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What started as a toothache from a lost filling became a raging infection that landed Christopher Smith in the University of Louisville Hospital

Paducah Sun


What started as a toothache from a lost filling became a raging infection that landed Christopher Smith in the University of Louisville Hospital emergency room, then in intensive care on a ventilator and feeding tube.

"It came on so quickly and violently. I was terrified," said Smith, 41, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, who lacked dental insurance and hadn’t been to a dentist for years before the problem arose this month. "I had no idea it could get this serious this quickly."

Smith is one of a growing number of patients seeking help in the ER for long-delayed dental care. An analysis of the most recent federal data by the American Dental Association shows dental ER visits doubled from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2012, or one visit every 15 seconds. ADA officials, as well as many dentists across the nation say the problem persists despite health reform.

"This is something I deal with daily," said Dr. George Kushner, director of the oral and maxillofacial surgery program at U of L. "And there is not a week that goes by that we don’t have someone hospitalized. â ¦ People still die from their teeth in the U.S."

Often, pain is what drives people to the ER, "like a cavity that hurts so much they can’t take it anymore," said Dr. Jeffery Hackman, ER clinical operations director at Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill in Kansas City, who has noticed a significant rise in dental patients coming to his department in recent years.

Limited insurance coverage is a major culprit; all but 15 percent of dental ER visits are by the uninsured or people with government insurance plans.

The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover dental services for children but not adults. Medicaid plans for adults vary by state, and offer only a short list of dental services in Kentucky.

Medicare generally doesn’t cover dental care at all.

By law, ERs have to see patients even if they can’t pay. But although they often provide little more than painkillers and antibiotics to dental patients, the visits cost more than three times as much as a routine dental visit, averaging $749 if the patient isn’t hospitalized – and costing the U.S. health care system $1.6 billion a year.

"If we were going to the dentist more often, we could avoid a lot of this," said Dr. Ruchi Sahota, a California dentist and consumer adviser for the ADA.

"Prevention is priceless."



Civil War buffs on Confederate flag debate: It’s complicated



By Karl Plume 2 hours ago

Participants in the "Ride for Pride" event stand on the back of their pickup truck as they speak to an assembled crowd during the impromptu ...


By Karl Plume

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BENSENVILLE, Illinois (Reuters) – If you’re looking for simple answers about the Confederate flag’s place in contemporary America, don’t ask a Civil War reenactor.

"Long story short, it’s complicated," said Mark Edmondson, who played a Union infantryman at a reenactment event in suburban Chicago over the weekend.

"The Confederate battle flag is a necessary part of history and its … important to clarify history and not fall into some politically correct retelling," said the 36-year-old engineer, clad in a Union blue soldier’s uniform.

Questions about the flag invariably produce long and nuanced answers from men and women who spend days each year in mock camps and battlefields recreating American history. For one thing, they don’t like to talk about "the flag" but rather about "the flags."

Reenactors are quick to note that the rectangular "rebel flag," embraced by hate groups and displayed by Dylann Roof, the man accused in the South Carolina church shootings, in pictures he posted on the Internet, was not one of the Confederacy’s three official flags, but instead a Confederate navy banner and the flag of the army of Tennessee.

Many Southern soldiers did carry square Confederate battle flags like the one flying in front of Charleston’s state house, but very few of those soldiers were slave owners and for many of them, the battle was more about other issues, including states’ rights, Edmondson and other reenactors noted.

"That flag probably shouldn’t be flying at the capitol in Charleston, but it’s got a place in history. Our role as reenactors is to teach history, not to present some watered-down misinterpretation of events," said 22-year-old reenactor Grant Kohler, who dressed as a Louisiana soldier of the era, fighting on the Confederate side.

Edmondson, Kohler and some 50 other reenactors gathered at Fischer Farm in Bensenville, Illinois on Saturday, for a weekend of 1860s role playing that included no-frills tent camping, marching drills and a mock musket and cannon battle.

One of hundreds of Civil War reenactments that take place every summer across the country – and one of the first since the South Carolina church shooting – the Bensenville event comes a week before the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which is expected to draw hundreds of gray- and blue-uniformed history buffs to the Pennsylvania town.

In online forums, too, Civil War reenactors have discussed the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston shootings.

"I can understand the removal from modern government buildings. I don’t however agree with the removal from monuments, cemeteries, and private locations," said one post on the online forum

"It starts with the state capitals and in a short time we are the ones being told when, where and how we can put it to use," fretted another.

The debate has brought an unexpected boost in Confederate and other flag sales at the Regimental Quartermaster in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which also sells memorabilia and Civil War-era uniforms to reenactors.

Chris Ackerman, the store’s manager, said he has sold about 130 flags a week since the controversy over the Confederate symbol erupted, up from 5 or 6 a week normally. Only about 30 percent of those sales were Confederate battle flags, however, and most were to return customers he knows to be reenactors.

"Bottom line, this flag is about heritage, not hate," he said. "But if this symbol is successfully toppled, what’s next?"

For Pam Welcome, an African-American reenactor who played Harriet Tubman at the Bensenville event, it’s more complicated. “I’m conflicted. On one hand, I get the controversy about the flag and why they want to take it down. But this is history. Good or bad, this happened, and this is what it looked like. You can’t portray history without that flag, that symbol,”

(Editing by Sue Horton)

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Fukushima has already killed one million people

(Robert HunzikerFukushima’s still radiating, self-perpetuating, immeasurable, and limitless, like a horrible incorrigible Doctor Who monster encounter in deep space.

Fukushima will likely go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century.

Governments and corporations are not leveling with citizens about the risks and dangers; similarly, truth itself, as an ethical standard, is at risk of going to shambles as the glue that holds together the trust and belief in society’s institutions. Ultimately, this is an example of how societies fail.

Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents remain in temporary housing more than four years after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the outskirts of Fukushima have officially reopened to former residents, but many of those former residents are reluctant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is okay and safe.

Part of this reluctance has to do with radiation’s symptoms. It is insidious because it cannot be detected by human senses. People are not biologically equipped to feel its power, or see, or hear, touch or smell it (Caldicott). Not only that, it slowly accumulates over time in a dastardly fashion that serves to hide its effects until it is too late.


Chernobyl’s Destruction Mirrors Fukushima’s Future

As an example of how media fails to deal with disaster blowback, here are some Chernobyl facts that have not received enough widespread news coverage: Over one million (1,000,000) people have already died from Chernobyl’s fallout.

Additionally, the Rechitsa Orphanage in Belarus has been caring for a very large population of deathly sick and deformed children. Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults.

Zhuravichi Children’s Home is another institution, among many, for the Chernobyl-stricken: “The home is hidden deep in the countryside and, even today, the majority of people in Belarus are not aware of the existence of such institutions” (Source: Chernobyl Children’s Project-UK).

One million (1,000,000) is a lot of dead people. But, how many more will die? Approximately seven million (7,000,000) people in the Chernobyl vicinity were hit with one of the most potent exposures to radiation in the history of the Atomic Age.

The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as “Death Valley.” It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent “dead zone.”

Additionally, over 25,000 died and 70,000 disabled because of exposure to extremely dangerous levels of radiation in order to help contain Chernobyl. Twenty percent of those deaths were suicides, as the slow agonizing “death march of radiation exposure” was too much to endure.

Fukushima- The Real Story

In late 2014, Helen Caldicott, M.D. gave a speech about Fukushima at Seattle Town Hall (9/28/14). Pirate Television recorded her speech; here’s the link:

Dr. Helen Caldicott is co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and she is author/editor of Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, The New Press, September 2014. For over four decades Dr. Caldicott has been the embodiment of the anti-nuclear banner, and as such, many people around the world classify her as a “national treasure”. She’s truthful and honest and knowledgeable.

Fukushima is literally a time bomb in quiescence. Another powerful quake and all hell could break loose. Also, it is not even close to being under control. Rather, it is totally out of control. According to Dr. Caldicott, “It’s still possible that Tokyo may have to be evacuated, depending upon how things go.” Imagine that!

According to Japan Times as of March 11, 2015: “There have been quite a few accidents and problems at the Fukushima plant in the past year, and we need to face the reality that they are causing anxiety and anger among people in Fukushima, as explained by Shunichi Tanaka at the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Furthermore, Mr. Tanaka said, there are numerous risks that could cause various accidents and problems.”

Even more ominously, Seiichi Mizuno, a former member of Japan’s House of Councillors (Upper House of Parliament, 1995-2001) in March 2015 said: “The biggest problem is the melt-through of reactor cores… We have groundwater contamination… The idea that the contaminated water is somehow blocked in the harbor is especially absurd. It is leaking directly into the ocean. There’s evidence of more than 40 known hotspot areas where extremely contaminated water is flowing directly into the ocean… We face huge problems with no prospect of solution.” (Source: Nuclear Hotseat #194: Fukushima 4th Anniversary – Voices from Japan, March 10, 2015,

At Fukushima, each reactor required one million gallons of water per minute for cooling, but when the tsunami hit, the backup diesel generators were drowned. Units 1, 2, and 3 had meltdowns within days. There were four hydrogen explosions. Thereafter, the melting cores burrowed into the container vessels, maybe into the earth.

According to Dr. Caldicott, “One hundred tons of terribly hot radioactive lava has already gone into the earth or somewhere within the container vessels, which are all cracked and broken.” Nobody really knows for sure where the hot radioactive lava resides. The scary unanswered question: Is it the China Syndrome?

Following the meltdown, the Japanese government did not inform people of the ambient levels of radiation that blew back onto the island. Unfortunately and mistakenly, people fled away from the reactors to the highest radiation levels on the island at the time.

As the disaster happened, enormous levels of radiation hit Tokyo. The highest radiation detected in the Tokyo Metro area was in Saitama with cesium radiation levels detected at 919,000 becquerel (Bq) per square meter, a level almost twice as high as Chernobyl’s “permanent dead zone evacuation limit of 500,000 Bq” (source: Radiation Defense Project). For that reason, Dr. Caldicott strongly advises against travel to Japan and recommends avoiding Japanese food.

Even so, post the Fukushima disaster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed an agreement with Japan that the U.S. would continue importing Japanese foodstuff. Therefore, Dr. Caldicott suggests people not vote for Hillary Clinton. One reckless dangerous precedent is enough for her.

According to Arnie Gundersen, an energy advisor with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, as reported in The Canadian on August 15, 2011: “The US government has come up with a decision at the highest levels of the State Department, as well as other departments who made a decision to downplay Fukushima. In April, the month after the powerful tsunami and earthquake crippled Japan including its nuclear power plant, Hillary Clinton signed a pact with Japan that she agreed there is no problem with Japanese food supply and we will continue to buy them. So, we are not sampling food coming in from Japan.”

However, in stark contrast to the United States, in Europe Angela Merkel, PhD physics, University of Leipzig and current chancellor of Germany is shutting down all nuclear reactors because of Fukushima.

Maybe an advanced degree in physics makes the difference in how a leader approaches the nuclear power issue. It certainly looks that way when comparing/contrasting the two pantsuit-wearing leaders, Chancellor Merkel and former secretary of state Clinton.

After the Fukushima blow up, ambient levels of radiation in Washington State went up 40,000 times above normal, but according to Dr. Caldicott, the U.S. media does not cover the “ongoing Fukushima mess.” So, who would really know?

Dr. Caldicott ended her speech on Sept. 2014 by saying: “In Fukushima, it is not over. Everyday, four hundred tons of highly radioactive water pours into the Pacific and heads towards the U.S. Because the radiation accumulates in fish, we get that too. The U.S. government is not testing the water, not testing the fish, and not testing the ambient air. Also, people in Japan are eating radiation every day.”

Furthermore, according to Dr. Caldicott: “Rainwater washes over the nuclear cores into the Pacific. There is no way they can get to those cores, men die, robots get fried. Fukushima will never be solved. Meanwhile, people are still living in highly radioactive areas.”

Fukushima will never be solved because “men die” and “robots get fried.” By the sounds of it, Fukushima is a perpetual radiation meltdown scenario that literally sets on the edge of a bottomless doomsday pit, in waiting to be nudged over.

UN All-Clear Report

A UN (UNSCEAR) report on April 2, 2014 on health impacts of the Fukushima accident concluded that any radiation-induced effects would be too small to identify. People were well protected and received “low or very low” radiation doses. UNSCEAR gave an all-clear report.

Rebuttal of the UNSCEAR report by the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War d/d July 18, 2014 takes a defiant stance in opposition to the UN report, to wit: “The Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from over. Despite the declaration of ‘cold shutdown’ by the Japanese government in December 2011, the crippled reactors have not yet achieved a stable status and even UNSCEAR admits that emissions of radioisotopes are continuing unabated. 188 TEPCO is struggling with an enormous amount of contaminated water, which continues to leak into the surrounding soil and sea. Large quantities of contaminated cooling water are accumulating at the site. Failures in the makeshift cooling systems are occurring repeatedly. The discharge of radioactive waste will most likely continue for a long time.”

“Both the damaged nuclear reactors and the spent fuel ponds contain vast amounts of radioactivity and are highly vulnerable to further earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and human error. Catastrophic releases of radioactivity could occur at any time and eliminating this risk will take many decades… It is impossible at this point in time to come up with an exact prognosis of the effects that the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have on the population in Japan… the UNSCEAR report represents a systematic underestimation and conjures up an illusion of scientific certainty that obscures the true impact of the nuclear catastrophe on health and the environment.”

To read the full text of the rejoinder to the UN report, go to:

Fukushima’s Radiation and the Future

Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press (AP), June 12, 2015: “Four years after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the road ahead remains riddled with unknowns… Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the melted fuel inside the three reactors and study it, and still need to develop robots capable of working safely in such highly radioactive conditions. And then there’s the question of what to do with the waste… serious doubts about whether the cleanup can be completed within 40 years.”

“Although the Chernobyl accident was a terrible accident, it only involved one reactor. With Fukushima, we have the minimum [of] 3 reactors that are emitting dangerous radiation. The work involved to deal with this accident will take tens of years, hundreds of years,” Prof. Hiroaki Koide (retired), Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, April 25, 2015. “It could be that some of the fuel could actually have gone through the floor of the containment vessel as well… What I’ve just described is very, very logical for anyone who understands nuclear engineering or nuclear energy,” which dreadfully spells-out: THE CHINA SYNDROME.

According to the Smithsonian, April 30, 2015: “Birds Are in a Tailspin Four Years After Fukushima: Bird species are in sharp decline, and it is getting worse over time… Where it’s much, much hotter, it’s dead silent. You’ll see one or two birds if you’re lucky.” Developmental abnormalities of birds include cataracts, tumors, and asymmetries. Birds are spotted with strange white patches on their feathers.

Maya Moore, a former NHK news anchor, authored a book about the disaster: The Rose Garden of Fukushima (Tankobon, 2014), about the roses of Mr. Katsuhide Okada. Today, the garden has perished: “It’s just poisoned wasteland. The last time Mr. Okada actually went back there, he found baby crows that could not fly, that were blind. Mutations have begun with animals, with birds.”

The Rose Garden of Fukushima features a collection of photos of an actual garden that existed in Fukushima, Japan. Boasting over 7500 bushes of roses and 50-thousand visitors a year, the Garden was rendered null and void in an instant due to the triple disaster — earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown.

The forward to Maya’s book was written by John Roos, former US Ambassador to Japan 2009-13: “The incredible tale of Katz Okada and his Fukushima rose garden was told here by Maya Moore… gives you a small window into what the people of Tohoku faced.”

Roos’ “small window” could very well serve as a metaphor for a huge black hole smack dab in the heart of civilization. Similarly, Fukushima is a veritable destruction machine that consumes everything in its path, and beyond, and its path is likely to grow. For certain, it is not going away.

Thus, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is deeply involved in an asymmetric battle against enormously powerful unleashed out-of-control forces of E=mc2.

Clearly, TEPCO has its back to the wall. Furthermore, it’s doubtful TEPCO will “break the back of the beast.” In fact, it may be an impossible task.

Maybe, just maybe, Greater Tokyo’s 38 million residents will eventually be evacuated. Who knows for sure?

Only Godzilla knows!


Rand Paul gets highest marks in Marijuana Policy Project’s presidential voter guide

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican (Associated Press)



By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times – Friday, June 26, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky received the highest grade among more than 20 declared and potential 2016 presidential candidates in a voter guide released Friday by a marijuana policy group, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania fared the worst.

Mr. Paul, received a grade of “A-” from the Marijuana Policy Project. The group said his grade was based largely on his sponsorship of a medical marijuana bill, support for reducing marijuana-related penalties and support for allowing states to regulate marijuana for adult use.

Mr. Christie and Mr. Santorum, meanwhile, two other GOP contenders, both received a grade of “F” “because they oppose reform efforts and they are the most vocal supporters of enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have made marijuana legal,” the group said.

“Some of these guys who tout states’ rights, fiscal responsibility, and getting the government out of people’s private lives want to use federal tax dollars to punish adults for using marijuana in states that have made it legal,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the group. “They say using marijuana is immoral or just too dangerous to allow, but serve alcohol, a more dangerous substance, at their fundraisers. The hypocrisy is astonishing.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry scored the second best among Republicans with a “B,” with the group citing his stated support for reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

On the Democratic side, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and former Rhode Island Gov. and U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee fared the best with a grade of “B+.” The group cited Mr. Webb’s stated support for overhauling the criminal justice reform system and Mr. Chafee’s signing a marijuana decriminalization into law in 2013.

Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton got a “B-,” with the group citing a willingness to support more research into potential benefits of medical marijuana.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the lowest among Democrats with a “D.” The group cited his spearheading legislation to create a federal “drug czar” and mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana-related offenses.

The full guide can be found on the group’s website.

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Marijuana makes mother nature cry: report

06/26/15 05:17 PM

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By Tony Dokoupil




If you consume cannabis this weekend, you might also be killing fish, clear-cutting forest, and poisoning some cute-faced and endangered members of the weasel family.

That’s one takeaway from new report in the journal BioScience, which details the water-guzzling, land-destroying, pollution-spreading reality of the marijuana farming today.

The work is the most comprehensive effort to date to quantify the environmental costs of serving the country’s millions of regular marijuana users. Among the degradation recorded: diverted streams, displaced plant-life, spilled diesel fuel, reckless use of fertilizers, and dead Pacific fishers (those cute weasels).  

RELATED: Beyond coal and environmentally friendly pot

Because most marijuana consumed in America is grown here, the research adds a green front to the moral and social battle over broader legalization. Because marijuana growers are understandably secretive, however, the scope of their work is hard to measure, and easy to get wrong.

The only certainty is that this research—which did not distinguish between illegal and state-sanctioned growers—won’t be the last word on their impacts, or its relevance to the push for legalization. Softer pot laws have already swept through 23 states in one form or another, and attitudes are changing fast.

For the moment, people tend to argue over what’s best for kids, minorities, sick people, drivers, and the economy at large. Now, they might also have to consider the policy that favors fish, furry animals, forests, streams, and the majesty of nature. 

Predictably, both the pro-and-anti legalization sides see the study as an ally.

Kevin Sabet, for example, is the president of Project SAM, a campaign to keep marijuana illegal and address the failings of the drug war through other means. He instantly turned the study into a new weapon and let fire.

“Everyone thinks that weed is harmless to use, when in reality our earth is very much affected by its production,” he told msnbc. “The only answer to this environmental problem is to reduce our hunger for pot. And that doesn’t happen under legalization.”

RELATED: Are these pot farmers sucking up all California’s water?

Marijuana growers (and, one imagines, marijuana consumers) can just as easily fold the research into their own point of view. They don’t deny that marijuana is a growing threat to the environment, but they attribute that destruction to the perversions of prohibition.

Hezekiah Allen is executive director of the Emerald Growers Association, a trade group that represents state-sanctioned growers in northern California.

“Unregulated commercial agriculture is bound to have more significant impacts than regulated agriculture,” he told msnbc. “The simple solution is that 18 years after California has a legal medical cannabis industry, it’s time for the state to regulate that industry.”

The research was led by the Nature Conservancy, with help from environmental scientists at UC Berkeley and California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. Their own conclusions tended to the growers point of view. They noted “inherent trade-offs and tension between marijuana cultivation and ecosystem needs,” but also pointed out that new policies could “prevent and mitigate” the current level of damage. 

Earlier this spring, msnbc visited a pot farm in northern California to see a model of sustainable growing, in an industry that suddenly needs one. Casey O’Neill and his brother Nathaniel are third-generation cannabis growers in the famed Emerald Triangle, and co-owners of Happy Day Farms.

Before the drought, the O’Neill brothers invested their life savings in two artificial ponds, which now hold about 2 million gallons of captured rainwater. They also installed solar panels, which power their whole grown, and they continued to rely on only natural fertilizers.

Now they’re trying to spread the good word. They believe that the quickest way to clean up the trade may be to legalize it. That would allow farmers to openly trade best practices, and regulators to easily find those who don’t adopt them, they argue.

“We can be fish-friendly and still produce this incredible economic bounty that comes from the sun through human labor,” said Casey. “It’s the translation of solar dollars into real dollars. And that’s something that we are very honor to participate in.”


California, Drug Policy, Drugs, Environment, Green and Marijuana


The Ban On The Confederacy Has Officially Jumped The Shark With This One


Enough is enough already.

Originally posted on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot:

Wow. Wow. This is just… I’m almost speechless. This is actually disgusting.

Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wants to dig up the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife and remove them from a city park in the latest and perhaps most despicable example of the anti-Southern cleansing spreading across the nation.

“Which African-American wants to have a picnic in the shadow of Nathan Bedford Forrest?” Wharton said in a Thursday press briefing.

In addition to desecrating the graves, Wharton wants to tear down a massive statue honoring the Confederate general who was involved in organizing the Ku Klux Klan. The bodies of Forrest and his wife would be relocated to a cemetery.

“These relics, these messages of this despicable period of this great nation, it’s time for those to be moved,” the mayor said.

Memphis city officials have been waging a fierce and unrelenting war on southern…

View original 130 more words

Cops warn of arrests at Church of Cannabis

Tim Evans, Jill Disis and Mark Alesia, 5:57 p.m. EDT June 26, 2015


Bill Levin

Police, prosecutors will discuss enforcement plans for July 1 event


Levin contends the use of marijuana in the church service is protected by RFRA, which limits government encroachment on religious freedoms.

Curry said he believes the new law is ill-advised and problematic. That said, he also stressed that RFRA is not "a legitimate defense to committing a crime."

Police can’t ignore violations

Hite said police can’t ignore Levin flaunting the law under the guise of religion.

That means everyone in attendance next week is subject to criminal charges, he said, even if they do not partake of the church’s sacrament.

Curry said observers could be charged with visiting a common nuisance. Those who smoke the drug could be charged with possession of marijuana. Both charges are class B misdemeanors, which carry a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Curry and Hite said Friday they were announcing their plans in an effort to dissuade Levin and his followers from going through with wide-spread marijuana use at the service. Hite said his department would have police on the church property, including possibly inside the sanctuary itself.

"I think it’s important to know that we’re not trying to create a police state," Hite said. "I think reasonably intelligent people will stay away, quite frankly. But as with any other events we happen to have in our city, we’re prepared for it."

Curry listed six considerations he said he recently shared with Levin — and wants others who might attend the service to keep in mind.

In addition to making arrests for those who possess or are simply in the presence of marijuana that is being used, Curry said, police will also be looking for impaired drivers, those with open warrants and those who are at the service in violation of a probation order. Curry also cautioned that minors should not be present if marijuana is being used, adding that such a violation has "numerous implications."

Curry and Hite said police and prosecutors are duty bound to uphold Indiana’s drug laws and cannot ignore the event that has been widely promoted in the news and on social media. They also are disturbed that they have to expend valuable manpower on this event, when there are many other more pressing needs for law enforcement resources.

Curry added Levin’s church is a direct result of the state’s RFRA law, and renewed an earlier call for legislators to repeal the law which he sees as unneeded and the result of political posturing.

"We anticipated that (RFRA) could be asserted as a defense to criminal prosecution," he said. "As with any defense, our office will address the argument within the context of the case in which it is presented."

The prosecutor said he has met twice with Levin to discuss alternatives to making mass arrests at the service next week, such as making his point on a smaller scale involving just one or two people challenging the law.

"I understand completely that what (Levin) is doing is using RFRA as a vehicle to essentially advocate for what he’s advocated for all along, and that is the legalization of marijuana," Curry said. "But until he and others convince the legislature otherwise, then it’s a crime."

Curry also dismissed concerns that the attendees of next week’s Church of Cannabis service would be treated differently than others who are cited for marijuana possession – though he added that the city’s advance notice of the event did present a change in how they plan on enforcing the law.

"Individuals are cited for criminal offenses when they are observed, whether it’s at the Indy 500 or rock concerts," Curry said. "What is different here is that we’ve been given notice that this is going to occur. From our perspective, it would be entirely the wrong message that we would not react to that."

Hite said the church is not right for Indianapolis, adding he and his officers have talked to drug dealers who are "appalled" by the planned service next week.

"Those who deal drugs for a living have said to us, ‘Listen. We’re trying to get out of the game. You’re telling us to get out, chief,’" Hite explained. "How can we allow someone to willingly violate the law?"

Keeping the lawyers happy

Levin said he is unfazed by who might show up at the service Wednesday, including law enforcement officials

"I don’t have a problem with that," he said. "You want to come pray? Come pray. You better be on the guest list to get into the building, though, because we’ve already got this thing filled."

The church plans to have a tent to accommodate overflow from the relatively small church building. What Levin described as "ushers" — who sound more like security — will screen people entering the building. The church also will have legal representation on site for the inaugural service.

A woman at the church Friday, wearing a shirt with a peace symbol on it, scoffed at Curry’s suggestion for Levin to scale down whatever might trigger a legal battle.

"Bill doesn’t do anything on a small scale," she said. "I’ve known him for 35 years."

Levin confirmed Curry’s suggestion but characterized it as being asked "to fall on the sword and no one else do it."

"I believe in religious freedom and I will never tell my congregants what not to do," Levin said. "I will warn them of what might happen. If you’re on probation, they might nail you. If you’re there with a kid, they might get CPS on you. … This is civil disobedience in its finest form while we’re celebrating a beautiful birth of a new religion."

Levin appears to be doing as much as he can to protect the church legally. He has non-profit religious status certified by the Internal Revenue Service. He made sure the church building conforms to safety codes. He’s not allowing anyone under 21 into the sanctuary, where marijuana will be smoked at the end of the ceremony. And he is not selling or distributing the drug; its a bring-your-own event.

While Levin said he would prefer that officials leave him and church members alone, he’s not about to back down from a legal fight.

"I’d just as soon not do it. Am I afraid of it? No. Not at all. I’m sorry, I’m right," he said. "I will defend my beliefs as long as it takes and as far as it takes."

Any decision the state makes on religious laws — including whether the First Church of Cannabis is a legitimate religion — "they’re going to have to be very committed to, and that goes across the board," Levin said. "Because what’s good for one religion is good for all."

Legal experts wary

Whether Levin and his new church find protection under RFRA is a complicated and cloudy question, according to legal experts, who said it likely will be up to the state’s Supreme Court to decide.

At a forum on RFRA this week at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, three experts generally agreed Levin was likely to lose in his effort to use the law to protect followers’ marijuana use from prosecution.

Around the country over the last 25 years, most other attempts to use the federal RFRA to avoid drug charges have been unsuccessful — even though that law was enacted after the U.S. Supreme Court failed to uphold the religious freedom of a Native American to use peyote, an illegal drug, in a spiritual ritual.

Douglas A. Berman, a professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, was a little more optimistic.

"If and when you robustly protect religious freedoms, you have to be prepared that there will be people who claim religions that may not be what you had in mind," he explained.

He said most of the other unsuccessful test cases involved defendants who invoked RFRA after being arrested on drug charges.

"It is relatively rare," he said, "a defendant could have done the front-end work to show the drug use came after a religious commitment rather than you were using drugs and then you conveniently got a religious commitment on the back end."

Berman said the key to Levin having a chance to prevail in court involved "doing the things — and it sounds like he already is starting to — that makes this look much more like religiosity than an excuse" for drug use. Ministry actions, such as assisting families with children who have medical conditions and need marijuana to address those health problems, would help prove it is a religion, he said.

To win in court on a RFRA claim, Levin would need to overcome two hurdles, said Donald L Beschle, professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

First, he would need to convince the court that what they are doing is actually motivated by a religious belief.

But even if Levin can establish his church is entitled to some protections under RFRA, Beschle said, the state can still attempt to justify arresting church members for using marijuana. They key would be the state establishing it has a compelling public safety interest — and that the denial of a RFRA exemption is necessary to protect that interest.

The court could duck the religious question altogether, he said, and focus solely on the compelling interest argument.

"In a close case, the court may say for the sake of argument, ‘we will accept this as a religion,’ then move onto the next test (compelling interest)," he said.

But, he acknowledged, Levin is facing an uphill battle.

"I would not give it much of a chance of succeeding on a constitutional RFRA claim," he said. "I don’t think the court will get out ahead of the legislature on deciding there is no longer a compelling interest (for the state to prohibit marijuana use)."

Call Tim Evans at (317) 444-6204 and follow him on Twitter: @starwatchtim


Marijuana and Your Job: What You Need to Know

Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD

Disclosures June 26, 2015


To submit a legal/professional nursing question for future consideration, write to the editor at (Include "Ask the Expert" in subject line.)


Can I be fired for using marijuana at home or for using recreational marijuana on my day off, when recreational use is legal in my state?

Response from Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD
Healthcare attorney

Fired for Use of Medical Marijuana at Home?

May an employer fire a healthcare professional for use of marijuana for a medical reason, when the employee has a medical marijuana card, medical marijuana is legal in the employee’s state, and the employee uses it off-site and on his or her own time?

It looks like the answer is "yes." An employee may be fired for legal use of medical marijuana. On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld Dish Network’s firing of a technology worker who was using marijuana for a medical purpose and tested positive on a random drug screen. Use of medical marijuana is legal in Colorado.

In that case, the employee, who is paralyzed from the chest down, uses marijuana at night to treat spasms and seizures. He was tested at work, was positive for marijuana, and the employer fired him, in keeping with the company’s drug-free workplace policy. The employee sued the employer, saying he wasn’t accused of being high on the job, he had good job reviews, the testing was random, and the firing violated the state’s "lawful activities" statute. Colorado’s lower courts held that the firing was legal, and the case went to the state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said, "Employees who engage in an activity such as medical marijuana use that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the lawful activities statute."[1]

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Rand Paul set to raise money from marijuana industry

By Sam Youngman

syoungman@herald-leader.comJune 26, 2015 Updated 2 hours ago

GOP 2016 Rand

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is looking for big green from the marijuana industry.

Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator and a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is scheduled to attend a fundraising reception next week at the National Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver.

An invitation to the event says it is being hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association’s political action committee, and a spokeswoman for the group confirmed that Paul will be the only presidential candidate in attendance.

However, Paul campaign spokesman Sergio Gor said Friday that the campaign is hosting the event.

"It’s open to anyone willing to support Senator Rand Paul in Denver," Gor said. "Some of the attendees at NCIA agree with Senator Paul’s legislation of medicinal cannabis reform and hemp cultivation reform and we anticipate will join our event."

Paul has not called for the legalization of marijuana, but he has joined Democratic senators in proposing legislation that would end the threat of prosecution for patients who use medical marijuana, a move that won the acclaim of pro-marijuana groups.

Paul thinks the issue of marijuana legalization "is best left to the states," Gor said Friday. "He’s spoken multiple times that Washington should not get in the way of voters who have passed various types of legislation dealing with cannabis."

Paul has said little publicly about whether he has used marijuana, but he did tell WHAS-TV in Louisville that he "wasn’t a choir boy when I was in college."

"And that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid," Paul told the Louisville television station.

But the senator has stopped short of calling for full legalization, as has been done in Colorado, telling the Hoover Institution in 2013 that he isn’t "willing to go all the way to say it is a good idea."

"I think people who use marijuana all the time lose IQ points," Paul said. "I think they lose their drive to show up for work."

The fundraiser is scheduled for Tuesday.

Read more here:

400-plus People Running for U.S. President






Friday, June 26, 2015 :: Staff infoZine

By Quentin Misiag – Thirteen Republicans. Four Democrats.

Washington, DC – infoZine – Scripps Howard Foundation Wire – A growing list of contenders have tossed their hats in the political ring for the 2016 race to the White House.
But the official tally spans longer than the 17 most talked-about political brands of this cycle.

Like over 400 candidates longer.

As of Thursday, 419 Americans seeking the presidency had filed a Form 2 statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. In the last week alone, 18 new candidates have joined the lineup.


Jill Stein, a 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, discusses her “Power to the People Plan” campaign platform during a press conference Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington. SFHWire photo by Quentin Misiag

Thomas Keister, a blogger and author from Clarksville, Ind., is lighting up his long-shot White House bid on two decidedly different levels: promoting marijuana bong rips and trolling New York business magnate Donald Trump on Twitter.

Over 1,000 miles away, Silvia Stagg of Miami is mounting her campaign on the niche topic of life-extension. Stagg favors expanded research and medicinal techniques in hospitals that would slow or reverse the human aging process.

Keister and Stagg represent a narrow sliver of afterthought politicians who are choosing to go head-to-head against the 17 mainstream choices thus far: Democrats Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, as well as Republicans Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.

Most filed as independents, while many are Republicans or Democrats.

Others are far more tongue in cheek.

William Richardson of Las Vegas registered with the FEC under the Helluva Party.

Under the National Born Citizen Party, there are Christopher Strunk and Harold Van Allen, both of New York State.

There’s no deadline to file as a candidate with the FEC, but states have explicit filing deadlines so they can prepare ballots.

Politicians officially transition from presumptive to declared candidate when they send in FEC forms.

“You can file at any time, but once you raise or spend $5,000, you’re required to file,” Christian Hilland, an FEC spokesman, said.
The Constitution says presidents must be at least 35 years old when they take office and be natural born U.S. citizens.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia allow presidential write-in candidates. Hawaii, Nevada, South Dakota, South Carolina and Oklahoma do not.
By sheer number, these underdog candidates have 2016’s most popular pols surrounded.

On the other hand, most lack the deep-pocket allies who can reel in big dollars, according to a review of FEC records.
Take Keister, 39, the founder of DasUberBlog!
“I have not raised a single dollar since declaring on Jan. 1 that I was getting into this,” said Keister, the lone candidate running in the American Marijuana Party.
Keister is one distant contender with a noticeable social media presence. He has more Twitter followers than Chaffee, the former Rhode Island senator and governor who launched his bid June 3.
Asked about which of the leading pols he and his campaign platform could beat, Keister fired off: “Most of them.”
Several, including Keister, said they plan to skip Iowa and New Hampshire, a pair of the early presidential picking states seen as crucial to locking up early voter momentum.
“I have not raised a single dollar since declaring on Jan. 1 that I was getting into this,” Keister said.
Keister’s launch came largely from what he called a prime example of government gridlock: Construction of the new Ohio River Bridges Project in greater Louisville, Ky., that was the culmination of 50 years of legal wrangling.

And if it seems that interest in running for title of America’s leading political leader has surged in recent years, that’s because it has.
The number of candidates has already surpassed the 2012 election list, when 417 people filed during the two-year presidential reporting process.
In 2004, 224 people filed as a presidential candidates. Four years later, that number grew to 367, an increase of more than 60 percent.
Leonard Steinhorn, a professor of public communication and history at American University, attributes the climb over the last four election cycles to the ease of information access spurred largely by the growth in mobile email and the “sharing society.”

“This is the sort of the media age we’re living in where everybody has a chance to tell their story,” said Steinhorn, whose expertise includes the presidency, strategic communication and the media. “Does it mean it they have a prayer to win? No, not at all.”

Although they are dark horse choices, some of these lesser-known candidates have found some success in past political pursuits.
Vermin Supreme of New Hampshire, placed third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2012 with 833 votes. Supreme, who is known for wearing a boot as a hat and carrying a large toothbrush, hinged his campaign on zombie apocalypse awareness and time travel research.

“I’m not holding my breath, but I’m not discounting it either,” Stein said.

Take Jill Stein, a darling of the Green Party. On Tuesday she launched her 2016 bid in an attempt to rekindle the trail she tread four years ago.

“I’m not holding my breath, but I’m not discounting it either,” Stein, a physician, said of her pursuit, dubbed the “Power to the People Plan.” She announced in an address to reporters at the National Press Club.
Stein’s newest platform is based mainly on the Green Party New Deal, an ambitious road map for domestic energy independence. It would provide millions of jobs by transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030, she said.

And then there’s Stagg, who said political alliances with high-level Republicans are the necessary backbone for gaining real political traction.
Stagg said she has spent years courting Rubio, Paul and Fiorina at conservative meet-ups, including the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
But now, she says she’s ready to take them on in her own attempt to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I have Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, who will never institute socioeconomic programs,” Stagg, a backer of raising the U.S. minimum wage equal to an annual salary of $100,000, said. “It’s easy to say, ‘Hi how are you, Hillary?’ and before you know it, they’ve got your cash in their hand.”

Should her bid take hold, Stagg said she would make the American dollar the worldwide currency, enact a flat federal income tax of 10 percent and work to eliminate poverty in the U.S.
While many long-shot choices have kept to establishing their brands on social media exclusively, some, including Arthur Herbert Brooks Jr., have created websites to help foster a stronger following.
His site has all the basics of a typical online presidential presence. A tagline, “Everyday People for America,” is clearly defined, and donation tabs and an official campaign announcement video dot the page.
However the website features stock images and incomplete details, including broken links.

In his June 8 filing to the FEC, Paul DeLong of Williamsport, Pa., outlined his former job as a grassroots team leader. He claimed he is a veteran campaign operative for the Bush political family.
In a letter to FEC officials, DeLong said: “I feel that I am more than capable of running my own campaign at this time once I announce myself to some Republican Committees. I am hoping that one of them may pick me up.”

In the face of disappointing support, at least one politician has decided to pull out of the pursuit.

Brian Cole, a Pennsylvania Republican who rolled out his 2016 presidential plan five years ago, recently disbanded the endeavor.
Cole said he will now direct his attention to becoming a U.S. ambassador to Iceland, Chile, Spain, Norway or Madagascar.

But with party names such as American Marijuana Party and Democratic-Farm-Labor, these far less known candidates say they’ve got some political bite to them and aren’t backing down.
At least, not yet.

“The only problem I have is getting myself a vice president,” Stagg said.



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  • Sheree Krider ICD-9 Code ICD-9 Code Description

    Like · Reply · 8 mins

  • Sheree Krider This is what the FDA and DEA have for us. Instead of repealing the laws on "Cannabis" and "Cannabis Abuse" They have CODES to charge your insurance company for and 3 Million Dollars to PHARMA to come up with a new DRUG (cleared by the FDA of course) to COMBAT MARIJUANA ADDICTION — This is nonsense at its best!

    THE PROTECTION OF COMMERCE IN THE FORM OF PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND THEY WILL SELL IT TO YOU AS IF THEY ARE "HELPING YOU" COMBAT ADDICTION. It will additionally be mandated that those brought into the welfare or child protective services or psychiatric medical care be forced to succumb to the use of this drug (not unlike what is being done now with anti-depressants and other "mental" drugs).  If it isn’t stopped in its tracks now this is your future!

    Everyone already knows (or should know) that MMJ itself helps to combat addiction to most everything…. GW PHARMA has already concluded in their advertisment that Cannabis (Sativex) is NOT ADDICTING…. So why are they doing all of this??? To protect commerce and convince you that they are only helping you. What a crock of shit….

    Like · Reply · 3 mins

  • Sheree Krider…/immediately-stop…

    IMMEDIATELY STOP FEDERAL FUNDING for a pharmaceutical drug to…

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  • 10 Fun Stories About America’s Bootleggers

    Originally posted on Give Me Liberty:

    This is from ListVerse.

    I would not call them fun stories, but I would say they are interesting.

    When the American government threw their lot in with the Temperance Movement and started the ill-fated experiment that was Prohibition, it started a weird period in America’s history where the criminal element gained something of a weird, favorable notoriety—especially the bootleggers, rumrunners, and moonshiners. The heroes of Prohibition, they kept a dry country from getting thirsty, and their methods make for some good stories.

    10 Roy Olmstead

    800px-Sheriff_dumps_bootleg_booze Photo credit: Orange County Archives

    Roy Olmstead joined the Seattle police force nine years before Washington state went dry, so by the time he and his partners started busting bootleggers, he knew his way around the city. He also noticed something sad about all the busts they were making—they were sloppy, careless, and were missing so many obvious things that would make them much better…

    View original 2,900 more words

    CNN Reporter Stunned As Young Black Man Defends Confederate Flag

    Originally posted on peoples trust toronto:

    Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

    Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 11.44.34 AM

    Divide and conquer has been the most successful strategy used by humans to attain and maintain power since ancient times. The concept is simple and effective in that those being ruled are too busy fighting amongst themselves to be capable of taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that they are being intentionally played.

    This strategy is being quite effectively employed by the American oligarchy against the American population. While racism and associated violence certainly still exist, as we recently saw in the South Carolina tragedy, this remains a marginal issue compared to the relentless, systemic and daily oligarch oppression against hundreds of millions of people. The issue of the 0.01% versus the 99.99% is almost never covered or hyped on mainstream media, while issues of ?sexism? and ?racism? are covered and exploited incessantly. Why…

    View original 502 more words

    As advocate for industrial hemp production, Kentucky’s Thomas Massie standing tall

    Jun 25th, 2015 ·


    By Tim Thornberry
    Special to NKyTribune

    If there is anyone from Kentucky who is a bigger industrial hemp advocate than Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, it is likely U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who stood beside Comer when state legislation was being passed to allow an administrative framework be set up.

    Massie, a Republican who represents the 4th District stretching across Northern Kentucky, has been leading the charge at the federal level. Recently, he joined a host of others in co-sponsoring an amendment that would keep the federal government from using taxpayers’ dollars to hinder research production efforts.

    U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie

    U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky)

    Earlier this year, Massie introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (HR525), which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances.

    And it was an amendment he sponsored in the 2014 Farm Bill that granted states research rights when it came to cultivating industrial hemp.

    This latest legislation was a part of the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill, which funds many government agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. It is the result of the situation that arose in 2014 when the federal government held up hemp seed delivery to Kentucky’s waiting research projects.

    “Their seeds were confiscated by an overzealous DEA, that is turning a blind eye to marijuana in Colorado and Washington State, but the DEA saw fit to come to Kentucky and harass our state department of agriculture that had non-psychoactive hemp seeds,” Massie said.

    It took a lawsuit on behalf of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and this same legislative amendment introduced by Massie to get those seeds released.

    That amendment became law as part of the Omnibus Bill which means it remains in affect until Sept. 30, when the bill expires.

    “Whenever you amend an appropriations bill to achieve a desired effect, it doesn’t become permanent law, it only lasts for the length of the appropriation, which is one fiscal year,” said Massie. “That’s why I reintroduced this amendment so this fiscal restraint on the DEA will also be in place in the 2016 fiscal year. And this time it passed by an even larger majority than last year.”

    He sees this as growing support from Congress to allow industrial hemp to once again become a production agriculture crop.

    “Just about every week I get a new co-sponsor for HR525 and that’s one of the reasons these amendment votes are important. They show a level of support for industrial hemp in Congress that keeps growing,” said Massie.

    He added that these vote totals will show leadership and committee chairs the will of the House is to allow the growing of industrial hemp and therefore HR525 should be passed out of committee and allowed a vote on the floor.


    “What’s happening here to motivate federal legislators is that the state legislatures are passing industrial hemp initiatives in their own states.” — U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky)

    One positive move that happened this year with the amendment that did not happen in 2014 is the support from the chair of the Judiciary Committee, the committee of jurisdiction for HR525.

    Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) chairs that committee and in his home state, hemp research legislation passed in 2014 by a nearly unanimous vote.

    “What’s happening here to motivate federal legislators is that the state legislatures are passing industrial hemp initiatives in their own states,” Massie said.

    From an agricultural standpoint, hemp is thought by many to be a viable replacement for tobacco in Kentucky.
    Massie, who raises cattle on a former tobacco farm, said he is acutely aware of the need to find a replacement crop even though it may not be on a one-for-one basis.

    But there are some sectors within the hemp industry that hold promise from a financial standpoint including its use in pharmaceuticals.

    “The majority of the venture capital that’s starting to come into the hemp field is focused on pharmaceutical applications not for THC but for CBD (cannabidiol) oils,” said Massie.

    Cannabinoids are extracts derived from industrial hemp that are often used in medical research.

    David Williams, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment agronomist and co-project lead for the university’s hemp research said some of that cannabinoid research, which until now has been conducted indoors, is going outdoors in fieldscape production at UK, something that may hold the key to it being a potential replacement crop for tobacco producers.

    “I’ll underline and bold that word ‘potential,’” said Williams cautiously. “If a tobacco production model yielded more cannabinoids than a direct-seeding model, it could be a ‘potentially’ wonder thing for Central Kentucky farmers to have a ‘potential’ alternative crop that might be just as profitable as tobacco used to be.”

    The House passed the CJS appropriations bill by a vote of 242-183. The legislation will now need Senate passage before going to the president.

    Tim Thornberry is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered Kentucky agricultural and rural issues for various publications since 1995.


    A pie made of coca leaves awaits the Pope when he visits Bolivia

    Coca planters will be giving Pope Francis a pie and other goods made out of coca leaves, when he arrives next July for an official visit to Bolivia. The gifts will be delivered during the scheduled meeting of Francis wish social movements’ organization in Santa Cruz, according to the organizers.


    Coca leaves are part of Bolivia's indigenous population culture and medicine, and as such are recognized by the country's constitution

    Leonardo Loza, vice-president of the Cochabamba Tropic Federations, an organization of coca planters, said that a group of them will be handing the Pope a pie, mate (infusion coca tea), and other ‘products’ which are made out of the coca plant which is so closely ingrained in the country’s culture and natural medicine.

    “The initiative is to show the Pope how much has been advanced in the industrialization of the coca plant, which will obviously have a great national and international repercussion” indicated Loza.

    The gifts presentation will take place in the framework of the meeting with social movements in the city of Santa Cruz in parallel to the Pope’s visit who will be staying in Bolivia from 8 to 10 July, as part of a tour of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

    Bolivia together with Colombia and Peru are three of the main world suppliers and producers of coca leaves, which is the main ingredient for elaborating its illegal derivate, cocaine, amply consumed in the Western world.

    However coca leaves in Bolivia are closely linked to the country’s indigenous culture and organic medicines, and as such are recognized in Bolivia’s constitution, but a significant part of the leaves production ends up with the drugs industry and cartels.

    The Bolivian government has insisted in advancing with the industrialization of the plant with the purpose of exporting derivates, although coca leaves remain in the narcotics list of the UN convention against drugs, which thus bans any kind of exports from coca.

    A year ago the coca planters gave UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon a coca leaves pie during his visit to Bolivia when the G77 plus China summit in Santa Cruz. The top diplomat accepted the pie but was never seen eating it.

    Pope Francis is expected in Bolivia on 8 July where he arrives from Ecuador. He will spend a few hours in the capital, La Paz and the neighboring city of El Alto (3.500 meters above sea level) before travelling to Santa Cruz, on the plans, where most of his activities will take place.


    Coal Miners Sign Class Action Lawsuit Against EPA



    Image result for Kentucky coal



    Laid off coal miners, and some still employed, are compiling signatures for a class-action lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. The petition currently has thousands of signatures.

    Those coal miners from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania met on Sunday at the Moundsville Eagles Hall from noon to 6 p.m. to show their support for the lawsuit against the EPA for violations that occurred during the process of enacting legislation.

    "This is a provision that can be challenged now. It is an administrative and legislative error. It doesn’t have to do with the final rule and we are not attacking the rule in its entirety. We’ll let the states and the coal companies do that at a later date," said one of the plaintiffs, Kurtis Armann.

    Armann said officials found serious problems that occurred during the legislative process, specifically the lack of peer review.

    He adds the pending regulations are destroying economies and a way of life for people in West Virginia.

    Armann anticipates the class to exceed 2,000 plaintiffs and if Indiana and Illinois get involved, it’ll reach between 4,000 to 5,000 plaintiffs.



    What’s really going on?

    Serra Frank

    43 mins ·

    All the hype about the Confederate Flag made me wonder what was really going on from which we were so obviously being distracted.

    Upon research, the biggest issue that caught my attention was the Trans Pacific Partnership… A revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement, shrouded in secrecy, and voted on by US Congress recently to become law very soon.

    Warnings across the internet claim that "although it is called a "free trade" agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP’s 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues.

    One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.

    The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the "expected future profits" they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies."

    There is also outcry that the TPP will allow pharmaceutical companies stricter patents against competitors, providing unlimited control of the prices of the drugs they supply to all 12 countries.

    WikiLeaks had published sections of TPP over the last few years, and warns that this is an attack on our personal freedom. They are so interested in the TPP, they’ve even offered a large reward for anyone willing to leak the rest.

    These recent articles about the 12 Nation Partnership are definitely interesting to read… or just Google the Trans Pacific Partnership for more information.…/barack-obama-fast-track-trade-………/will-the-trans-pacific-partnership-…/…/poli…/trade-deal-secrecy-tpp/index.html…/senate-obama-power-fast-track-tr……/tpp-dangerous-to-worlds-workers-p…/

    Serra Frank's photo.

    Professors Say U.S Flag is a Symbol of Racism, Should be Taken Down

    Originally posted on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot:

    A group of university professors has signed a letter showing their solidarity with students who tried to ban the American flag at the University of California, Irvine – because they said Old Glory contributes to racism.

    “U.S. nationalism often contributes to racism and xenophobia, and that the paraphernalia of nationalism is in fact often used to intimidate,” read a letter obtained by the website Campus Reform.

    Hundreds across the nation have signed the letter – including some U.C. Irvine professors, Campus Reform reported.

    American-Flag“We admire the courage of the resolution’s supporters amid this environment of political immaturity and threat, and support them unequivocally” the letter stated.

    How those professors can sleep at night knowing their salaries are paid for by a bunch of xenophobic racists is beyond me.

    On March 3 the U.C. Irvine student government association voted 6-4-2 to remove Old Glory from a campus lobby for the…

    View original 275 more words

    45th Annual Smoke-In July 4, 2015 Washington, CO

    Originally posted on Deadheads United™:

    Marijuana Activist Call To Action

    45th Anniversary Smoke-In

    Saturday July 4th, 2015, Washington DC

    “Smoke-in Alumni Reunite!”


    “This demonstration, held on the day that commemorates 45 consecutive years of Smoke-In history in Washington DC, is an opportune moment to acknowledge the era of change created by Marijuana Activists across these United States of America.”


    Smoke-In Alumni Call To Action

    We are asking all Smoke-In Alumni to return to to Washington DC on Saturday July 4th, 2015 for the 45th Anniversary Smoke-In and join our demonstration at our Rally, the “Peace Mile March” and Concert in the contingent of the year they attended their first Smoke-In. This will be the best time during this current presidential administration to let your voice be heard in front of the White House and to be acknowledged as an American Veteran Marijuana Activist, and POW of THC!


    During the 45 year history…

    View original 252 more words

    Marijuana is medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association concludes

    Posted on June 23, 2015 at 10:06 am by David Downs in featured, Health, Science


    Marijuana is one hundred percent a form of medicine, researchers conclude in a bombshell series of reports released today by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Cannabis — which has been used medicinally for thousands of years — reduces nausea, and vomiting, and pain, as well as spasticity, a panel of researchers conclude, after reviewing a total of 79 trials.

    “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence,” one of the reports found.

    Researchers bemoaned the lack of high-quality trials of marijuana. That situation that can be laid at the feet of cannabis prohibition. The federal government maintains cannabis is a highly dangerous drug with no medical use. Researchers must cut through more red tape to research a pot plant than any other substance on the planet, doctors say.

    However, this week, the federal government slightly reduced the regulatory hurdles to study cannabis — down from eight layers of review, to seven.

    More than 750,000 Americans will be arrested for cannabis this year.

    The Obama administration has spent an estimated $300 million interfering with state medical marijuana programs and patients, including arresting and prosecuting patients and caregivers. Thirty-five states have medical cannabis laws, and some members of Congress are working to de-fund federal attacks on medical marijuana.


    Drug Tests Don’t Make Sense, So Why Are Employers Still Using Them?





    The U.S. is experiencing a marijuana revolution. Four states, as well as Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana by popular vote. There are now 23 states with medical marijuana laws. Much of this has happened in the past decade. Despite this, and the overwhelming wealth of knowledge related to the fact that marijuana is not typically dangerous, many employers across America are still drug testing their employees. This begs the question: Why?

    "Drug testing is a waste of money… and the National Academy of Sciences has said the exact same thing," Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, told ATTN:.

    "Drug testing was sold with the promise of increasing productivity and improving safety, and it didn’t do either one."

    Maltby helped create a report for the ACLU in 1999 that essentially illustrated that drug testing companies were spreading fear among employers so they could test employees and profit. And these companies made a lot of money from spreading the prevalence of drug testing.

    From the 1999 report:

    "Drug testing programs are expensive. In one year, 38 federal government agencies spent $11.7 million on drug testing. The annual cost of drug testing to the aviation industry is approximately $14 million. Texas Instruments, one of America’s largest electronics manufacturing companies, reports spending $1 million to test 10,000 workers – about $100 per employee.​"

    Since Maltby and others have brought this information to light, the amount of companies that drug test employees has decreased. The number hit its high in 1996 with 81 percent of companies drug testing, and that number went down to 62 percent by 2004, according to the American Management Association (AMA). Statistics from the federal government show 40 percent of employers were testing employees at the time of hiring by 2007.

    Some employers are required to do drug tests under federal law such as the transportation industry, however many companies still administering drug tests are not.

    "Anyone who’s looked at the data knows beer drinkers and pot smokers don’t look any different in any aspect of their life, but if you’re an employer, you’re familiar with alcohol," Maltby said. "You know it can be abused, you know it can be used responsibly and the fact that some of your employees are drinking on the weekend doesn’t bother you," he said. However, the risks of pot may be unknown to that employer given the large degree of stigmatization it has.

    Companies that are run by people who are not familiar with the effects of drugs like marijuana may rely on information from drug testing companies, and that information can often be false. "Drug testers have been promoting drug testing since the 1970s," Maltby said. He also told ATTN: that drug testers would often produce studies that would run in Time Magazine or Newsweek that were based on false information or nonexistent information.

    One example is when anti-marijuana statements kept referring to something called the "Firestone Study," that allegedly claimed marijuana was dangerous and would ruin a company, but it didn’t exist. Maltby and many others went looking for this study, and they found many publications were just referencing other publications that had referenced the study. It turned out the information was probably based on a speech that had been given to Firestone executives many years ago that was at some point referred to as a study. It wasn’t based in scientific analysis at all.

    With states starting to legalize marijuana, companies are often giving up on their drug testing programs, but not everyone is doing it. "Some employers are beginning to treat marijuana like alcohol in states where marijuana is legal and some aren’t," Maltby said. Just because some legislators say it’s legal doesn’t mean a company has to accept that with open arms.

    Outside of marijuana, there are obviously more serious drugs companies test for. As The Atlantic recently pointed out, amphetamines and painkillers show up many employment drug tests. Regardless of whether painkillers are prescribed or abused, it can be difficult to tell the difference. Furthermore, companies spend money to test employees while catching few actual users. Less than 5 percent of urine drug tests taken in 2014 tested positively. Is it about safety and productivity? Or is it about a few medical companies making a profit?

    The Author Thor Benson

    Thor Benson is a traveling writer based in Los Angeles, California. He regularly contributes to ATTN:, and his writing has also been featured in The Atlantic, Wired, Rolling Stone, Vice, The Verge, and elsewhere.




    It kept on track an ambitious agenda to complete a sweeping trade Pacific trade agreement joining 12 countries — from Canada and Chile to Australia and Japan — into a web of rules governing trans-Pacific commerce.

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called trade promotion authority “the most important bill we’ll do this year.” Credit Cliff Owen/Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to legislation granting President Obama enhanced power to negotiate major trade agreements with Asia and Europe, sending the president’s biggest end-of-term legislative priority to the White House for his signature.

    The vote was 60 to 38.

    Senators then approved legislation assisting workers dislocated by international trade accords, attaching it to a popular African trade measure that will go to the House on Thursday for a final vote. House Democrats signaled they would support the worker-assistance measure, which they voted down two weeks ago in a tactical bid to derail the trade authority bill.

    The flurry of legislative action secured a hard-fought victory for Mr. Obama and the Republican congressional leadership. It kept on track an ambitious agenda to complete a sweeping trade Pacific trade agreement joining 12 countries — from Canada and Chile to Australia and Japan — into a web of rules governing trans-Pacific commerce. Negotiators will also move forward on an accord with Europe, knowing any agreement over the next six years cannot be amended or filibustered by Congress.

    “This is a critical day for our country,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He called the trade promotion authority bill “the most important bill we’ll do this year.”

    “It’s taken a while to get here, longer than many of us would have liked,” he added, “but anything worth doing takes effort.”



    What You Should Know About the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    The simple case against the Trans-Pacific Partnership We’ve seen this movie before. Trade deals have been advertised as increasing the size of the economic pie, but the benefits accrue mostly to big companies and their shareholders, while working-class Americans see job losses and income reductions as more of the work they once did moves overseas. Even if estimates of higher economic growth in the event of a deal are correct, many ordinary workers would end up worse off.

    The diplomatic arguments the president makes are a fuzzy, noneconomic rationale that is hard to prove or disprove, which is a shaky basis on which to enter a trade deal.

    Beyond those broad-brush arguments, though, the deal — like most trade agreements — would create a series of winners and losers.

    Winner: American service industries Say you’re an insurance company that wants to operate in Malaysia or a telecommunications firm looking to expand in Japan or an online retailer having fits trying to get your Peruvian operation up and running. This deal should be good news.


    We are ANTI-PROHIBITIONISTS! We are "Constitutionalists"!


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