we saw some signs that maybe–just maybe–things might be different. First, Mitch McConnell stressed he has a “cordial” relationship with the president noting he heard the voters loud and clear saying when voters choose “divided government” it doesn’t mean “they don’t want us to do anything,” instead “it means they want us to look for areas of agreement.” Then the president said a bourbon summit may be on the menu, saying he would “enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon” with McConnell. Yes, these are tiny steps, but ones the American people desperately want. And if they don’t get it, many in Washington know it could be another “throw the bums out” year soon enough.

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: President Obama seemed to go out of his way to deny the 2014 elections a label, as he resisted entreaties by reporters to follow the tradition that brought us the “thumping” and the “shellacking.” It’s as if the White House would prefer that the election some said was about nothing would not even get a name. But the election actually was about big forces in American politics. It brings a new world were nouns will bother Democrats less than verbs. The election conferred few mandates, and defies snapshot takeaways. But to suggest that the election was primarily about a Republican-leaning map, or somehow was about voters who chose not to vote, risks also defying a public that was responding to policies that the president himself insisted were on the ballot.

THE BUZZ

with ABC’s KIRSTEN APPLETON

MEET 9 REPUBLICANS WHO COULD SHAKE THINGS UP IN THE NEW CONGRESS. There are a lot of new Republicans headed to Congress next year, but some members of the largest GOP wave since the Hoover administration stick out more than others. ABC’s CHRIS GOOD, JOHN PARKINSON, ARLETTE SAENZ and BEN SIEGEL take a look at some of the newly minted senators and members of Congress likely to shake things up at the Capitol. http://abcn.ws/1x6yPna

HAPPENING TODAY — MEDAL OF HONOR FOR CIVIL WAR HERO:  More than 150 years after he was shot three times and later killed by Confederate forces in the Battle of Gettysburg, 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing will be decorated with the nation’s highest military honor, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER reports. President Obama will make a rare presentation of the Medal of Honor to the Civil War veteran during a small ceremony in the Roosevelt Room with Cushing’s relatives.  The award is the culmination of a 40-year effort by the family and lawmakers from Wisconsin, where Cushing was born.  It required a formal congressional exemption, since Medals of Honor must be presented within 3 years of a qualifying act.  The 22-year-old Cushing, a graduate of West Point, where he is now buried, commanded an Army artillery battery.

GEORGIA SENATE RACE DIVIDES ATLANTA’S RAP SCENE. The Georgia Senate race between Republican winner David Perdue and Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn split voters in the Peach State. According to ABC’s BEN SIEGEL and NOAH WEILAND, it also divided leading members of Atlanta’s rap scene. Rapper and deejay Lil Jon appeared in promotional videos for Rock the Vote’s “Turnout for What” campaign, a play on his hit song, “Turn Down for What.” On Election Day, he flew from Las Vegas to Georgia to vote after not receiving an absentee ballot in the mail. He also retweeted a message from the Nunn campaign. Meanwhile, rapper Waka Flocka Flame was spotted at a Perdue victory party at Atlanta’s Buckhead Hotel. http://abcn.ws/1x9EXfn

HOW FEMALE CANDIDATES FARED IN THE MIDTERMS. With the results of the midterm elections nearly settled, one thing is clear: a record number of women will serve in the incoming Congress. But ABC’s ALANA ABRAMSON reports it’s unclear how high that number will actually be. The total number of women in Congress will increase, to 100-103 at the most – a maximum of four additional seats. Before the midterm elections, there were 99 women serving in the 113th Congress – twenty senators and 79 members of the House. The number of women senators is slated to remain at 20, unless Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu defeats Bill Cassidy in the runoff election next month. In the House, 81 female candidates have won, with two races still too close to call. http://abcn.ws/1uxHDE2

OBAMA’S SHORT LIST FOR NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL JUST GOT SHORTER. The coming Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate means President Obama now has an even shorter list of candidates to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. ABC’s MIKE LEVINE reports that political concerns have already kept one qualified contender from serious consideration, sources told ABC News. “President Obama said at a press conference he is “looking at” a “number of outstanding candidates,” and he is “confident” that his nominee “will get confirmed by the Senate.” But for that to happen, the president’s pick “has to be somebody who is not compromised,” the White House source said. The source was referring to Alejandro Mayorkas, the number two at the Department of Homeland Security whose name has surfaced as a potential contender even as he remains in the crosshairs of a lingering internal probe into complaints of alleged impropriety years earlier. http://abcn.ws/1shK4oz

LESSONS FROM THE LOSERS: 5 BIG POLITICAL DON’TS OF THE 2014 MIDTERM ELECTIONS. Republicans are set to march into a new session of Congress with the Senate majority well in hand. But despite the outcome, candidates on both sides of the partisan divide made mistakes. ABC’s NOAH WEILAND lists the biggest campaign “don’ts” from this election cycle. http://abcn.ws/1uxWfUo

9,000 AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES KILLED IN COMBAT DURING LAST TWO YEARS. ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ reports almost 9,000 Afghan Army soldiers and policemen have been killed in fighting with the Taliban as they have assumed the lead for security in Afghanistan in the last two years. Overall the Afghan security forces “are winning” in their fight against the Taliban, Lieutenant Gen. Joseph Anderson said, but noted the casualty rate is “not sustainable.” http://abcn.ws/1EjBeyb

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

SUPREME COURT HEARS FISHY TALE. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard a “fish tale” about a fisherman who allegedly got caught at sea with red grouper that measured smaller than commercial fishing regulations allowed. Instead of facing authorities, he threw the fish overboard and was prosecuted under a law for destructing a “record, document or tangible object” with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. The issue before the court is whether the law was meant to cover an act of throwing fish overboard, ABC’s ARIANE DE VOGUE reports. http://abcn.ws/1x7GzVL

WHO’S TWEETING?

@JohnCornyn: Charting Midterm Losses: From FDR to Barack Obama http://on.wsj.com/1xfN9c6 via @WSJPolitics

@llerer: Can Hillary Clinton Save the Democrats? http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-11-06/can-hillary-clinton-save-the-democrats … via @bpolitics

@PounderFile: WaPo: Some Senate Democrats won’t say whether they’ll back Harry Reid http://wapo.st/1qrkwVj

@HuffPostPol: Here’s the Democratic route back to Senate control in 2016 http://huff.to/1qrmGnS

@ezraklein: The most consequential gains Republicans made in 2014 might actually be in state legisltures: http://bit.ly/1zy1Ewa

CONTINUE READING!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

An industrial hemp crop growing operation hidden in Kentucky could save lives.

Posted on November 5, 2014. Filed under: CBD/Cannabidiol, Farming, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


Behind The Scenes Of Country’s Largest Hemp Growing Operation

10268443_661649157217851_8338941169993626353_n

An industrial hemp crop growing operation hidden in Kentucky could save lives.

The crops are being grown on a former flower farm tucked away on the outskirts of Jackson County and is now the largest hemp growing operation in the country. The plants are hidden from the public, but the operation allowed LEX 18 to document the cultivation of the controversial crop.

The hemp plants are producing cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD, which may be able to help children with seizures. It’ll be the first time hemp is available in Kentucky. However, the sheriff says some families in need have already moved to Colorado, where it’s already available.

"We have families that are out there, living in a strange environment, sleeping on the floor, having to relocate just to have the medicine that they could have right here," says Sheriff Denny Peyman.

But moving isn’t an option for the family of 17-month-old Jolie who suffers hundreds of seizures a week.

"We got diagnosed with a really rare seizure disorder called infantile spasms," says Jennifer Harrell, Jolie’s mother.

Jolie’s mother is part of a group of parents trying to get their hands on the oil and away from a cocktail of prescription pills.

"One of them (the prescription pills) can cause Steven Johnson syndrome. So it can make your skin fall off. And the one she’s currently on, can cause permanent blindness. So those are the decisions we have to make. Its kinda like you’re playing Russian roulette with your kid’s brain," says Harrell.

The plants are allowed to be grown through an expanding pilot program under the farm bill. A few weeks ago, this operation opened right here in the bluegrass again under secrecy, for fear of thieves.

Not everyone is a supporter though because of hemp’s similarity to marijuana. The Department of Agriculture reiterates that this won’t get anyone high and the program is closely watched.

More testing will need to be done before anything can be legally prescribed, it’s unclear when parents in Kentucky will have access to CBD oil. Earlier this year, Governor Beshear signed a bill into law allowing doctors at UK and U of L to prescribe CBD oil from hemp to certain patients.

CONTINUE READING…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The DEA Once Turned A 14-Year-Old Into A Drug Kingpin. Welcome To The War On Drugs

Posted on November 2, 2014. Filed under: Absolute Assinine Law, Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Political, War and Order, WTF! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Posted: 10/24/2014 10:47 am EDT

Nick Wing Become a fan nickw@huffingtonpost.com

 

This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one here.

Americans spent approximately $100 billion a year on illegal drugs between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2012 report published by the RAND corporation. Part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s job, alongside several other law enforcement agencies, is to make that process more difficult at home, where harsh federal drug laws have ensured that such transactions are conducted — until recently, in some states — entirely on the black market. The DEA also works to cut off imported illicit drugs at the source, which means mounting operations around the world to tackle a global drug trade that generates $322 billion annually, according to UN estimates.

It’s a gargantuan task. Critics of the war on drugs say it’s an impossible one. Over 40 years, the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion in the fight. Thousands of people on both sides of the battle have lost their lives. In the end, it’s led only to cheaper, higher quality drugs at home and abroad, and by most accounts, little change in the number of people using them. While the momentum may finally be shifting away from an enforcement-first national drug policy and toward prevention and treatment, aggressive enforcement of the nation’s drug laws doesn’t appear to be going anywhere just yet.

Until the nation drastically rethinks its approach on drugs, the DEA will continue to play an integral part in the war against them, and that sometimes means resorting to controversial tactics. Below, find out how domestic spying, broken promises and a 14-year-old from Detroit have all played a part in that seemingly endless struggle.

The DEA has been spying on U.S. citizens with a surveillance program more expansive than the NSA’s.

Just months after Edward Snowden unmasked the National Security Agency’s massive domestic spying program, The New York Times broke news of the Hemisphere Project, which pairs experts from telecommunications giant AT&T with federal and local anti-drug officials, including DEA agents. It gives law enforcement officials access to "every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years," according to the Times report. That’s around 4 billion call records every day, each logged with information on the location of callers. The official government slideshow describing the program suggested it had been helpful in tracking drug dealers who frequently change phones, or use disposable "burner" phones.

burner phone

The White House attempted to allay privacy concerns about the Hemisphere Project last year, noting that AT&T stores the collected data, unlike in the NSA’s program, in which data is turned over to the government. Federal officials can quickly access the records, however, often within an hour of a subpoena.

The ACLU criticized the apparent secrecy of the program, which had been in existence for six years before being revealed by the Times in 2013. The organization suggested that blanket surveillance and close federal involvement could represent a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

"Hemisphere is deeply troubling, not only because the government is amassing detailed, comprehensive information about people who’ve done nothing wrong, but also because the government has deliberately kept Hemisphere secret, even from criminal defendants who’ve been subjected to the program," wrote ACLU attorney Linda Lye.

And the DEA instructs agents not to tell the truth about sources of key intelligence.

A Reuters report, also from 2013, detailed how the DEA’s Special Operations Division, or SOD, teaches agents to cover up vital tips that come from the department. A DEA document obtained by Reuters shows that federal agents are trained in "parallel construction," in which essential intelligence obtained SOD wiretaps, informants or other surveillance methods can be concealed by crediting it to another source.

An unnamed former federal agent who received tips from the SOD gave an example of how the process worked: "You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

If an arrest was made, agents were instructed to hide the fact that the initial tip had come from SOD, and instead use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information." This process is sometimes used to hide case details from prosecutors and judges, as well as defense attorneys. Several lawyers told Reuters that the practice could jeopardize a defendant’s constitutional right to fair trial and cover up evidence that might otherwise be inadmissible.

DEA officials defended the technique, however, calling it a common law enforcement tool that allows the SOD to crack high-profile cases.

The DEA has confidential informants who have made it a lifetime career.

Confidential informants — sometimes referred to as "snitches" — are crucial assets in the DEA’s war on drugs. In 2005, the agency told the Justice Department it has around 4,000 of these sources actively working for it at any given time. Many of these informants are recruited after being caught for drug crimes themselves, and are offered a chance to work for the DEA as a way to earn a reduced sentence. Others have made a full-time profession out of informing, a controversial practice in itself, as some critics suggest it encourages longtime informants to go after and potentially entrap low-level dealers rather than higher profile targets.

Informants can make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars helping the government prosecute and convict drug dealers, with payment often contingent on how much money is seized in an eventual bust. That’s how Andrew Chambers Jr. once made a name for himself as "the highest-paid snitch in DEA history," with a 16-year career as a federal informant between 1984 and 2000, during which time he reportedly netted as much as $4 million in government money, nearly half of it from the DEA. A report earlier this year in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that Chambers was only one of the agency’s million-dollar informants.

andrew chambers jr

Chambers, seen in a YouTube video from the Speakers Agency.

The "highest-paid snitch in DEA history" was also found to have lied repeatedly in testimony. Despite his reputation, he recently resumed work with the DEA.

Chambers’ work with the DEA halted in 2000, after a review of testimony revealed he’d committed perjury in at least 16 cases, when he lied on the witness stand about his credentials. Agents who’d worked closely with Chambers during the time, however — including Michele Leonhart, who became DEA administrator in 2010 — spoke highly of him despite the criticism that made him a national story. Around the time of Leonhart’s confirmation, the DEA reactivated Chambers as an informant.

While his current role with the DEA is unclear, legal professionals have expressed concerns beyond Chambers’ record of perjury. Defense attorneys told the Arizona Republic that he regularly failed to record introductory meetings, which left open the possibility that he was entrapping suspects and compromising cases.

Shortly after news broke that Chambers had resumed working with the DEA, a case in which he served as the primary informant fell apart and federal prosecutors asked for the charges to be dismissed.

Confidential informants are given so much free rein that one top DEA source actually had his own sub-network of informants.

While the DEA has released information about the general size of the program and the basic guidelines under which it operates, less is known about exactly how — and to what extent — the agency controls its informants.

The perils of this ambiguity were exposed in 2004, when it was revealed that a star DEA informant was actually paying his own sub-informants to help him set up drug deals. In one case, in which this arrangement wasn’t initially revealed to defense attorneys, a sub-informant made a number of calls to a defendant who would later be facing charges for trafficking methamphetamines. The calls weren’t recorded, however, which opened up the possibility that the alleged meth trafficker had actually been pressured to go through with the deal that led to his arrest. A judge determined that this raised the possibility of entrapment and ordered federal prosecutors to release a full list of the cases in which the informant and sub-informant had collaborated. When the government refused, the judge threw out the indictment and freed the defendant, writing that the DEA had tried to "shield itself from accountability by hiring someone outside of law enforcement who is free to violate citizens’ rights."

In a ruling explaining her decision, the judge also blasted the DEA, suggesting it was "highly unlikely" that it was unaware of the informant’s sub-contractors. In an earlier case, the informant had testified that he’d never told his DEA handlers about his network, and that they’d never asked.

The DEA allows informants to break the law, but have no records as to how often it happens.

Federal agencies came under fire in 2012 in the wake of the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal for not adequately tracking instances in which they authorize informants to commit crimes in the line of government duty. In the case of Fast and Furious, gun dealers working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sold 2,000 weapons to Mexican cartels, but failed to have them traced. In response to a USA Today report, both the ATF and DEA claimed they were "in compliance" with rules determining when they could advise their informants to break the law.

Both agencies also acknowledged that they didn’t track how frequently they granted such permission.

Some congressional representatives have called for more accountability among federal agencies with regard to informants. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) sponsored an unsuccessful bill in 2013 that would have required federal agencies to report to lawmakers whenever an informant commits a serious crime, with or without authorization.

One of America’s most notorious terrorists once served as a DEA informant.

In 2013, David Coleman Headley, an American of Pakistani descent, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for plotting the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which killed at least 164 people and wounded hundreds more. Government officials with knowledge of Headley’s past spoke of a man who had grown increasingly radicalized in the years leading up to the attack, but subsequent reporting also followed up on his work as a confidential informant for the DEA between 1997 and 2005, according to sources.

The DEA, which sent Headley on a number of trips to gather intelligence on heroin traffickers in Pakistan, has denied that he was working officially with the agency as late as 2005, or at any time when he was receiving training at militant camps in the region.

mumbai terror attacks

An Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns during gun battle between Indian military and militants in Mumbai, India. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

Another informant allegedly shot and killed a man who confronted him for molesting his child.

Sometimes informants get caught doing unauthorized dirty deeds while on the agency’s payroll. In Albuquerque, the DEA is facing a lawsuit claiming it was negligent in supervising an informant who allegedly shot and killed another man earlier this year. The informant has been charged in the man’s death, as well as with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and a host of other charges. The victim had allegedly confronted the informant over the sexual assault of his son when he was shot. The suit is seeking $50 million in damages, alleging that the informant had prior felony convictions and a history of violence and should not have been recruited by the DEA.

The DEA strung one informant along for 20 years with the promise of citizenship. She still hasn’t received it.

When Norma was just 19 years old, she became a confidential informant for the DEA. She told her story to Yolanda Gonzalez Gomez as part of a partnership between New America Media and HuffPost Voces. Norma explained how desperation and the promise of citizenship led her to sign up for a commitment she knew little about. Over the course of 20 years, Norma says she repeatedly put her life on the line for the DEA, and in return, she got paid, although she said agents sometimes refused to give her the money she was owed. Citizenship, however, never came, and now Norma fears she’ll be deported and sent back to Mexico, where she hasn’t lived since she was 5 years old. She also said she believes her life would be in danger there as a result of her work for the DEA.

Norma is an alias — she asked that her real name be withheld — but immigration attorney Jodi Goodwin knows stories like hers are not uncommon. "Federal government agencies use and abuse undocumented confidential informants for years, trample their rights with impunity, promise them permanent residency and never deliver on it," she told Gomez. "And they know they don’t have to deliver on it. But they keep pressuring them with that promise so they will keep cooperating."

The DEA has also been accused of using other exploitative means to recruit assets.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, a New Mexico man and former DEA informant alleged that the agency had recruited him by targeting his history of substance abuse. An attorney representing 38-year-old Aaron Romero claimed that her client had recently beaten a crack cocaine addiction in 2011, when a DEA-sponsored informant offered him the opportunity to sell drugs — provided to him by the U.S. government — and to feed the agency information on other drug dealers. His payment, Romero’s attorney alleged, came in the form of crack for personal use. Romero relapsed, his attorney said, and was eventually arrested on federal counts of distributing crack cocaine near a school, charges that were ultimately dropped after he spent a number of months in jail.

crack cocaine pipe

The DEA once turned a teenager into a drug kingpin so he could act as an informant.

In the 1980s, federal agents with the DEA and FBI plucked 14-year-old Richard Wershe from his Detroit high school and began crafting a new identity for him as a drug kingpin. Over the next few years, the teenage Wershe would live a double life, one as the legend who’d later be known as White Boy Rick, one of the most notorious drug lords in city, and the other as a valuable informant for the DEA and other law enforcement agencies.

"I was just a kid when the agents pulled me out of high school in the ninth grade and had me out to 3 in the morning every night," Wershe told The Fix in 2013. "They gave me a fake ID when I was 15 that said I was 21 so I could travel to Vegas and to Miami to do drug deals."

With intelligence provided by Wershe, authorities were able to make a series of high-profile arrests, disrupting Detroit’s rampant drug trade and the police corruption that had grown alongside it.

But in 1988, then 17 and no longer an informant, Wershe was pulled over and busted for work in the same drug business as the one to which the DEA had introduced him. The 17 pounds of cocaine found in his car resulted in a life sentence. He’s the only convict still behind bars in Michigan to receive a life sentence as a minor under the state’s now-repealed "650-lifer" law. Many of the targets whom Wershe helped put in jail have long since been released.

richard wershe

The DEA did treat one informant very nicely, giving him nearly $900,000 for information it could have gotten for free.

The Associated Press reported in August that the DEA had paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years as an informant to pass confidential information about passenger reservations. But as the AP reported, Amtrak police are already part of an anti-drug task force that includes the DEA, and would have given the agency that information free of charge.

For more on the sketchiest things the DEA has done, read part one of this series.

CONTINUE READING…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Matt Mutter Barren County Jailer 2014

Posted on October 31, 2014. Filed under: KY ELECTIONS, LATEST NEWS, Political |


Matt Mutter

 

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:00 am

0 comments

Office seeking: Barren County Jailer

Name: Matt Mutter

Party: Democrat

Previous political positions: Currently serving as Barren County Jailer

Why are you running for this position? I am seeking re-election to the office of Barren County jailer to continue the high quality of service that we have provided the past few years. During my first term as Barren County jailer, many significant changes have taken place. The most crucial change has been moving into a new Detention Center three years ago. We are operating a larger facility, with more inmates, and less staff. Our budget and finances are in excellent condition. After everything we have achieved in the last four years, we are still capable of much more. We consistently receive excellent inspections and audits. I want the Barren County Detention Center to continue to be a model for other jails across Kentucky. I am proud of my staff and our accomplishments. When re-elected as Barren County jailer, I will maintain the forward progress that is already in motion.

What is the most pressing issue facing your office? The most pressing issues of any jail are financial stability, safety/security, and recidivism. I have been addressing these issues for the past six years. Since I began overseeing daily operations in July 2008, Barren County Detention Center’s finances have steadily improved. Our current budget is $12,500 less than it was in 2008. Our incoming revenue is paying for jail operations costs. I have taken measures to improve security of our facility. We now use X-ray machines and drug dogs to help reduce contraband in the jail. Our deputies receive more training now than ever before. It makes me proud when other Jailers/staff visit our facility to observe us and take our ideas back to their home counties. We have introduced programs to help reduce recidivism rates. For example, our Moral Reconation Therapy program has been very successful. These programs teach inmates how to prepare for re-entry into the civilian world. We intend to help as many inmates as possible, so hopefully they won’t be a returning statistic. As the Barren County jailer, These are only a few of the critical issues I am already managing.

What distinguishes you from your opponent? The most important distinguishing features between my opponent and me are experience and knowledge. I have been a public servant my entire adult life. I have served as a United States Navy gunners mate, Barren County deputy jailer, Glasgow Police officer, Barren County deputy sheriff, and now Barren County Jailer. I have accumulated over 1,500 law enforcement training hours during my 22-year career. I am the only candidate with experience in every aspect of jail operations. I have been overseeing Barren County jail daily operations since July 2008. I am knowledgeable in Kentucky Jail Standards. I supervised the move into a new facility three years ago. I have experience in balancing our $2 million budget each year. Under my leadership, revenue from housing state inmates is paying for our jail operations, at no cost to taxpayers. Not only do I spend 60-70 hours per week at the jail, I’m also very active in our community. I’ve been a Red Cross Elementary Site-Based Council member for the past seven years. I’m also an active member of many local organizations such as: Glasgow Kiwanis Club, Barren County Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Junior Achievement.

If elected, what changes, if any, would you make? One aspect I would like to work on during the next four years is expanding on our rehabilitation programs. Recidivism (repeat offenders) is a concern of every jailer. During my term, I have introduced programs to help inmates re-integrate with society. Classes include: GED, AA, Why Try, Moral Reconation Therapy, and many religious services. Inmates are taught life skills needed to function in today’s world. I will continue to develop and expand these programs. Although our facility is called a Detention Center, I feel like it is our responsibility to be more than that. I would also like to focus on becoming an accredited facility through the American Correctional Association. This is a process in which the facility is held to higher standards than the Kentucky Jail Standards. Barren County Detention Center has been called a “model facility.” We are constantly striving to uphold that reputation and continue to improve.

While on the campaign trail, what have your constituents had to say about what the office should be doing? The feedback I have received from the community has been positive. The general public is pleased with our excellent inspections and audits. The general public is pleased that our budget is $12,500 less than what it was six years ago. Barren County residents have expressed to me the need for more programs to help inmates. To help reduce recidivism, a jailer must implement new and innovative programs. Our current MRT class is a perfect example. This program focuses on helping inmates to re-learn how to live their everyday lives. Citizens have told me they would like for our inmates to learn skills to help them get jobs. In the future, I would like to have a greenhouse on jail grounds. Hopefully, this would teach inmates gardening skills and help them be productive. Overall, Barren County citizens are happy with the way the Detention Center is run. They are happy with the progress we have made in my first term. Barren County Detention Center has been called a “model facility” and we strive every day to make the constituents proud of us.

CONTINUE READING…

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

U.S. Marijuana Party

Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, USMJParty | Tags: , , , , , , , |


By Christina CrapanzanoMonday, Mar. 29, 2010

dek Andrew Holbrooke / Corbis

Long before Loretta Nall campaigned on her cleavage, the activist’s cause was cannabis. The Alabama resident gained national attention during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign when she produced T-shirts with the caption "More of these boobs …" (with a photo of Nall in a low-cut shirt) "… And less of these boobs" (next to photos of her opponents). But the write-in candidate’s political roots date back to 2002, when a misdemeanor arrest for possession was the spark behind her forming the U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP). The group — which demands "an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana" — has official party chapters in seven states, including Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky. While Nall left the USMJP to be a Libertarian Party governor nominee, the group continues to back candidates in local, state and national elections under the leadership of Richard Rawlings, who is currently running for Congress in Illinois.

CONTINUE READING….

 

THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN IN ‘TIME MAGAZINE’ ON MARCH 29, 2010.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

This Is Your Brain on Drugs

Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana |


By ABIGAIL SULLIVAN MOORE    OCT. 29, 2014

     

    The gray matter of the nucleus accumbens, the walnut-shaped pleasure center of the brain, was glowing like a flame, showing a notable increase in density. “It could mean that there’s some sort of drug learning taking place,” speculated Jodi Gilman, at her computer screen at the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. Was the brain adapting to marijuana exposure, rewiring the reward system to demand the drug?

    Dr. Gilman was reviewing a composite scan of the brains of 20 pot smokers, ages 18 to 25. What she and fellow researchers at Harvard and Northwestern University found within those scans surprised them. Even in the seven participants who smoked only once or twice a week, there was evidence of structural differences in two significant regions of the brain. The more the subjects smoked, the greater the differences.

    Moderate marijuana use by healthy adults seems to pose little risk, and there are potential medical benefits, including easing nausea and pain. But it has long been known that, with the brain developing into the mid-20s, young people who smoke early and often are more likely to have learning and mental health problems. Now researchers suggest existing studies are no longer sufficient. Much of what’s known is based on studies conducted years ago with much less powerful pot.

    Photo

    A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. Credit The Journal of Neuroscience

    Marijuana samples seized by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency show the concentration of THC, the drug’s psychoactive compound, rising from a mean of 3.75 percent in 1995 to 13 percent in 2013. Potency seesaws depending on the strain and form. Fresh Baked, which sells recreational marijuana in Boulder, Colo., offers “Green Crack,” with a THC content of about 21 percent, and “Phnom Pen,” with about 8 percent. The level in a concentrate called “Bubble Hash” is about 70 percent; cartridges for vaporizers, much like e-cigarettes, range from 15 to 30 percent THC.

    High-THC marijuana is associated with paranoia and psychosis, according to a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We have seen very, very significant increases in emergency room admissions associated with marijuana use that can’t be accounted for solely on basis of changes in prevalence rates,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a co-author of the THC study. “It can only be explained by the fact that current marijuana has higher potency associated with much greater risk for adverse effects.” Emergency room visits related to marijuana have nearly doubled, from 66,000 in 2004 to 129,000 in 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Higher potency may also accelerate addiction. “You don’t have to work so hard to get high,” said Alan J. Budney, a researcher and professor at Dartmouth’s medical school. “As you make it easier to get high, it makes a person more vulnerable to addiction.” Among adults, the rate is one of 11; for teenagers, one of six.

    Concerns over increasing potency, and rising usage among the young, is giving new urgency to research.

    For the Harvard-Northwestern study, published in the April issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, the team scanned the brains of 40 young adults, most from Boston-area colleges. Half were nonusers; half reported smoking for one to six years and showed no signs of dependence. Besides the seven light smokers, nine used three to five days a week and four used, on average, daily. All smokers showed abnormalities in the shape, density and volume of the nucleus accumbens, which “is at the core of motivation, the core of pleasure and pain, and every decision that you make,” explained Dr. Hans Breiter, a co-author of the study and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern’s medical school.

    Similar changes affected the amygdala, which is fundamental in processing emotions, memories and fear responses.

    What is already known is that in casual users, THC can disrupt focus, working memory, decision making and motivation for about 24 hours. “The fact that we can see these structural effects in the brain could indicate that the effects of THC are longer lasting than we previously thought,” said Dr. Gilman, an instructor in psychology at Harvard’s medical school.

    The study was preliminary and small, and attempts to replicate it are underway. Meanwhile, Dr. Gilman is trying to figure out how the findings relate to brain function and behavior.

    One day in September, she was assessing Emma, a student who said her smoking — almost every day — didn’t interfere with school, work or other obligations. For $100 to go toward study-abroad plans, Emma politely plowed through nearly three hours of tests on cognitive functions that are or might be affected by THC, like the ability to delay gratification (would it be better to have $30 tonight or $45 in 15 days?) and motivation (a choice between computer games, the harder one offering a bigger payoff). For memory, Emma listened to lists of words, repeating back those she recalled. Next came risk. Would she bungee jump? Eat high-cholesterol food? (“These kids tend to be risk takers, particularly with their own health and safety,” Dr. Gilman said.)

    A final test: Did Emma crave a joint? Her response: somewhat.

    Dr. Gilman is concerned about pot’s impact on the college population. “This is when they are making some major life decisions,” she said, “choosing a major, making long-lasting friendships.”

    Dr. Volkow noted another problem: Partying on a Saturday night may hinder studying for a test or writing a paper due on Monday. “Maybe you won’t have the motivation to study, because there’s no reward, no incentive,” she said.

    Evidence of long-term effects is also building. A study released in 2012 showed that teenagers who were found to be dependent on pot before age 18 and who continued using it into adulthood lost an average of eight I.Q. points by age 38. And last year at Northwestern, Dr. Breiter and colleagues also saw changes in the nucleus accumbens among adults in their early 20s who had smoked daily for three years but had stopped for at least two years.

    They had impaired working memories as well. “Working memory is key for learning,” Dr. Breiter said. “If I were to design a substance that is bad for college students, it would be marijuana.”

    Abigail Sullivan Moore is co-author of “The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up.”

    Education Life is a quarterly section offering news and commentary about higher education. You can reach us by emailing edlife@nytimes.com.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

    141 House Members Flunk Drug Policy Report Card But conservative Republicans are among the 49 who earned an A+.

    Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Federal Government, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana |


    Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., left, earned an A+ in a report on House drug policy votes. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., earned an F. The report looked at House votes on hemp, medical marijuana, DEA funding and banking rules.

    Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., left, earned an A+ in a report on House drug policy votes. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., earned an F. The report looked at House votes on hemp, medical marijuana, DEA funding and banking rules.

    By Steven Nelson Oct. 29, 2014 | 2:37 p.m. EDT

    Each seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for grabs when Americans go to the polls Tuesday, and the Drug Policy Alliance wants voters who care about drug policy to check out a new report card for incumbent members.

    The pro-reform organization’s advocacy arm, Drug Policy Action, issued the report card Wednesday, and scores don’t neatly match partisan affiliations.

    Hard-line conservatives such as Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, are among the 49 House members who earned an A+, while Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is among the 141 members who earned an F.

    [READ: Va. Congressman Pushes ‘Conservative’ Plan for Pot at Pharmacies]

    The grades are based on an analysis of seven House votes – one in 2013, six in 2014 – including three votes on hemp, two on banking rights for marijuana businesses, one that would have cut Drug Enforcement Administration funding and another to protect medical marijuana in states that allow it.

    Members who voted consistently for more liberal policies received an A+. The 116 representatives who voted in favor of reform in six votes earned an A. Those who voted for reforms in either one or none of the votes earned an F.

    In a press release, the Drug Policy Action noted 56 percent of House members – 179 Democrats and 64 Republicans – earned a C or better, meaning they voted for reform in at least three of the votes.

    [WATCH: McCain Says ‘Maybe We Should Legalize’ Marijuana]

    "Unprecedented support now exists on both sides of the aisle in Congress for ending the federal war on drugs and letting states set their own drug policies,” Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action, said in a statement. “Drug policy reform is a winning issue for elected officials.”

    The highest-profile vote tabulated in the report was on an amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., that would have blocked the Department of Justice –  including federal prosecutors and DEA agents – from spending funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it’s permitted.

    Editorial cartoon on pot

    See Photos

    Editorial Cartoons on Pot Legalization

    The Rohrabacher amendment sailed through the House in a 219-189 vote in May that blurred party lines, but the Senate didn’t consider a companion amendment from Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., and it wasn’t enacted into law.

    The drug policy organization didn’t grade senators, citing a paucity of drug policy votes in the chamber.

    Read the full report card:

    TAGS:
    drugs
    politics
    medical marijuana

    CONTINUE READING…

    LINK TO FULL REPORT IN PDF HERE…

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    NORML, Feds Agree On Benefits Of Cannabis

    Posted on October 30, 2014. Filed under: Healthcare, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Medical Marijuana |


    By: Jeremy Daw

    NORML, Feds Agree On Benefits Of Cannabis, Source: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/800px-Colorado_Supreme_Court_courtroom.jpg

    The third day of hearings on the constitutionality of cannabis’ federal Schedule I status presented further bizarre twists, as both federal prosecutors and NORML’s defense team appeared at times to agree on the medical benefits of cannabis.

    In one early incident, Assistant US Attorney Richard Bender, in continued cross-examination of Dr. Philip Denney, failed to rebut Denney’s testimony that plant-based cannabis effectively treated chronic pain. Instead, Bender attempted to show a marginal benefit to using dronabinol (AKA Marinol, which is synthetic THC taken orally in pill form) compared to cannabis and at one point seemed to get a little carried away with his line of questioning. Directing Denney’s attention to the results of a study which showed that both cannabis and Marinol proved effective in treating chronic pain but that the effects of Marinol lasted longer, Bender asked, “So, both smoked marijuana and oral THC were effective, but Marinol was a little better because it lasted longer?”

    Denney answered yes, and Bender continued, apparently unaware that he had just admitted that cannabis has medical value.

    Later in the same cross-examination Bender slipped again, making a similar admission in a more humorous way. Asking Denney about research showing the ability of cannabinoids to protect brain cells from damage during traumatic injuries, Bender asked, in a somewhat mocking tone, “So, if you’re going to have a traumatic brain injury, you’d better do it under the influence of marijuana?” Denney responded with an emphatic “yes,” provoking laughter in the courtroom.

    But perhaps the greatest damage to the government’s case came as a result of an apparent lapse of attention on the part of the prosecution. NORML attorney Zenia Gilg managed to elicit numerous responses from Denney on the nature of the US government’s Investigative New Drug (IND) program, under which US patients receive free tins of government-grown cannabis every month to treat severe illnesses, before Bender seemed to stir, stand and state a valid objection.

    It was apparently too late. Calling the objection “belated,” Judge Kimberly Mueller overruled it.

    This blunder proved crippling for the prosecution, as Gilg was then able to elicit further testimony from Denney about the IND program, and in particular the results of a study conducted by Dr. Ethan Russo and others in 2002 which showed remarkable long-term success treating severely ill patients who had proven resistant to traditional therapies, and with a minimum of undesirable side effects – all at the behest of the US government.

    Because the hearing also concerns the question of whether the medical use of cannabis is “currently accepted” in the US, Denney also testified regarding polls conducted of physicians about their professional opinions of cannabis. While Bender quibbled over details of a poll by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showing 76% approval of a medical marijuana recommendation in a hypothetical patient, he left entirely uncontested testimony about another physician poll conducted by WebMD which showed 69% support for the medical use of cannabis – again apparently conceding a point which is logically central to the question of whether cannabis belongs in Schedule I.

    Leaf co-founder Chris Conrad also took the stand as an expert witness, cross-examined by prosecutor Samuel Wong, who attempted to contradict the notions that cannabis had a known and reproducible chemistry and that it could be subjected to quality controls. Evoking the use of pesticides and other chemicals, Wong tried to suggest that use of such chemicals would lead to cannabis patients inhaling toxic substances. But Conrad pointed out that that was not necessarily the case, as many such sprays were designed to break down over time. Wong erred even worse when he tried to imply that quality control standards for cannabis didn’t exist, which opened the door for Conrad to introduce the medical cannabis quality control standards recommended by the American Herbal Pharmacopeia.

    Still, it was ultimately Dr. Denney who most succinctly summarized the tenor of the day. “I am perplexed,” he testified, “as to why there’s even a debate. Cannabis does have medical value.”

    CONTINUE READING…

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    Lawsuits: Alabama prisoners died of gangrene, constipation

    Posted on October 29, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Prison Abuse and Death, Prison Industrial Complex |


    By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

    updated 1:14 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014

    (CNN) — One prisoner died of alcohol withdrawal. Constipation killed another. A third succumbed to gangrene.

    The deaths sound like they come from the logs of a Civil War POW encampment, but all three are alleged to have befallen detainees at the Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama, while they were awaiting trial.

    In 2013.

    "What connects them all is that all of these people were in the medical-watch area, supposedly under the care of nurses," said Florence-based civil rights attorney Hank Sherrod, who in the past six weeks has filed federal lawsuits on behalf of the families of the alleged victims.

    The suits target the county, jail and Advanced Correctional Healthcare Inc., the company paid to provide medical services to county inmates. The suits allege that the county and ACH reached a "deliberately indifferent" agreement to delay or deny care as a cost-saving measure.

    With county consent, the suits allege, ACH "staffed the Madison County Jail inadequately, hired substandard medical personnel willing to put cost over inmate health and safety, denied inmates medications and delayed or denied medically necessary referrals to outside providers."

    Both Madison County and ACH officials declined to be interviewed for this story because of the pending litigation. They instead provided CNN with brief statements.

    Defendants just watched Listau deteriorate and eventually die.
    Lawsuit filed by Nikki Listau’s estate

    "Advanced Correctional Healthcare is pleased to have the opportunity to deliver a high standard of health care for Madison County Jail patients while partnering with Madison County to address the need to provide quality healthcare within its budget. ACH will not try its cases in the (media)," read a statement from ACH spokesman JD Dalfonso.

    Madison County Attorney Jeff Rich said in an email he had a longstanding policy of not commenting on lawsuits.

    "Although the almost instantaneous and continual flow of information arguably calls for a more substantive response, I believe it remains wise to reserve comment and let the litigation process run its course," he wrote.

    ‘They just watched him … totally indifferent’

    The allegations surrounding the August 2013 death of Deundrez Woods of Huntsville are the most disturbing.

    Arrested in June 2013 on shoplifting and third-degree assault charges, the 19-year-old behaved normally for several weeks until "jail records show that by August 6, Woods was confused, hallucinating and unable to communicate with correction and medical personnel," according to one of the lawsuits. He was then moved to the jail’s medical unit.

    "They just watched him," Sherrod said. "They were happy to let him lie there … totally indifferent to what was really going on."

    Fifteen days later, he died of a blood clot originating in his gangrenous foot, the lawsuit states, further alleging he was treated as a problem prisoner rather than a man suffering from a life-threatening infection.

    Woods was stunned with a Taser on August 6, 9 and 14, according to the lawsuit, and no one took his vital signs from August 7 to August 19.

    On August 17, the odor emanating from his foot was so foul that guards "dragged Woods from his cell to the shower, sprayed him with water and then placed him, still naked, in a different cell," the suit states.

    "Jail records affirmatively show Woods did not eat from August 14-19 and that as of August 12, Woods’ water supply was cut off," the lawsuit states. "Jail records also show Woods was naked during this period."

    According to the lawsuit, after August 14, no ACH nurse entered Woods’ cell until August 19, the day he died.

    The report that Woods wasn’t eating left his mother incredulous. A high school football player and heavyweight wrestler, the young man would eat anything but beans, his mother said.

    "He was a big boy. He liked to eat," said Tanyatta Woods, adding that when she needs her spirits lifted, she goes to the restaurant where she and Deundrez shared their last meal and he put down "$50 worth of Mexican food."

    Jefferson took another turn for the worse. She started sweating and started having difficulty breathing.
    Lawsuit filed by Tanisha Jefferson’s estate

    The night before her phone interview with CNN, Tanyatta Woods was up all night crying over Deundrez’s death, she said. She couldn’t sleep, and her other son had to comfort her.

    She recalled for CNN on Monday how she saw Deundrez a few days before he died. He was brought into court August 15 in a wheelchair, she said.

    She asked court and jail officials why he was in a wheelchair, and they cited patient privacy laws, she said. One official told her Deundrez was suffering from mental problems, but having a nursing and pharmaceutical license, she realized something else was wrong with her son, she said.

    "I told them my son didn’t have any mental problems," she said. "They couldn’t explain to me why he was in a wheelchair."

    He seemed confused and unresponsive, she said. His lips were discolored, he was having trouble seeing and he didn’t seem to remember much, other than the name of his 2-year-old son, Jalen, his mother said.

    "I begged them to take him to the hospital," she said. "They refused."

    The next time she saw Deundrez was in the hospital August 19. He was on life support. She’d have him taken off two days later.

    Other deaths in the same jail

    Woods’ case came about five months after Nikki Listau died and about two months before Tanisha Jefferson died, after serving time in the same jail.

    Listau, 60, was arrested at her home and charged with harassing communications on March 10, 2013. She couldn’t walk and had to be booked into the jail in a wheelchair, another lawsuit states.

    The delirium tremens, or DTs, from her alcohol withdrawal was so severe that she suffered seizures and broke her left femur and fractured multiple ribs "as a result of falling off of her bunk while in a medical watch cell," according to the lawsuit.

    When a guard found her naked on the cell floor, "rambling incoherently," her March 11 video court appearance was canceled.

    Two hours later, Listau was found unresponsive in her cell, the lawsuit says. She was pronounced dead the following day.

    "Despite her condition, Listau received no treatment; defendants just watched Listau deteriorate and eventually die," the lawsuit states.

    I still keep a house full of his football (teammates). … All the kids still come by and check on me.
    Tanyatta Woods, mother of Deundrez Woods

    Unlike Listau, Jefferson, 30, was apparently cognizant that something was wrong with her, according to the lawsuit filed by her mother.

    Arrested on a harassment charge October 14, 2013, she began complaining of rectal and abdominal pain on October 19. She also told jail officials she was unable to have a bowel movement, a third lawsuit states.

    On October 25, the mother of three filed a medical grievance saying she had been sick for at least 10 days, and in an October 28 request to see a doctor, Jefferson asserted she feared for her life and warned that jail and medical staff would be responsible "if something happened to her," the lawsuit states.

    Sherrod elaborated, saying Jefferson wrote a note that read, "If I die, it’s on y’all."

    Jefferson saw a doctor the following day and was prescribed laxatives and sent back to her cell, where she told fellow inmates and jail staff she hadn’t had a bowel movement in 13 days and "she thought she would explode, that she was so weak and in pain she could hardly walk," the lawsuit states.

    "On October 30, 2013, Jefferson took another turn for the worse. She started sweating and started having difficulty breathing," according to the lawsuit, and ACH medical staff were told of Jefferson’s condition, "yet did nothing."

    She saw another nurse the next day and was sent back to her cell again, the lawsuit states.

    That evening, at about 8:40 p.m., she passed out in her cell after "complaining of even more extreme abdominal pain," according to the lawsuit.

    Even then, Jefferson was not sent to the hospital. Instead, she was taken by wheelchair to the medical department for observation. An ambulance was not called until Jefferson became nonresponsive around 9:09 p.m.

    By that time, it was too late.

    She died on Halloween "as a result of complications related to a bowel obstruction most likely caused by an extended period of constipation," the lawsuit says.

    Lawsuits allege a money-saving motive

    All three lawsuits allege that, in each case, the conditions were so severe that even a layperson would have realized they were life-threatening, but ACH ignored each inmate’s symptoms to save money.

    "ACH’s business model, reflected in the agreement, succeeds by underbidding the competition and implementing severe cost control measures, the necessary result of which is unnecessary inmate suffering and liability claims (dealt with through liability insurance)," the suits say.

    They wait and wait and wait and hope it goes away. That’s a formula for killing people.
    Attorney Hank Sherrod

    Even in the months after the three deaths, Sherrod noted, jail administrator Steve Morrison spoke at length of the financial burden of providing health care to inmates.

    In an April story published several months before any of the lawsuits were filed, CNN affiliate WAFF-TV reported the county was seeking state or federal coverage for certain health care expenses. Morrison told the station, "Constitutionally we’re supposed to provide medical care. … It doesn’t say we have to pay for it."

    The jail has $800,000 earmarked for outside care, Morrison said, but the funds can be depleted with just a few hospitalizations.

    "We had an inmate that had some type of illness from all the psychotropic drugs that he’d been taking throughout his lifetime. He was in a coma for a long time, and it was almost $300,000 for him. Now when you get just one of those out of a thousand inmates, that can really cripple your budget," Morrison told the station.

    The jail referred all of CNN’s questions to the county attorney, who issued only the aforementioned statement.

    Sherrod hopes jail and ACH staff aren’t intentionally letting people die to save money, but they’ve demonstrated a willingness to "roll the dice with people’s lives," he said.

    "They wait and wait and wait and hope it goes away. That’s a formula for killing people," he said.

    The lawsuits ask for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and legal fees, and while that may provide some relief to the loved ones of those who died, Tanyatta Woods is more interested in answers: Namely, why would jail staff ignore her son’s suffering for days, even after he became unresponsive?

    She’s not the only one wanting answers, she said. Her son was a "lovable" fellow with many family members and friends. Deundrez even kept in touch with his middle school coaches and teachers, and they, too, were shocked by his death, she said.

    Until she gets her answers, she’ll lean on her other son as well as Deundrez’s old pals from his football and wrestling teams. They love her shrimp Alfredo, and she’s more than happy to whip up a barbecue or fish fry for them.

    "I still keep a house full of his football (teammates)," she said. "All the kids still come by and check on me."

    CNN’s Devon M. Sayers contributed to this report.

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    Pot oil "miracle in a bottle" cure could land mom in jail

    Posted on October 28, 2014. Filed under: CBD/Cannabidiol, Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Medical Marijuana |


    VIDEO HERE

     

    In March, one mother traveled to Colorado

    to get a bottle of cannabis oil in hopes of easing the agonizing pain her 15-year-old son has lived with for the past three years.

    What she calls a mother’s instinct may land her in jail, reports CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz.

    "I broke the law, but I did it to save my son," Angela Brown said.

    For years, the Minnesota mom searched for a way to end her son’s chronic pain.

    Trey appeared healthy, but a baseball accident in 2011 led to a build-up of pressure inside his head.

    A line drive to Trey’s head caused bleeding in an area of his brain the size of a golf ball. Doctors feared he wouldn’t survive.

    But when he finally woke from a medically induced coma, his mother said the old Trey was gone.

    "He’s the shell of himself," Angela said. "He’s in so much pain, and that causes depression."

    With depression came daily migraines, muscle spasms and uncontrollable outbursts.

    "I cry like every day before I go to bed," Trey said.

    And the pain is intense.

    "Like my brain is about to blow up, cause there is so much pressure," he said.

    To try to ease his pain, Trey’s parents tried 18 different medications, but little helped. Angela believes some of the drugs’ side effects even made her son suicidal.

    "He told me, ‘mom, I don’t want to live, I can’t do this anymore,’" Angela said. "It’s not fair, it’s not fair. I have been so angry."

    But through out it all, she’s tried to be as positive as possible.

    "People keep saying, ‘Oh you’re so strong,’" she said. "No I’m not! I begged him and I said, ‘We will find an answer.’"

    Desperate, she began researching the benefits of medical marijuana. The family drove to Colorado and obtained a bottle of cannabis oil. It’s legal there, but not in Minnesota.

    Angela said after a few drops, Trey’s pain melted away.

    "It was a miracle in a bottle," she said.

    But the miracle didn’t last.

    "It stopped the pain and stopped the muscle spasms," Trey said. "It was helping me go to school until it then got taken away and then school was really hard again."

    It was taken away when his teachers asked why he was doing better in school.

    "I said ‘Well, I gave him an oil that we’d gotten from Colorado,’" Angela recalled. "’It’s derived from a marijuana plant.’ And then you could feel the tension in the room."

    A week later, the sheriff’s department confiscated the oil and county prosecutors charged Angela with child endangerment and requiring child protection. If convicted, she could face up two years in prison and $6,000 in fines.

    "It’s asinine," Angela said. "I didn’t hurt my son; I was trying to prevent him from being hurt."

    While she recognizes the substance is illegal in Minnesota, she defended herself saying it’s "not illegal in other states."

    CBS News reached out to the county prosecutor, law enforcement and Trey’s school district.

    All declined requests for an interview citing the on going case.

    If Angela does go to jail, she fears most for her children.

    "Who would take care of my kids?" she asked. "My boys are mama’s boys."

    As much as they need her, she admitted she needs them just the same.

    In May, Minnesota became the 22nd state to approve specific forms of medicinal marijuana. But the law doesn’t go into effect until next year.

    The Browns said they can’t afford to wait.

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities

    Posted on October 28, 2014. Filed under: EBOLA, Healthcare, LATEST NEWS |


    By BENJAMIN WEISER and J. DAVID GOODMANOCT. 26, 2014

      It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities, and it was more than two decades ago that patients in New York were forced into isolation after an outbreak of tuberculosis.

      In modern America, public health actions of such gravity are remarkably rare. So the decisions by New York and New Jersey on Friday to quarantine some travelers returning from the Ebola zone in West Africa have taken public officials into unfamiliar legal and medical territory.

      From public health advocates and civil liberties lawyers has come sharp criticism, and the first person to be detained under the new protocol, a nurse who was quarantined in New Jersey upon returning from Sierra Leone, lashed out on Sunday at Gov. Chris Christie as her lawyer said he would mount a legal challenge to her confinement.

      Continue reading the main story

      But on Sunday night, barely two days after his joint announcement with Mr. Christie, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced his state would not go as far as New Jersey has.

      The nurse, Kaci Hickox, gave a critical interview to CNN on Sunday. Later, in an email to The New York Times, she wrote, “My human rights have been violated, and we must react in order to ensure that other health care workers do not endure such injustice.”

      Donna E. Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the most restrictive protocols are far too broad.

      “The current order is sweeping in individuals who are asymptomatic and who may never develop symptoms,” Ms. Lieberman said. “I think there is a serious question as to whether the governor has the authority to impose the broad quarantine that he has imposed,” she added.

      The quarantine by New Jersey of medical workers returning from Ebola-afflicted areas of West Africa is virtually without precedent in the modern history of the nation, public health and legal experts said on Sunday.

      “This is, I think, pushing the envelope quite a bit and is highly counterproductive,” Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, said. “I can’t think of a situation where any jurisdiction in the United States in modern times has simply quarantined a whole class of people.”

      In a new era of mass travel and global pandemics, public health officials have seen the utility of quarantines to rein in outbreaks that appear to be spiraling out of control. But the approach, experts said, is an extreme one.

      “It doesn’t seem like we’re to that stage yet,” Steven D. Gravely said, a lawyer who helped Virginia rewrite its laws on quarantine to make it easier for the state to respond quickly to disease outbreaks. Instead, he said, “there’s so much anxiety right now, that’s become the problem.”

      Government officials, he added, need to explain “why are you doing this, what do you hope to accomplish. Because otherwise people read into it things that are not there.”

      The power to impose quarantines derives from the general police power granted to states in the Constitution. But over the last century, state and federal authorities have moved away from broadly quarantining categories of people, said Mr. Gostin, adding that one would have to reach back to the influenza pandemic of 1918 to begin to find the sort of blanket approach being employed in response to Ebola in New Jersey.

      General quarantines, seen as having only limited effectiveness even when employed against the flu a century ago, fell out of favor as antibiotics and other treatments were developed to more directly address the contagious without affecting those who might have been exposed but display no sickness.

      At the height of the AIDS epidemic, quarantines were supported in some quarters, but no such measures were ever adopted. Similarly, there were no quarantines in the United States during recent pandemics of H1N1 or SARS.

      The last time patients in New York City were forced into isolation came with the outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the early 1990s, said Wendy E. Parmet, professor of health policy and law at Northeastern University School of Law. In those cases, officials targeted those recalcitrant patients who refused to take their medications, she said, rather than every person who tested positive, and even that practice faced court challenges. The approach resulted in the less restrictive “directly observed therapy,” in which patients were forced to take medications in front of officials, she said.

      Continue reading the main story

      Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

      IRS Can Seize Accounts Without Charges!

      Posted on October 27, 2014. Filed under: Drug War, Federal Government, IRS, LATEST NEWS |


      Law lets IRS seize accounts without filing criminal complaint

      Using a law designed to help catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes.

      By SHAILA DEWAN

      ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest, cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away, until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her they had seized her funds, almost $33,000.
      The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents did not accuse Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes. She has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.
      “How can this happen?” Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”
      The federal government does.
      Using a law designed to help catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many simply give up and settle the case for a portion of their money.
      “They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”
      On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the IRS said it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”
      Richard Weber, chief of Criminal Investigation at the IRS, said in a written statement: “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits of less than $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not affect seizures that have occurred.
      IRS seizures increase
      The IRS is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.
      But the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based public-interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil-forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the IRS, which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal case.
      The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.
      Her money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil-asset forfeiture, which allows law-enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law-enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.
      Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the IRS was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.
      Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious-activity reports, which are reviewed by more than 100 multiagency task forces.
      There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.
      Legitimate reasons
      There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, some grocery-store owners in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When they neared the limit, they would make a deposit.
      Hinders, said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.
      “My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the IRS.”
      Lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold.
      In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so the company began using the excess cash to pay vendors, and carried on for more than a decade.
      More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses.
      The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court and that Joseph Potashnik, the Hirsches’ first lawyer, had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.
      “I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”
      Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.
      “We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement because I was not guilty.”
      Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from his paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he finally deposited it in a bank he would be forced to pay taxes on the money a second time. So he asked the bank teller what to do.
      “She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’ ”
      The government seized $66,000; settling cost Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.
      “Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana

        Posted on October 27, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, EDUCATIONAL, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


        mummyemebed

        Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

        A 2,400-year-old "Siberian Ice Maiden" apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
        Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the "Princess of Ukok," were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
        "’I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer," one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. "She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact."
        The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a "cosmetics bag."
        "Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity," another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. "And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath."
        Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        U.S. Marijuana Party of Kentucky

        Posted on October 26, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


        ORIGINAL USMJPARTY (2)

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Seattle sends warning letters to medical pot shops

        Posted on October 24, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


        SEATTLE (AP) – The city of Seattle is warning more than 300 medical marijuana businesses that their days could be numbered.

        Officials have sent letters to medical marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries reminding them they need to either shut down or be licensed by the state by next summer.

        The problem is that the Legislature hasn’t yet created a licensing system to allow sales of medical marijuana.

        How to regulate pot for medical use is expected to be a hot topic when lawmakers go back into session in January. Officials fear the unregulated cannabis is competing with Washington’s new, highly taxed recreational market.

        Some lawmakers, including Rep. Chris Hurst, an Enumclaw Democrat who heads the House committee that oversees the marijuana industry, have urged the city to crack down on its proliferation of medical pot shops, and the U.S. attorney’s offices in Seattle and Spokane have long said the state’s unregulated medical pot system isn’t tenable.

        The Seattle City Council voted last year to give medical marijuana businesses that opened before Nov. 16, 2013, time to obtain state licenses, anticipating that the Legislature would adopt such a licensing scheme. But it also said medical pot dispensaries opening after that date would not be tolerated.

        Nevertheless, dozens have opened in the city since then, city records show. In their letters this month, two city departments – Planning and Development, and Finance and Administrative Services – warned: "If you began operating after November 16, 2013 and do not have a state issued license, you are in violation of city law and can be subject to enforcement action."

        The letters worried medical marijuana advocates who say they fear patients will have a harder time finding cannabis.

        "We’re urging the Legislature to adopt a legal framework that can allow the two programs – adult use and medical – to exist side-by-side," said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. "In the meantime, the city of Seattle should back off its stringent stance on requiring medical marijuana businesses to obtain a license that doesn’t yet exist."

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Hemp grown in Kentucky to be tried as horse bedding

        Posted on October 23, 2014. Filed under: Industrial HEMP, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS |


         

        15890419-cannabis-leaf-isolated-on-white-background

         

         

        Follow us: @HorsetalkNZ on Twitter | Horsetalk on Facebook

        Some of the harvest from industrial hemp crops grown in Kentucky as part of a pilot program will be tried out for stable bedding.

        Seeds were released to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in time for late-May and early-June planting.

        The trial involved the planting of 13 different varieties to assess their performance and the quality of the fiber produced.

        It is understood most of the fields have just been harvested in the trial, which has used the skills of tertiary institutions across Kentucky.

        Researchers intend to assess the crop for a variety of uses, including as stable bedding for horses. Some of the crop will be tested for use in textiles and biofuels

        Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/10/21/hemp-grown-kentucky-horse-bedding/#ixzz3GwcYF1HV

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Despite costly U.S. effort, Afghan poppy cultivation hits new high

        Posted on October 21, 2014. Filed under: Drug War, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


        By Reuters

        Published: 23:01 EST, 20 October 2014 | Updated: 23:01 EST, 20 October 2014

        Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

        By David Alexander

        WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013 despite years of counter-narcotics efforts that have cost the United States $7.6 billion, the U.S. government watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction spending said on Tuesday.

        The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghan farmers grew an "unprecedented" 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous high of 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007, said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

        "In past years, surges in opium poppy cultivation have been met by a coordinated response from the U.S. government and coalition partners, which has led to a temporary decline in levels of opium production," Sopko said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other top U.S. officials.

        "The recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of those prior efforts," he said.

        Afghanistan produces more than 80 percent of the world’s illicit opium, and profits from the illegal trade help fund the Taliban insurgency. U.S. government officials blame poppy production for fueling corruption and instability, undermining good government and subverting the legal economy.

        The United States has spent $7.6 billion on counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan since launching the programs following the start of the 2001 war, it said.

        Sopko said the U.N. drug office estimated the value of poppy cultivation and opium products produced in Afghanistan in 2013 at about $3 billion, a 50 percent increase over the $2 billion estimated in 2012.

        "With deteriorating security in many parts of Afghanistan and low levels of eradication of poppy fields, further increases in cultivation are likely in 2014," Sopko said in the letter.

        He said affordable deep-well technology brought to Afghanistan over the past decade had enabled Afghans to turn 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land, much of it devoted to poppy production.

        The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, in a letter responding to the findings, said the rise in poppy cultivation and decline in eradication efforts by provincial authorities was "disappointing news." It said U.S. officials were helping Afghans develop the ability to lead and manage a long-term counter-narcotics effort.

        The embassy said the fight against poppy cultivation had had an impact on growers, resulting in a change in where the crop is planted.

        "Essentially, poppy cultivation has shifted from areas where government presence is broadly supported and security has improved, toward more remote and isolated areas where governance is weak and security is inadequate," it said.

        Michael Lumpkin, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, said in a response letter that the Pentagon had supported counter-narcotics operations by other U.S. government agencies but was not responsible for managing poppy eradication programs.

        "In our opinion, the failure to reduce poppy cultivation and increase eradication is due to the lack of Afghan government support for the effort," Lumpkin said. (Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2801111/Despite-costly-U-S-effort-Afghan-poppy-cultivation-hits-new-high.html#ixzz3Gp3QqGkw
        Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Report: Hitler was on crystal meth

        Posted on October 19, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


        Originally posted on This "IS" Hell and I can see "YOU" from here!:

        AP Travel Trip Hitlers Munich

        (NEWSER) – Adolf Hitler apparently relied on a stunning array of drugs while ruling Nazi Germany, including one made popular by the show Breaking Bad: crystal meth.

        According to a 47-page U.S. military dossier, a physician filled the Fuhrer with barbiturate tranquilizers, morphine, bulls’ semen, a pill that contained crystal meth, and other drugs, depending on Hitler’s momentary needs, the Daily Mail reports. By this account, Hitler downed crystal meth before a 1943 meeting with Mussolini in which the Fuhrer ranted for two hours, and took nine shots of methamphetamine while living out his last days in his bunker.

        The dossier’s allegations will be considered in a British TV documentary this weekend called Hitler’s Hidden Drug Habit, the Times of Israel reports.

        Just who was Hitler’s dealer? Named Theodor Morell, he succeeded as a Berlin doctor despite his unconventional methods and controversial past. Revelations that he had treated…

        View original 132 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Amneal Undertakes Major Sales and Distribution Expansion in Kentucky

        Posted on October 18, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, Healthcare, LATEST NEWS, PHARMA | Tags: , , , , , |


        Published: Sept 23, 2014 4:31 p.m. ET

        Newly-leased space in Glasgow will nearly double size of current operations

        BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Sep 23, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC (www.amneal.com), one of the largest generic drug suppliers in the U.S., has signed a lease for a second location in Glasgow, Kentucky that will nearly double the size of its national sales and distribution center.

        Tony Hodges, Vice President for Global Logistics, discussed Amneal’s latest growth plans in the state at a Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce breakfast on September 12. The company was honored as the 2014 Industry of the Year, chosen by Chamber members, during the event.

        Amneal acquired the lease at 40 Aberdeen Drive in the former Carhartt Building from Aphena Pharma Solutions, a medication packaging firm and Amneal supplier, which announced it will cease operations in Glasgow at the end of the month. The building will be refurbished to create a 120,000 sq. ft. warehouse and 6,000 sq. ft. of offices to support logistics. When the expansion is complete, the company’s Glasgow operations will occupy a total of 221,000 sq. ft.

        Since 2007, Amneal’s Kentucky sales and distribution capabilities have grown dramatically (see Figure 1 here). Upon acquiring Akyma Pharmaceuticals that year, the company moved into its 3,000 sq. ft. offices at 104 Hippocrates Way and 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse in nearby Fountain Run. In 2010 Amneal consolidated distribution logistics and sales operations in-state rather than relocating these critical functions near its headquarters and manufacturing plants in metro New York by leasing a much-larger 115,000 sq. ft. facility at 118 Beaver Trail.

        Amneal has invested over $6.6 million in Glasgow and created jobs for 80 Kentuckians to date, exceeding this year’s goal. Figure 2 (view here) shows actual employment growth from 2008-2014. Once the Aberdeen Drive expansion is complete, the generic maker will employ over 90 local residents.

        For its earlier project, Amneal secured multi-year tax incentives through the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) and the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program. The company also obtained an economic development loan from the Glasgow/Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority, forgivable if agreed-upon headcount growth commitments are met. The KEDFA/KBI grant and Glasgow/Barren County loan were key factors in Amneal’s decision to remain and expand in Kentucky.

        Although the financial incentives Amneal has received over the past several years are important, the company is also reaffirming its commitment to Glasgow due to its people.

        “From our first opportunity to get to know Akyma’s employees prior to acquiring that business, we have been impressed with the work ethic, integrity, common sense, commitment to success and positive attitude of Kentucky’s citizens,” said Jim Luce, Amneal’s Executive Vice President-Sales & Marketing, who oversees the entire Kentucky operation. “The economic incentives definitely played a critical role in our decision to continue growing in Kentucky, though incentives and nice buildings aren’t worth anything without superb people. And finding all three in Glasgow, it was easy to commit our long term future here.”

        About Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC

        Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC is a U.S.-based manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals. Known as “Generic’s New Generation,” Amneal prides itself on its unwavering commitment to quality, meaningful business relationships, and innovative approach to maximizing value for all stakeholders. Extensive investment in R&D, an intelligently aggressive expansion strategy, and focus on vertical integration are key contributors to the company’s impressive growth over the past several years. Amneal is headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey with manufacturing, R&D, packaging, sales and distribution facilities throughout the U.S., as well as abroad. For more information, visit www.amneal.com.

        SOURCE: Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC

        Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC
        Jim Luce
        Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing
        M: 949-500-5756
        jim@amneal.com
        www.amneal.com
        or
        Cheryl Lechok Communications, LLC
        Cheryl Lechok
        President
        Dir: 203-961-9280
        M: 203-613-1506
        clechok@optonline.net

         

        LIST OF PRODUCTS AVAILABLE – SEE HERE

        CONTINUE READING….

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        What was the secret Air Force space plane’s mission? Five theories (+video)

        Posted on October 18, 2014. Filed under: Federal Government, LATEST NEWS | Tags: |


        After nearly two years orbiting Earth, the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane landed in California. What was the mysterious spacecraft doing in while in orbit?

        By Elizabeth Howell, LiveScience October 17, 2014

        Mysterious ‘space Plane’ Lands In California

        After spending nearly two years in orbit on a secret mission, the U.S. Air Force‘s mysterious X-37B space plane landed today (Oct. 17) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unmanned, reusable vehicle logged an unprecedented 675 days in space, but very little is known about the record-setting flight….

        The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, touched down at the Vandenberg Air Force Base today at 9:24 a.m. local Pacific Time (12:24 p.m. EDT). It was the third in a series of flights that the Air Force has conducted using its two X-37B planes.

        This most recent flight, called OTV-3, was the third one to make it into orbit and was the longest mission, at 675 days.  The program’s inaugural mission launched in April 2010 and lasted 225 days. The space plane’s second mission lasted 469 days. [Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 7 Declassified Military & CIA Secrets]

        Recommended: Are you scientifically literate? Take our quiz

        "I’m extremely proud of our team for coming together to execute this third safe and successful landing," Col. Keith Balts, commander of the 30th Space Wing, headquartered at Vandenberg, said in a statement.

        But what has the space plane actually been doing in orbit? The top-secret nature of the X-37B missions has sparked a number of conspiracy theories. Here are some ideas about the X-37B’s purpose:

        Surveillance

        While the United States military has plenty of surveillance satellites in orbit, some people have suggested that the X-37B has high-tech monitoring gear designed to keep an eye on certain regions of Earth. "X-37B is probably carrying prototype reconnaissance gear, for spying on the Middle East and other sensitive geopolitical regions," said ExtremeTech.com. So what’s the advantage of using a space plane to spy instead of a satellite? The plane likely can move to a region of interest faster than a satellite can, Business Week reported, although others have pointed out that the fuel requirements for doing this would likely be prohibitive.

        Space bombing

        While conspiracy theorists have jumped on this notion, Popular Mechanics dumped cold water on the idea. "Changing a spacecraft’s orbital plane requires a great amount of thrust — so using something like the X-37B as a bomber would mean changing its orbit to fly over targets, and that would eat up its limited fuel supply," Popular Mechanics stated, quoting University of Maryland professor Mark Lewis, a former Air Force chief scientist.

        Interfering with other satellites

        Another idea is that the X-37B is, in the style of James Bond, supposed to take out other satellites that are making the U.S. government nervous. But, unless the plane is somehow conducting these nefarious activities from far away while not moving around very much, some suggest this is unlikely. "It would be very easy to trace that sort of activity back to the U.S. government since governments and amateurs alike can easily track the X-37B," the Daily Beast reported.

        Spying on the Chinese space station

        Just before the X-37B launched, BBC and Spacefllight Magazine published reports suggesting that the orbit of the vehicle is close enough to watch what’s going on with China’s Tiangong-1 space station. Space analyst Jim Oberg, however, told BBC that this would be impossible. "They are in orbits which cross the equator about 90 degrees apart. They crisscross each others’ paths at thousands of meters per second. Any observation from one to the other is impossible," he said.

        Deploying spy satellites

        Perhaps instead of interfering with satellites, the X-37B sends out its own. The space plane’s 2011 mission, at the least, carried it over the same regions of the Earth repeatedly, similar to the motions of satellites, so perhaps it released probes into a similar orbit. In a New York Times report, several amateur observers watching the space plane said that it flies over the same area of the planet every four days, which is expected of a reconnaissance satellite.

        Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Democrats are pulling out of the Kentucky Senate race. Here’s why that’s important.

        Posted on October 16, 2014. Filed under: KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , |


        By Chris Cillizza October 14

        Roll Call newspaper — Fix alum! – broke the news Tuesday afternoon: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped its TV advertising for the final three weeks in the Kentucky Senate race.

        That decision effectively leaves Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes on her own and is rightly read as a sign that national Democrats believe the race is effectively over.

        "The DSCC has now spent more than two million in Kentucky and continues to make targeted investments in the ground game while monitoring the race for future investments, but is currently not on the air in the state," confirmed a DSCC official.

        The DSCC’s decision to pull out of Kentucky, a race in which they had spent months insisting was closer than most public polls showed it, is a recognition that in a year in which the Senate map and the national political climate are tilted against them, the party’s best chances to hold the majority now rests in trying to hold onto their endangered incumbents.

        One Democratic strategist closely following the Kentucky race insists that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is still beatable but that Senate Democrats have to prioritize sitting Senators at this point in the election cycle. "The DSCC action is less about the viability of the race, and probably the recognition that, in tough years the priority — in the House AND the Senate — is protecting the incumbents," said the source. "In other words, defense not offense."

        Another Democratic consultant tracking the McConnell-Grimes contest largely agreed, noting that pulling money out of Kentucky means "you can play in Georgia, which is within the margin and the trend lines are going the right way, expand buys in Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana, which are all neck and neck, and then gamble on a wildcard like South Dakota."

        That same Roll Call story noted that the DSCC had just bought its first advertising time of the election cycle in Georgia where Michelle Nunn (D) remains surprisingly competitive against businessman David Perdue (R). And, last week the DSCC dropped $1 million in South Dakota, a Democratic open seat race where former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is underperforming and former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler, who is running as an independent, and former congressional candidate Rick Weiland (D) are now within striking distance.

        All of the DSCC’s moves come as its Republican counterpart — the National Republican Senatorial Committee –  is spending an additional $7.4 million on ad buys in six states: South Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and New Hampshire. Last week, the NRSC announced it was pulling its TV commitment from Michigan’s open seat.

        The reality of the Kentucky Senate race is that the electorate is simply locked in, polarized to the point where persuadable voters are non-existent. "McConnell has consistently held a mid-single digit lead which in a race that is so well-litigated there are very few movable voters," said one Democratic operative. "Plus, its Kentucky." (President Obama won just 38 percent in the state in 2012 and his approval numbers there nowadays would be lucky to break 30.)

        In short, this was a difficult race from the start that got even more difficult when a) McConnell dispatched a tea party primary opponent with relative ease and b) Obama’s numbers in the state never stopped trending downward.  It’s uniquely possible that Grimes could lose by only a point or two — at which point the second guessing of the DSCC’s decision would begin in earnest. But, getting Grimes to 48 percent is easy; getting her over 50 percent in an election cycle like this one in a state like Kentucky is a lot less easy. All of the election models had begun to agree on this point; probabilities of a McConnell win ranged from 75 percent to better than 99 percent in the three main models.

        With Kentucky now effectively off the map, the Senate playing field is now comprised almost entirely of Democratic -held seats. (Georgia’s open seat and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts are the two exceptions.) If you assume Democratic-held open seats in West Virginia and Montana are gone and that South Dakota remains a long shot, then Democrats need to find a way to win four of these six races: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and New Hampshire.  If they are able to upset Roberts in Kansas, they need to split those six races to keep the majority.

        That’s a tall task. How tall? President Obama averaged 45.6 percent of the vote in those six states in 2012 even while he was winning reelection convincingly.

        Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Former governor comments on Ebola and marijuana

        Posted on October 15, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana |


        Originally posted on KRQE News 13:

        [anvplayer video="362374" /]

        ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The one-time presidential candidate who is now in the medical marijuana business said pot could be the answer for Ebola. Former Governor Gary Johnson first made comments about marijuana and Ebola on the FOX Business Network on Monday.

        “We actually believe we have efficacy with regard to treating Ebola,” Johnson said before the anchor stopped him.

        Someone posted the video online, saying it’s an example of a marijuana advocate getting carried away.

        “You want to make it easier for people to use cannabis and apply it to Ebola… not as a cure,” Stuart Varney said, hosting the program.

        “No, potentially as an actual cure,” Johnson responded.

        Potentially, but Johnson told KRQE on the phone Tuesday, he is not saying it is the cure.

        “No one is making this claim,” he said. “There are those that would love to have the opportunity to provide this…

        View original 112 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Let’s talk about “corporate cannabis”…

        Posted on October 15, 2014. Filed under: Activists Opinions, LATEST NEWS, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , , , |


         

        1412462694814

         

        In the last few years the corporate agenda has led the legalization movement of cannabis right thru the processes of capitalism, all nice, and tied up with a pretty bow on the “bag”.

        There is a serious problem with this.

        First of all I am not anti-capitalist.  In fact it would be my pleasure to be able to walk in my local town drug store and purchase an ounce of Herb and pay the taxes on that purchase as well.

        I would probably be the first person in line in Cave City when the store opened if that were possible.  I would also love to see a Cannabis Café on the corner of  Broadway and First Street. 

        That being said I can compare the legalization of corporate cannabis with the “Wet” vote that just passed in my town. 

        Before the town went “wet” there were a couple/few people around the area that served the locals occasionally.  Yes, it is illegal, but in my opinion it shouldn’t be because taxes have already

        been paid on that product by the “bootlegger” when he bought it from the store.   At any rate, the people who “served” us were good people and were hurting no one.  They were just trying to

        get by day by day like most of the rest of us and provide a service.  Point is, now that the town is “wet” there will be no more business for the “bootlegger” who is just a small town

        person trying to make a dollar…not a million dollars.  Although this is not a totally accurate comparison because alcohol is already taxed and regulated it is still illegal for someone to buy and

        resell or even serve someone alcohol in this county with the exception of a couple of wet restaurants we had previously.

        I find it ironic that a city could legalize alcohol consumption in a couple of restaurants, with the purchase of an alcohol license of course, even though that the county itself remains dry. 

        Corporate cannabis will not give us the right to grow for personal use,or to be able to sell at the vegetable market like fresh oregano, catnip, white sage, etc.,

        If we continue to “legalize” in the current fashion only corporate driven companies will be allowed access to the growth, processing and marketing of cannabis much the same as alcohol is now.

        The “legalize, tax and regulate”  push was very convenient for corporate America. 

        That is why that either repeal or re-legalization must be the avenue we take to ensure that we have our own personal rights to this plant restored.  If “legalize, tax and regulate” wins we will loose

        our rights to this plant forever.  Laches will rule.

        Another thing to consider is the fact that just because something is produced in a corporate environment does not necessarily mean that it is a good product.

        Look at all the recalls that have been issued on the cars we drive everyday which were issues that have proven to be fatal in a lot of instances. 

        With a new market emerging such as the one we have with cannabis is it imperative that we retain our own personal rights to the plant AND that any corporate products which are

        produced and sold from cannabis are ensured to be safe whether it be for medical or recreational purposes.  And just like the farmer’s market on Saturdays it will be “buyer beware”

        when purchasing home grown or made items. 

        Be smart.  Do not give up your personal rights in order to let the government regulate everything and then assume because it is government regulated that it is safe. 

        Just read the side effects on prescriptions.  That right there will explain to you how interested the government is in your safety.  Regulation although needed in some

        form or fashion cannot be relied upon to ensure your safety when purchasing or using any type of food or prescription medicine or herbal remedies.  So don’t let them take away

        your personal rights under the guise of health and safety regulations.  That is just a farce. 

        Cannabis/Hemp is a wonderful plant that can be used for so many things.  It is a treasure that God gave us to use.  We need to make sure the government does not take yet another

        human right away from us.  If the laws governing cannabis/hemp are completely repealed then it will be free for everyone.   I can put my “flower” in the kitchen window and

        Pharma’s can produce their own version of cannabis medicines, as well the recreational use will support many café’s, etc., 

        Freedom for everyone to use and enjoy… and be thankful for.

        Fight for freedom from the prohibition of your freedoms!

        smk

        *A Project CBD Special Report on Medical Marijuana Inc., HempMeds & Kannaway

        *George Soros’ real crusade: Legalizing marijuana in the U.S.

        * America’s Drug Companies Are Bankrolling The Crusade Against Legal Weed

        *Investing in MJ

        *Inexco Mining (C.IMC): Canadian medical marijuana goes worldwide

        *Medical marijuana update: Organigram certified organic

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

        Re: Ebola and other life threatening virus’

        Posted on October 13, 2014. Filed under: Activists Opinions, EBOLA, LATEST NEWS, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


         

         

         

        I do not know how well any of you are following the health news day to day but it has not been good for quite a while now.

        I previously wrote a story concerning the 1918 “Flu Pandemic” which as it turns out was biological warfare.  The reason I was

        so interested in the subject is that my Grandmother, whom I never had the chance to meet, died in 1919 of the “Flu Pandemic”.

        I did not come to be until 1960.  My Father was 18 month’s old when she succumb to this horrible “Flu”.

         

        EBOLA has been unleashed, by whatever means – either naturally  or the planned demise of yet another group of people – and “it”,

        like the killer virus of 1918 knows no boundary’s.  

        There are also other virus’ on the rise which are a real threat as well.  The main three are:

        EBOLA Virus

        Enterovirus 68

        Marbergs Virus

        This is a very serious situation and I hope everyone is paying close attention and planning to take appropriate precautions when

        deemed necessary.

        A “facebook friend” of mine named Moses N. lives in Uganda, Africa.  After not having heard from him for a while I sent him a message

        to see how things were.  The reply was:

        October 2nd, 6:54am

        hi sweelie how are you

        STILL ALIVE – DONT FEEL GREAT – WORRYING ABOUT THIS EBOLA THING GOING ON…ITS HERE IN THE US NOW.

        stay safe sweet love u so much

        THANKS U TOO – WE WILL KEEP IN TOUCH AS LONG AS WE CAN.. SEND ME MESS EACH DAY.

        i will dia

        Friday 2:42pm

        Hey, just checking on you over there….Ebola??? It’s not looking good from any side. Other stuff going on too. Please stay safe – take care of yourself and as many as you can….Peace/Luv

        9 hours ago

        hi

        THERE you are!

        You doing alright over there?

        Are YOU SICK????

        I saw your status update – please mess me so i know your still with us! Much Love to you and all…

        Chat Conversation End

        (Mose’s highlighted in yellow)

        Note that the last thing he said to me was “hi”… This is NOT his usual way of greeting me as you can see from a previous conversation…

        The most heart wrenching was his status which reads: 

        Moses Nkangi

        11 hrs ·

        maberg is now here in uganda.Ebola is on the door knocking banange stop shaking hands to each other (broken english)

        I have not gotten any further messages from him and have been watching to see if he is o.k.

         

        So there it is, straight from Uganda to me – Marberg is there and so is Ebola – what next?

        Please join me in saying a prayer to your creator for these people in their (and our) hour of need.

         

        DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY!     IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

        EBOLA on Wikipedia

        Marbergs on Wikipedia

        Enterovirus68 on Wikipedia

        1918 Flu Pandemic on Wikipedia

        Now look at these related articles:

        2002 American Medical Association study concludes Ebola and Marberg best bio-weapons choice for use against populace -

        Mathematics of the Ebola outbreak reveal near-impossibility of global containment: it’s already too late

        Have ‘FEMA coffins’ been stockpiled to meet CDC requirements for disposing of bodies during a pandemic?

        The man who discovered Ebola on why this epidemic spiraled out of control

        Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads

         

        Be aware and be prepared!  What is actually going on is usually not reported on the evening news!

        smk.

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Mexican drug lord’s home gets raided. Cash everywhere. (20 Photos)

        Posted on October 13, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


        Originally posted on theCHIVE:

        [chivegallery size="full" columns="1"]

        View original

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Beginning American History Clarified

        Posted on October 13, 2014. Filed under: Activists Opinions, LATEST NEWS, Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears |


        Originally posted on ShereeKrider:

        1557675_653410114705843_96238415_n

        January 22, 2014 at 12:28am

        Written by: Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears

        mary

        Christopher Columbus delivered penal colonies = out cast of convicts and prisoners consisting of murderers and rapists… to the New Nation, because the Crown had divorced them.

        How many of us understand or know that part of the story? This is one reason why that they had no problems with killing American Natives to take what they wanted.

        While we have been taught that the founding fathers were here to divorce Great Britain… Nice twist isn’t it?

        We were told the Boston Tea Party was about freeing us from Taxation with out representation handed down by the Crown through Imports also. Although we are now Double Taxed all the way to the grave through the Crown.

        So how did this happen?

        You should ask the Vatican.

        You say you do not know what I am talking about… “through the…

        View original 2,472 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        The morning after

        Posted on October 11, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


        Originally posted on stevenhager420:

        Lincoln debates Wade-Davis with Radical before his pocket veto.

        Lincoln debates Wade-Davis with Radicals before his pocket veto.

        Look in the shadows around the edges of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and you might find some useful information. I find the meeting at Ben Wade’s the morning after pretty fascinating.

        Although Lincoln had been elevated to the Presidency by a shaky alliance of two dozen Republican Congressmen and Cabinet members, and he went along with their War to End Slavery, he refused to follow their tack when it came to treating the South as a banana republic with zero representation and tons of new taxation afterwards, which is why he vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill and was planning a secret peace agreement.

        Lincoln had just started his second term when the war drew to a close, which meant he was going to be in control for a long time. And that is why Lincoln had to go.

        Thaddeus Stevens is often…

        View original 276 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        The CBD Cannabis Root Experience

        Posted on October 9, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, LATEST NEWS |


        Originally posted on twicebaked in washington:

        IMG_1020

        This week I was given a totally different way to try cannabis. Dried, activated, aeroponically grown cannabis root. I’d never heard of such a thing either. I was told it was super high in CBDs (cannabidiol): the anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive, antibacterial, antispasmodic (among other things) part of cannabis that makes it such a valuable medicine. I was also told that I would not be getting high from this and that it would counteract the effects of  any medicine that had THC in it. I was ready to try it.

        IMG_1009

        There were two things that I wanted to experiment with. First, I wanted to see how it affected me and if it was good for pain and discomfort. Second, I wanted to see if the CBD root would actually counteract a dose of THC.

        I will be honest and tell you that I kind of did my experimenting a little backward. I…

        View original 338 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes are vying to be coal’s true champion. But are they merely perpetuating an industry’s mythology?

        Posted on October 8, 2014. Filed under: Coal Mining, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Political |


        How Kentucky’s struggling miners view the country’s most expensive Senate race

        By Luke Mullins October 2, 2014 6:00 AM Yahoo News

         

        These days, Bobby Spare feels like the last man standing.

        The 59-year-old engineer began working in eastern Kentucky’s coal fields 38 years ago, like his father and grandfather before him. With nothing more than a high school diploma, Spare landed a job with a local mining company and soon earned his engineer’s license. It was a fickle industry; bonuses one year, pink slips the next. But for nearly four decades, it provided a stable, middle-class living for Spare and his six children. Even during the tough years, Spare never lost faith that coal would keep the region’s economy afloat. Today, however, he isn’t so sure.

        The headquarters of B&W Resources, the mining company Spare works for, is a one-story building in Clay County, a verdant slice of Kentucky carved out of the Appalachian foothills. Trucks carrying up to 42 tons of coal rumble past the office and dump their cargo into 100-foot-high piles. Inside the building, Spare fixes himself a cup of coffee and explains that he’s never seen the industry so defeated. Coal production in eastern Kentucky has plummeted to its lowest levels in a half-century, and nearly half of the region’s mining jobs have vanished since midyear 2011. The collapse has been particularly painful here in Clay County, which, according to the New York Times, "just might be the hardest place to live in the United States," on account of its high unemployment, meager household incomes, and short life expectancies. It’s one of the poorest counties in the nation.

        “It’s an important election. You might not be able to
        fix the business, but you can probably stop it
        from getting worse.” – Bobby Spare

        For Spare, the root cause of the meltdown is obvious. "Federal regulations coming out of Washington," he says. "They’re really making it tough to stay in business." So he’s paying close attention to the upcoming Senate race, which, Spare believes, could be the last chance to save coal communities from extinction. "It’s an important election," he says. "You might not be able to fix the business, but you can probably stop it from getting worse."

        Amid public dissatisfaction with President Obama and the direction of the country, the 2014 midterm elections have emerged as a high-stakes battle for control of the U.S. Congress. And while every inch of the electoral map remains precious, no campaign has garnered more attention than the showdown in the Bluegrass State. A victory for Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is essential to the GOP’s plans to take over Congress and install the 72-year-old lawmaker as Senate majority leader. But the race also offers Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a 35-year-old Democrat, the opportunity to knock off the five-term incumbent and leading obstacle to Obama’s agenda. Interest in the election has stretched far beyond coal country; individuals and outside groups are reportedly on track to pour more than $100 million into the campaign, which would make it the most expensive Senate race in American history.

        "Having both Senate control and the majority leader position at stake has made the McConnell-Grimes race the highest-profile this year," says Nathan Gonzales, of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.

        The election may very well hinge on a single question: Which candidate do voters trust will help coal workers like Bobby Spare? Both sides have prominently featured coal workers in televised ads and blasted Obama’s "war on coal," as they muscle to position themselves as the industry’s true champion. Grimes’s campaign calls McConnell an out-of-touch creature of Washington who sat idly by as Kentucky’s coal mines atrophied. McConnell’s supporters argue that putting Grimes in the Senate would give President Obama another liberal ally for his anti-coal crusade.

        Crushed coal at a B&W Resources mining company Pre plant in Clay County, Kentucky September 19, 2014. (Photograph by Chris Usher for Yahoo News)

        Crushed coal at a B&W Resources mining company preparation plant in Clay County, Kentucky, Sept. 19, 2014. (Photograph …

        Coal’s starring role in the season’s most anticipated campaign underscores a fundamental tension at the heart of Kentucky politics. Although once the linchpin of the state’s economy, the coal industry has deteriorated beyond recognition. Today, coal-mining jobs represent less than 1 percent of Kentucky’s employment base; if every employed coal miner in the state took a seat inside the University of Kentucky’s basketball stadium, about half of the arena would remain empty. And there’s nothing in the near-term outlook to alter the industry’s trajectory. Still, Kentucky’s coal fields remain as important to the state’s cultural identity as horses and bourbon, and news of mass layoffs and shuttered mines has only enhanced coal’s political power. As a result, politicians like McConnell and Grimes have designed their campaigns to perpetuate the coal mythology, rather than address the most pressing needs of communities like Clay County.

        When the telephone rings, Chad Thompson grabs the receiver and listens intently.

        "Was it methamphetamines or barbiturates?" he asks.

        “Coal has just died here, and we haven’t replaced
        it with anything.” – Chad Thompson

        The caller explains that her son has been arrested for drug use; she’s terrified and confused. Thompson jots down her son’s name and number, and he promises to contact him with information about treatment. "I understand completely what you guys are going through," Thompson says. "We’ll get him leveled out."

        As the head of Clay County’s government-funded substance abuse program, Thompson fields calls like this all day long. Drugs "just took over this town," Thompson says. Pain pills, such as oxycodone and Percocet, were for years the option of choice. But in recent months, Thompson has seen a disturbing trend toward more illicit drugs, like crystal meth and heroin. Once the locals get a taste of the hard stuff, he says, "it’s not going to be pretty."

        Thompson knows what he’s talking about. He began smoking pot at age 12 and by his early 20s he was stealing scrap metal from his family’s mining supply company to finance his habit of pain pills and cocaine. It was only after his best friend died of an overdose that he got clean and received approval from the local government to launch the substance-abuse program. For Thompson, who has lived in Clay County his whole life, the drug epidemic is little more than a symptom of the crippling despair that now permeates the area.

         

        Portrait of Chad Thompson in his grandfather’s coal mining equipment repair business, which has been closed for …

        "There’s nothing here," he says. "Coal was it, man."

        Although tiny Clay County, population 21,000, was never a coal-mining mecca like nearby Harlan or Pike Counties, the industry long served as its economic backbone, employing an average of more than 1,500 mine workers annually from 1975 to 1990. "There were coal companies here that had 500 employees all by themselves," says Robert Stivers, the Republican president of the Kentucky State Senate, who grew up in Clay County. For years, Stivers says, pickup trucks crowded convenience store parking lots each morning, as workers purchased their traditional miners’ lunches of bologna sandwiches, MoonPies, and cans of Pepsi. By December 1994, the local unemployment rate was just a touch above the national average.

        Coal jobs paid high wages and required little training, so many young men dropped out of high school to work in the mines. "There was very little education," says Frank O’Connor, an economics professor at Eastern Kentucky University. "There was an attitude that ‘I can go work in the mines and get good money, so why spend my time going to school?’" But coal did more than put clothes on the backs of residents. Clay County officials used coal-tax revenues to fund infrastructure projects, like building a new water treatment plant, a county executive office building, and an emergency response center, Stivers says. "We were doing really well until about five years ago," he says. "Then it just stopped."

        Over the past several decades, advances in mechanized drilling technology made the industry less dependent upon workers. "We [still] pull a lot of coal out of the ground; what’s changed is how we do it," says Christopher R. Bollinger, a University of Kentucky economics professor. "We don’t do it with a lot of guys climbing down a hole anymore." Meanwhile, the reserves of easily accessible coal in eastern Kentucky hollowed out.

         

        A power station at the intersection of routes 80 and 66 in Clay County, Kentucky, Sept. 19, 2014. (Photograph by …

        Then, in the early 2000s, energy companies began widespread use of a novel drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — to access natural gas reserves that had previously been locked deep underground. The resulting boom in production drove down natural gas prices, creating a cheap alternative to coal. At the same time, the Obama administration’s environmental regulations made coal more expensive to mine and less attractive for power plants to burn. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency tightened the permitting guidelines for new coal mines in eastern Kentucky, making it harder to open additional mines. And in 2014 the agency proposed a rule forcing existing coal-fired power plants to slash carbon-dioxide emissions. Together, these free-market and political forces enabled cleaner-burning natural gas to undercut coal’s standing as America’s go-to source of energy. By 2012, for the first time in history, natural gas was generating just as much electricity as coal.

        As production plunged, the flow of coal-tax revenues to eastern Kentucky dropped roughly 35 percent from 2011 to 2013. Laid-off miners couldn’t find work because of their limited educations. And with few other employers in the area, the jobless rate in Clay County surged above 15 percent by February 2013. Many locals began drawing government assistance and found comfort in drugs. Thompson has kept written records on 120 Clay County residents who have been through his substance abuse program over the past year. Half of them haven’t finished high school, and not a single one has a job. "Coal has just died here, and we haven’t replaced it with anything," he says.

        “To lay a good man off?
        Oh, God, it’s hard to sleep
        at night. Because you’re
        not just laying him off,
        you’re laying off his
        wife and children.” – John Liperote

        From 2008 to 2012, the median household income in Clay County was just $22,000, leaving one in three residents below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census. Only 7 percent of Clay County residents over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher; the national rate is 29 percent. Almost half of women in Clay County are obese, while the life expectancy of area men is seven years shorter than the national average, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

        Today, cars with bumper stickers reading "If You Don’t Like Coal, Don’t Use Electricity" drive past empty storefronts along the main drag of Manchester, Kentucky, the seat of Clay County’s government. Law enforcement choppers buzz the surrounding mountains in search of marijuana growers. About the only way for Clay County residents to build a better life is to move elsewhere — a possibility that Thompson, who is married and has a young son, is reluctantly considering. "I love it here, I want to be buried up in those hills," he says. "But I don’t know if I can stay."

         

        This coal silo or tipple, which was closed down in 1990, was where coal was stored, then put into train cars — …

        Twelve hundred feet up in the eastern Kentucky mountains, LJ Bowling drives his pickup truck along a winding dirt path and comes to a stop at the mining site. A hulking machine, known as a "superior highwall miner," presses its massive drill into the side of the mountain, shaves coal onto a conveyer belt, and carries it into the daylight. Workmen wear earplugs to protect themselves from the deafening schunk schunk schunk, as forklift operators load the black minerals onto trucks.

        Bowling, a B&W Resources mining site manager, says the $8 million machine has become increasingly useful given the current regulatory environment. The highwall miner can access coal seams without having to remove the entire mountaintop, like traditional strip mining requires. As a result, regulators are more willing to approve hightop mining projects. "This is supposed to be the future," Bowling says.

        The emergence of highwall mining is just one way that President Obama’s regulatory agenda has become a present — and troubling — part of life for eastern Kentucky’s coal workers. In the 1970s, the permitting process for new mines took between 30 and 60 days, coal workers say. Today, thanks in part to the Obama administration’s more detailed permitting requirements, the waiting could last a year — or more. Woody Asher, B&W Resources director of engineering, says he’s seen permit applications hung up for as long as five years. "When you can’t get a permit from the EPA, you can’t work," he says. Many coal companies now hire outside consultants to ensure their applications comply with the new permitting requirements, which puts additional downward pressure on profits. Regulators occasionally appear at mine sites and hassle workers over trivial issues, Bowling says. "It seems like a personal vendetta," he says.

        Coal workers in Clay County see little nuance in the factors behind the industry’s decline. "When you see Obama trying to take the coal industry down to its knees, it really hurts," says Greg Caldwell, a B&W Resources leasing agent.

        “Barack Obama has been a disaster. I guess that’s what we get for electing someone with no experience. He was only two years into his first big job when he started campaigning for the next one. Sound familiar?” – Mitch McConnell

        Obama is wildly unpopular in Kentucky. In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney took 61 percent of the state’s vote, carrying 116 out of 120 counties. Nearly half of residents strongly disapprove of Obama’s job performance. Kentucky’s socially conservative voters are turned off by Obama’s liberal agenda but also, in some cases, by his race. Al Cross, political columnist and professor at the University of Kentucky, says his review of exit polls from the 2008 presidential election shows that about 15 percent of Kentucky’s electorate voted on some sort of racial basis. "Most of that was white racism because we were only 7 percent black in this state," Cross says. And even though he’s not on the ballot, the president has become a towering figure in Kentucky’s fiercely contested Senate race.

        Instead of a technical debate over coal policy differences, the McConnell-Grimes race has become a battle over who’s better positioned to stand up to the president. McConnell’s campaign has worked tirelessly to link Grimes to Obama. Grimes was elected as Kentucky’s secretary of state in 2011; it’s her first time in public office. "Barack Obama has been a disaster," McConnell told a cheering-and-jeering crowd in early August at an annual political picnic held at Fancy Farm, in western Kentucky. "I guess that’s what we get for electing someone with no experience. He was only two years into his first big job when he started campaigning for the next one. Sound familiar?" McConnell’s supporters argue that Grimes is an Obama ally who lacks both the standing and the inclination to block the president’s anti-coal agenda.

        View gallery

        .

         

        Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks to supporters while campaigning at a Rental Pro store during …

        Grimes has struggled to distance herself from Obama. "Senator, you seem to think that the president is on the ballot this year," Grimes said at the same event. "He’s not. This race is between me and you." It didn’t help that Grimes held a high-end fundraiser in April with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada and a vocal supporter of the president’s environmental policy. Although Grimes’s campaign pledged to use the event to draw attention to how federal regulations have hammered Kentucky’s fossil-fuel industry, a recording of her 11-minute speech, released by Politico, showed that she didn’t once say the word "coal."

        The Grimes campaign argues that McConnell fell asleep on the job during his three decades in Washington. The senator, Grimes’s supporters argue, has been more interested in inflaming partisan extremism than fighting to save Kentucky’s coal jobs. "When it comes to our Kentucky coal miners, well, Mitch McConnell doesn’t care," Grimes told the crowd at the Fancy Farm event.

        In recent years, coal issues have come to play an increasingly pivotal role in Kentucky politics. Just ask Ben Chandler. The four-term Democratic incumbent lost his House seat in 2012 after his Republican opponent, Andy Barr, blasted him for voting in favor of President Obama’s cap-and-trade bill, which was designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions from sources like coal. The tactic’s effectiveness was surprising because the 19-county congressional district did not have a single active coal mine.

        “Senator, you seem to think that the president is on the ballot this year. He’s not. This race is between me and you.” – Alison Lundergan Grimes

        The phenomenon has puzzled economists. After all, Kentucky’s economy is not nearly as dependent upon coal as McConnell’s and Grimes’s campaign ads suggest. At its peak in 1948, coal mining employed more than 75,000 people in Kentucky. But although the state remains the nation’s third largest coal producer, mining employment dipped below 12,000 by the end of 2013. Today, coal miners represent less than 1 percent of the state’s employment base. "To put it into perspective, do you know how many people work for the University of Kentucky? About 20,000," says Bollinger, the University of Kentucky economics professor. "So don’t tell me [that the coal industry is] huge." In Clay County, coal miners have been all but wiped off the map. By 2013 there was an average of only 56 still employed in the area.

        Moreover, as coal jobs have receded, the state’s economy has actually become healthier because it has expanded into other sectors like manufacturing, health care, and financial services. "A diversified economy is a better economy," Bollinger says. "Be careful about putting all your money on one horse, because that’s what Detroit did." Coal has certainly helped broaden the state’s economic footprint. Because the short distances from mines to power plants reduce transportation costs, Kentucky has the second lowest energy prices in the county. "This is the first thing Governor [Steve] Beshear brings up when he meets with any foreign or domestic company: If you come to Kentucky you will have reliable and affordable electricity," says Bill Bissett, the president of the Kentucky Coal Association.

        In addition, the focus on coal has overshadowed an issue that’s perhaps even more important to Clay County’s future: education. Only six in ten people in Clay County have a high school diploma; that’s significantly less than the national average, which is nearly nine out of 10 people. "The economy has changed and it’s changed toward higher skill workers," Bollinger says. "The entire country has kept up; Clay County hasn’t."

        View gallery

        .

         

        In this Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Kentucky Democratic Senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks to a …

        But in Kentucky, coal’s political power has less to do with economic data than it does with cultural identity. "It’s always been a way of life," Bobby Spare says. "This area would be nothing without it."

        Support for miners touches every part of the state. Kentucky voters take pride in the state’s mining history and have sympathy for the hardships in coal country. "They read about the 8,000 coal miners losing their jobs, and that has an impact," Cross says. "The job losses have actually made it easier for the coal interests to get the voters on their side."

        Coal’s clout has been further bolstered by a seismic shakeup of the industry’s traditional political alliances. For as long as people have pulled coal out of Kentucky’s foothills, mine workers and company operators have found themselves on opposing sides of political issues. That began to change around the time of Obama’s election. "Since the industry has come under the largest attack it has ever been under, the wagons have circled and the miners are in harness with the operators," Cross says. By working together, miners and operators have been able to rally support for their agenda more effectively than either side could individually.

        John Liperote comes from a Pittsburgh mining family. He and his brothers purchased B&W Resources in 2008, just before everything fell apart. He has great affection for the local workforce. "If you treat them fair, they’ll give you the shirt off their back," he says. But the slower permitting process and regulatory headaches have made business tough, he says, and B&W Resources recently had to let people go. "To lay a good man off? Oh, God, it’s hard to sleep at night," Liperote says. "Because you’re not just laying him off, you’re laying off his wife and children."

         

        Main Street in the county seat of Manchester in Clay County, Kentucky, Sept. 18, 2014. (Photograph by Chris Usher …

        Despite the smaller payroll, Liperote still worries about the company’s future. "I’m concerned for our very survival," he says. "We’ve done all we can. We can’t cut any more." Keeping McConnell in Washington, he believes, is his best chance of survival.

        Liperote’s employees agree. "If you vote for Alison Grimes, you’re voting for Obama," says Caldwell, the B&W leasing agent. "She’s going to be [Obama's] puppet. She’ll do whatever Obama and Harry Reid tell her." Grimes campaigned in Clay County in early July; she made protecting the coal industry a central theme of her two-day, eight country swing through eastern Kentucky.

        McConnell isn’t terribly popular in Kentucky either; about half of the state’s voters view him unfavorably. Still, Bobby Spare considers McConnell a fierce ally of coal workers, even though his tenure in Washington has coincided with thousands of job losses. "He’s the minority leader of the party; there’s only so much he can do," Spare says. "It would’ve been ten times worse if he hadn’t been there." In 2008, McConnell led a filibuster to kill the cap-and-trade bill, the strongest anti-global-warming legislation ever to reach the Senate floor. He’s sponsored bills that would streamline the permitting process for mines and block the EPA from introducing new carbon emission standards on power plants. In 2013, he secured $5.2 million in grants to retrain out-of-work coal miners. If McConnell is elected and Republicans take control of the Senate, McConnell’s new post as majority leader would make him an even stronger opponent of Obama’s agenda, Spare says.

        The degree to which McConnell’s message has resonated in coal country spells trouble for Grimes. Although Clay County is a Republican stronghold, many other coal-producing counties tend to vote Democratic in statewide elections, thanks to longstanding political allegiances. Grimes needs to do well in these counties to get to Washington. But in May’s Democratic primary, Grimes underperformed in coal country. In Harlan County, for example, Grimes received only 60 percent of the vote even though she was running essentially unopposed.

        Eastern Kentucky’s coal-producing counties "have been part of the Democratic base in this state since the Depression, and now McConnell has blown a hole in it," Cross says. "[McConnell] may have blown the hole, but the charge was set by Obama."

         

        Portrait of James Hounshell and Brenda Smith with their roadside stand along Route 421 in Clay County, Kentucky. …

        After a summer of hammering Grimes as Obama’s conspirator, McConnell is holding onto a 4-point lead in the race, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll. Grimes’s campaign is scrambling to decouple her from the president as Election Day approaches. In mid-September, they released a new ad in which the candidate fires a rifle and says, "I’m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on guns, coal and the EPA."

        Either way, the election is unlikely to have any bearing on life in Clay County. The problems in the coal industry are too severe and too structural for a single campaign season to overcome.

        Still, residents here aren’t ready to give up. Margy Miller is a member of a volunteer group called "Stay in Clay," which is designed to try to halt the exodus of promising young people from the area. The group has obtained funding for local improvements; they’ve rebuilt swinging bridges, painted murals, and launched a storytelling theater. Miller’s ultimate goal is to turn the area’s breathtaking mountains and rustic charm into a tourist destination, which, she hopes, could replace some of the jobs and tax revenue that coal once provided.

        "Everybody asks us, why don’t you leave?" Miller says. "I don’t know how to explain it, but we just love it. And if we stayed here through all of those boom and busts, then we must be the most resilient place in the nation."

        Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine. He can be reached at @lmullinsdc.

        CONTINUE READING….

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        America is truly a country run for the few

        Posted on October 8, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


        People attend a jobs fair at the Bronx Public Library on September 17, 2014 in the Bronx Borough of New York City.

        The Bureau of Labor Statistics headline this morning reads:  “Payroll employment increases by 248,000 in September; unemployment rate declines to 5.9%.”

        How can this be?  US corporations are investing in buying back their own stocks, not in new business ventures that produce new jobs.

        According to the Census Bureau’s Poverty Report, US real median family income has declined to the level of twenty years ago.    Consumer credit and real retail sales are not growing.  Construction is limited to rental units.  Construction shows 16,000 new jobs, half of which are “specialty trade contractors” or home remodelers.

        The payroll jobs report lists 35,300 new jobs in retail trade.  How is this possible when J.C. Penny’s, Macy’s, Sears, and the dollar store chains are in trouble and closing stores, and shopping centers are renting space by the day or hour?

        At a time when there is a surfeit of office buildings and only 500 new jobs in “heavy and civil engineering construction,” the jobs report says 6,000 new jobs have been created in “architectural and engineering services.”  What work are these architects and engineers doing?

        The 4,900 computer systems jobs, if they exist, are likely short-term contracts from 6 to 18 months.  Those who have the jobs are not employees but “independent contractors.”

        The payroll jobs report gives an unusually high number–81,000–of “professional and business services” jobs of which 60,000 are “administrative and waste services,” primarily “temporary help services.”

        “Health care and social assistance” accounts for 22,700 of the new jobs, of which 63 percent consist of “ambulatory health care services.”

        “Performing arts and spectator sports” gave the economy 7,200 jobs, and 20,400 Americans found employment as waitresses and bartenders.

        State governments hired 22,000 people.

        Let’s overlook the contribution of the discredited “birth-death model” which overstates on average the monthly payroll jobs by at least 50,000, and let’s ignore the manipulation of seasonal adjustments.  Instead, let’s assume the numbers are real. What kind of economy are we looking at?

        We are looking at the workforce of a third world country with the vast bulk of the jobs in low-pay domestic service jobs.  People working these part-time and independent contractor jobs cannot form a household or obtain a mortgage.

        As John Titus, Dave Kranzler and I have shown, these jobs are filled by those aged 55 and over who take the low paying jobs in order to supplement meager retirement incomes. The baby boomers are the only part of the US labor force whose participation rate is rising.   Of the claimed new jobs in September, 230,000 or 93 percent were jobs filled by those 55 and older. Employment of  Americans of prime working age (25-54) declined by10,000 jobs in September from the August level.

        As John Titus, Dave Kranzler and I have shown, these jobs are filled by those aged 55 and over who take the low paying jobs in order to supplement meager retirement incomes. The baby boomers are the only part of the US labor force whose participation rate is rising. Of the claimed new jobs in September, 230,000 or 93 percent were jobs filled by those 55 and older. Employment of Americans of prime working age (25-54) declined by 10,000 jobs in September from the August level.

        AN/AG

        CONTINUE READING…

         

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        What 20 Years Of Research Has Taught Us About The Chronic Effects Of Marijuana

        Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Healthcare, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


        A new study in the journal Addiction lays out what the vast research on marijuana has revealed over the last 20 years, highlighting the drug’s adverse effects, both acute and chronic. Though researchers have been studying the effects of marijuana for decades, the science has really exploded just in the last 20 years, due in part to better study methods, and also spurred by the growing interest in legalization. The new study maps out exactly what marijuana does and does not do to the body and brain, both in the short and long terms. What’s clear is that marijuana has a number of adverse effects over years of use – in certain people, anyway. What’s not so clear is how policy should be informed by the science. But the researchers suggest that with increasing legalization should come increasing public awareness of the sometimes-serious effects of chronic use.

        Acute Effects

        The acute effects aren’t so bad: No one has ever died from a natural marijuana overdose, the study found. (N.B. This is not true for synthetic marijuana, which can be very dangerous.) Driving while high on marijuana does seem to double the risk of a car crash, which is of course heightened if there is also alcohol in the system. Marijuana has been linked to low birth weight when it is used during pregnancy. Otherwise, acute effects mainly include anxiety, paranoia (especially among new users), dysphoria, cognitive impairment, and psychotic symptoms (especially in people with a family history of psychosis). These particular side effects seem to have risen over the last 20 years, which may be due to the fact that the THC content in marijuana has also risen over that time.

        Dried marijuana bud.

        Dried marijuana bud. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Chronic Effects

        Over the long term, things get a little worse. It’s important to point out that in epidemiological studies, it can be very difficult to tease out whether cause and effect is actually at play, or whether there’s something else going on. But the authors have gone to great lengths to separate causation from correlation, combing the data for studies that point strongly to cause and effect. Here’s what they found:

        • Marijuana can be addictive. But only for some people. About 10% of all users seem to develop dependence syndrome, and for those who start in adolescence, the number is more like 1 in 6. Withdrawal syndrome is also a real phenomenon, with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and appetite disturbance being the main symptoms, which can often be severe enough to have an effect on daily life.
        • Marijuana use is linked to adverse cognitive effects. In particular, the drug is linked to reduced learning, memory, and attention. It hasn’t been entirely clear whether these effects persist after a person stops using the drug, but there’s some evidence that it does. One study found a reduction in IQ of 8 points in long-time users, the greatest decline being in people who’d started using as teenagers and continued daily into adulthood. For people who began in adulthood and eventually stopped using, a reduction in IQ was not seen a year later.
        • Marijuana may change brain structure and function.  There’s been an ongoing debate about whether marijuana actually changes the brain, but recent evidence has suggested that it is linked to changes in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. It’s unclear, however, how long these effects last, whether they’re linked to behavioral changes, and whether they reverse after a person stops using the drug.
        • Regular use is linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms. That marijuana is linked to increased psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking) is fairly clear. But again, it’s been a chicken-and-egg problem, since it’s hard to show whether causation is at play, and which way the connection goes. However, it’s likely that the relationship actually goes both ways: Marijuana may lead to  psychotic symptoms, and early psychotic symptoms may  increase the likelihood that a person will smoke marijuana (particularly if there’s a family history of psychotic disorders).
        • Marijuana is linked to lower educational attainment. When pot smoking begins in adolescence, people tend to go less far in school – but again, a causal relationship hasn’t been demonstrated.
        • Marijuana may (or may not be) be a gateway drug. Regular teenage marijuana users are more likely to use other drugs in the future – but again, researchers don’t know whether the link is causal.
        • Marijuana is probably – but modestly – linked to schizophrenia. The study found that marijuana is connected to a doubled risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis in the future. Many previous studies have suggested this connection, but, as always, showing causality is hard. The new study cites a number of well-executed studies that suggest a causal relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia. The authors estimate that marijuana use may double the risk of schizophrenia from 7 in 1000 non-users to 14 in 1000 marijuana users. On the upside, they point out that users who quit using the drug after a first psychotic episode have fewer psychotic symptoms and better social functioning moving forward, compared to people who have a psychotic episode but continue using.
        • Marijuana may be linked to testicular cancer. Its connection to other forms of cancer is not very consistent, but there’s some evidence of an increased risk of testicular cancer in long-term marijuana users.
        • Regular users may have cardiopulmonary issues. Regular marijuana users have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Marijuana “probably” increases the risk of heart attack in middle age, but it’s hard to know for sure, since many users also smoke cigarettes.

        So the chronic effects of marijuana are becoming clearer, though some areas need more work. As the authors point out, none of this is to argue for or against the legalization of marijuana, which is gaining so much speed (and, of course, criticism) across the country. The authors are careful not to weigh in, except to say that if marijuana is legalized or decriminalized, it should be done with a number of safeties in place. As study author Wayne Hall, Director and Inaugural Chair at the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at The University of Queensland, tells me, “Given that Colorado and Washington State have decided to legalise, the governments in these states should aim to regulate sales in ways that minimise the harms arising from use. This should certainly include informing users about the risks of use and doing what is possible to discourage uptake by adolescents.”

        He stresses that methods to discourage new users, especially young ones, should be implemented by the government in as many ways as possible. “Regulation of cannabis,” says Hall, “should learn from experiences with alcohol and tobacco and use in limiting the number of heavy users by using taxation, limiting promotion of cannabis use and restricting where cannabis can be sold and by whom.” As more states debate the prospect of legalization, looking to the science may help them make some of the hard decisions. Or, of course, it could make the conversations that much more complex.

        Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        DEA agent sued over Facebook decoy page

        Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


        DEA agent sued over Facebook decoy page

        This image obtained by The Associated Press shows a Facebook page for "Sondra Prince." The Justice Department said Tuesday it is reviewing a woman’s complaint that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent set up a fake Facebook account using her identity. AP

         

        WASHINGTON – The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case, to trick her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.

        The Justice Department initially defended the practice in court filings but now says it is reviewing whether the Facebook guise went too far.

        Sondra Arquiett’s Facebook account looked as real as any other. It included photos of her posing on the hood of a sleek BMW and a close-up with her young son and niece. She even appeared to write that she missed her boyfriend, who was identified by his nickname.

        But it wasn’t her. The account was the work of DEA Agent Timothy Sinnigen, Arquiett said in a federal lawsuit. The case is scheduled for trial next week in Albany, New York.

        Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement Tuesday that officials are reviewing both the incident and the practice, although in court papers filed earlier in the case, the federal government defended it. Fallon declined to comment further because the case is pending.

        Details of the case were first reported by the online news site Buzzfeed.

        Arquiett was arrested in July 2010 on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. She was accused of being part of a drug distribution ring run by her boyfriend, who had been previously indicted.

        In a court filing in August, the Justice Department contended that while Arquiett didn’t directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she "implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in … ongoing criminal investigations."

        The government also contended that the Facebook account was not public. A reporter was able to access it early Tuesday, though it was later disabled.

        A spokesman for Facebook declined Tuesday to comment on the legal dispute. Facebook’s own policies appear to prohibit the practice, telling users that "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission."

        Lawyers for Arquiett did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages from The Associated Press. Arquiett did not immediately respond to an email asking to discuss the case.

        Arquiett said in her filing that she suffered "fear and great emotional distress" and was endangered because the fake page gave the impression that she was cooperating with Sinnigen’s investigation as he interacted online with "dangerous individuals he was investigating."

        The fate of Arquiett’s fight against the government’s use of her identity online is unclear.

        A staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation – a civil liberties organization – Nate Cardozo, said the government’s rationale was "laughable."

        "If I’m cooperating with law enforcement, and law enforcement says, ‘Can I search your phone?’ and I hand it over to them, my expectation is that they will search the phone for evidence of a crime – not that they will take things that are not evidence off my phone and use it in another context," Cardozo said,

        Lawrence Friedman, a privacy and constitutional law professor at New England Law-Boston, a law school, said the Arquiett’s "privacy claim rises and falls on the extent to which she consented to what it is the government says she consented to."

        If Arquiett agreed to cooperate with an ongoing investigation and allow her phone to be used as part of that probe – as the government alleged in its court filing – then it would be harder for her to prove that her privacy rights were violated, Friedman said. If her phone were seized without consent, then she would have an easier claim.

        "Basically, when you strike that kind of deal, you kind of have to play by the government’s rules," Friedman said. "This is not the ordinary situation in which the person walking down the street can have their identity stolen by the government," he said. "She was involved in a criminal investigation."

        AP

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        The Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act of 2014

        Posted on October 4, 2014. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, Farming, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


        An Ordinance to restore the natural Human Right to grow and use plants for the basic necessities of life.
        Whereas in the State of California, the People of the County of Lake do hereby Find, Declare and Ordain as follows:
        When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to reaffirm and reestablish the fundamental human rights with which they are naturally endowed, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s origins entitle them, and to recognize a decent respect for the opinions of humankind, requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to come forward toward the reestablishment of those rights.

        We hold these truths to be self-evident:

        That all humans beings are created equal. That human beings are naturally endowed with certain rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to re-declare and reestablish the inherent human rights that would intrinsically correct such governmental negligence, and to reconstitute such in a form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Therefore, in accordance with the 9th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America,

        Amendment IX:

        "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.",

        and also in accordance with the California State Constitution, Article 1 Declaration of Rights, Section 21.:

        …"This declaration of rights may not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.",

        and, also as consistent with County of Lake Ordinance No. 2267 in relation to private property rights, and, whereas disregard and contempt for certain human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and, whereas in a world which human beings endeavor to enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and where freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of peoples everywhere, be it here proclaimed that it has become necessary to reaffirm and specifically re-constitute the self evident inherent freedom to grow and use plants as described herein: 
        Section 1., Findings:
        That human beings are naturally endowed with the fundamental self evident right to have and grow the natural plants of this earth, and the naturally occurring seeds thereof, to be used for their own needs as individuals in pursuit of life and in effort to live, and that such basic human rights have been recognized and acknowledged to exist, and that these rights are held in perpetuity outside of the constitutional responsibility of a government to protect an individual’s right to engage in commerce.
        Section 1.(a)
        That all County of Lake residents residing within the unincorporated areas of the County who exercise the rights described in Section 1. of this Act at their residence within said area, and are compliant with Section 2.(a), and are gardening outside (outdoors) or in a greenhouse (and not withstanding any generally applicable urgency ordinance(s) specifically relating to water conservation), are, as accorded in the paragraphs above, necessarily exempt from any County permitting or other County ordinances that would limit an individual’s home gardening efforts or abilities in conjunction with Section 1.
        Section 1.(b)
        That any law, to the extent that it would specifically deny or disparage the human rights as described in Section 1. of this Act is unconstitutional by both the Federal Constitutions 9th Amendment, and also by the State Constitutions Article 1 Declaration of Rights, Section 21, and by the fact that such self evident human rights are held in perpetuity by the People.
        Section 2., Responsibilities:
        Should neighbor complaints that are not related to Section 2.(a) herein, or that are not related to a specific medically verifiable toxic health risk to the public arise as an official complaint to the County as a result of an individual(s) exercising the rights as described in Section 1., and Section 1.(a), (and not withstanding any effected party choosing to seek remedy and or reparations by way of litigation through civil proceedings), all the effected parties shall be directed to mediation provided for by the County of Lake, and if resolution between the effected parties cannot be achieved in a reasonable effort to mediate (to be determined by the appointed mediator), the effected parties shall then continue mediation at their own expense (to be equally divided between the effected parties) until a resolution between the parties can be agreed upon, or until one of the effected parties withdraws from the mediation. 
        Section 2.(a)
        All who exercise the rights described in Section 1., and Section 1.(a) of this Act, shall take reasonable care to prevent environmental destruction, and are responsible to mitigate any possible foreseen negative impacts on the natural environments, and all persons who neglect such practices shall be subject to the authority designated under Section 2.(b) herein, but such remedies are to be used to help individuals come into compliance with this section and not to unreasonably burden individuals who exercise the rights described in Section 1.
        Section 2.(b)
        The County of Lake Environmental Health Department shall administer over individual circumstances that may arise related to Section 2. and Section 2.(a) herein, but all such administrative authority and compliance inquiries shall be restricted to circumstances where a verifiable neighbor (or resident of the county) complaint in writing and signed by the complainant has been officially registered with the county.
        Section 3., Special Circumstances:
        Any law, to the extent that it would specifically deny or disparage the Human Rights as described in Section 1. of this Act, (and not withstanding an individual in violation of using illegal gardening chemicals, including but not limited to, certain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers), is to be set aside unless it can be determined that the individual circumstance is occurring within the context of "commerce" related activities as defined herein, or if an individual’s violation(s) of Section 2.(a) of this Act are to the extent of violating a criminal statute. 
        Section 3.(a)
        This Act shall not apply in circumstances where (a) private rental or lease agreement(s) (contract) exist(s) pertaining to the occupancy and or use of any private land unless such is otherwise specifically enumerated within said agreement(s) (contract), or unless the agreement(s) (contract) does not specify any conditions or agreement pertaining to outside (or greenhouse) home gardening.
        Section 4., Definitions:
        (a) For the express purposes of this Act, the word "commerce" shall be taken to mean:
        The buying and selling of goods or services in any form, and in direct reference to the exchange of United States currency (or other such legally recognized tender) for such goods or services.
        (b) For the express purposes of this Act, the words phrased as "compliance inquiries" shall be taken to mean:
        A written and delivered inquiry, and an in person inquiry as to responding to (a) specific complaint(s), and to which access to inspect private property shall only be in circumstances where the respondent has voluntarily agreed to and granted such access, or where on an individual basis, a court order has provided for such access.
        (c) For the express purposes of Section 1. of this Act, the words phrased as "to be used for their own needs" shall be taken to mean: 
        For use as food, medicine, fiber, fuel, building materials, environmental damage mitigation or other environmental concerns, privacy, aesthetics or ambiance, spiritual/religious requirement, (or other) basic necessities of life. 
        (d) For the express purposes of Section 1. of this Act, the word "natural" and the words phrased as "naturally occurring" shall be taken to mean:
        Plant species and varieties of such that have evolved in nature through the traditional pollination and cross pollination processes, be that by wind/weather, or animal (including human) assistance.
        (e) For the express purposes of Section 1.(a) and Section 3.(a) of this Act, the word "greenhouse" shall be taken to mean:
        Any structure where the sun’s light can penetrate at least 80% of the roof (ceiling or top) surface and that is intended for and used for growing plants in. 
        Section 5., Severability:
        If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable. The People of the County of Lake hereby declare that we would have adopted this Act irrespective of the invalidity of any particular portion thereof.

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Missouri Police Kill Rifle-Carrying Black Man After Shooting At Him 25 Times

        Posted on October 4, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


        Originally posted on HelloBeautiful:

        gunThere were 25 rounds fired at a 42-year-old Black man who was said to be carrying a .22-caliber rifle in Jennings, Missouri. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar claims the man attempted to fire the rifle at officers who were chasing him after the man struck a police car with his vehicle. Belmar says the man’s rifle jammed. This man’s name hasn’t been released, but you know what has? A single fact that he’s got a lengthy criminal record.

        MUST READ: Yandy Smith: ‘Someone Needs To Watch The Police’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

        The shooting happened Wednesday night in Jennings, Missouri, less than five miles from the site of the fatal Ferguson police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown that sparked weeks of passionate protests, demanding answers around Brown’s untimely death. While there’s still no peace in Ferguson, or around the U.S., where many Black people, especially men, fear losing their lives…

        View original 203 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        Rand Paul warns Ebola ‘could get beyond our control’

        Posted on October 3, 2014. Filed under: EBOLA, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , |


        James R. Carroll, jcarroll@courier-journal.com 8:57 a.m. EDT October 3, 2014

         

        WASHINGTON – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is worried that "political correctness" is hindering the U.S. response to the Ebola virus and suggested that the spread of the deadly disease could be more serious than the government is saying.

        "It’s a big mistake to underestimate the potential for problems here worldwide," Paul said. "I really think that it is being dominated by political correctness and because of political correctness we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this."

        "…We should not underestimate the transmissibility of this," Paul, an ophthalmologist, said. "It’s a big mistake to downplay it and act as if ‘oh, this is not a big deal, we can control all this.’ This could get beyond our control."

        Health officials across the country are urging people not to panic about an Ebola outbreak as details emerge about the first patient diagnosed in the U.S. The CDC says every hospital in America has a plan in place to stop the disease in its tracks.

        The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate appeared on the radio program of conservative Laura Ingraham, who asked on her show "why did Obama let the Ebola virus into the United States?"

        She accused the administration of making "false assurances" about the Ebola crisis, comparing it to the roll-out of Obamacare, the breakdown of security at the White House, and the emergence of the Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

        On the broadcast, Paul said shutting down flights from Ebola-affected areas in Africa to the United States should be considered "a realistic option" to stop the disease’s spread.

        "You probably do want to limit travel," he said.

        The senator questioned whether the administration should be sending American troops to help Africans contain the Ebola outbreak, suggesting the soldiers are being put at risk.

        "You also have to be concerned about 3,000 soldiers getting back on a ship," he said. "Where is disease most transmittable? When you’re in a very close confines on a ship. We all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea viruses that are transmitted very easily and the whole ship gets sick. Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers gets Ebola?"

        CONTINUE READING…

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        A look at the key marijuana legalization votes in 2014

        Posted on October 1, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Political, Uncategorized |


        Originally posted on Fortune:

        This post is in partnership with Time. The article below was originally published at Time.com

        By Katy Steinmetz, TIME

        (TIME)–Election Day this year will be big on pot.

        The battle over legalizing recreational marijuana in California—the big enchilada that may tilt legalization not only in the U.S. but other countries—is already being set for 2016. But while many reformers’ eyes are focused on the next presidential election, this year’s votes on marijuana initiatives have the power to shape that fight.

        Here are the races to watch in November.

        Alaska: Legalization with tax and regulation

        A 1975 Alaska Supreme Court ruling found that the right to privacy in the state included the right to grow and possess a small amount of marijuana at home. Though opponents have still fought over whether possessing marijuana is legal—sometimes in court—reformers are hoping that a long history of quasi-legalization and a noted libertarian…

        View original 831 more words

        Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

        « Previous Entries

        Liked it here?
        Why not try sites on the blogroll...

        Follow

        Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

        Join 16,253 other followers

        %d bloggers like this: