‘Prince of Pot’ pleads guilty to federal charge

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN May 25, 2010 10:15 a.m. EDT

After years of legal wrangling, "prince of pot" Marc Emery is pleading guilty to a U.S. distribution conspiracy charge.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • NEW: Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery pleads guilty to U.S. charge
  • Under terms of a plea deal, he faces up to five years in a U.S. prison
  • Co-defendants were sentenced to probation in Canada
  • Emery says he’ll go to prison to prove a point: that marijuana laws are unjust

(CNN) — A man known as Canada’s "prince of pot" pleaded guilty Monday in a deal with prosecutors that could send him to prison in the United States for five years.

Marijuana activist Marc Emery pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington, to a single count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana following an 18-month investigation into the seed-selling business Emery operated from his head shop in Vancouver, British Columbia.

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez scheduled Emery’s sentencing August 11. At that time, the judge has the choice of accepting or rejecting the plea agreement, said Emery’s Seattle-based attorney, Richard Troberman.

"Based on comments the court has made. I have every reason to believe he will follow the plea agreement," Troberman told CNN.

Emery, 52, was brought to the United States last week. Canada’s justice minister signed an extradition order May 10 that left the outspoken libertarian with little choice after years of fighting extradition.

"Marc has never been afraid to face the music," said Emery’s wife, Jodie. "He’s spent most of his life breaking laws he considers unjust to demonstrate they’re unjust. He’ll go to jail to prove how absurd our drug laws are."

The plea comes nearly five years after Emery was arrested in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he says he was the guest speaker at the Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana festival. He was accused of selling marijuana seeds to customers in the United States.

The same day, Emery wrote on his website, DEA agents raided his head shop in downtown Vancouver, where he sold bongs, pipes and books. He also produced the magazine Cannabis Culture and ran an Internet portal, Pot-TV.

He’ll go to jail to prove how absurd our drug laws are.
–Jodie Emery, defendant’s wife

The head shop was the headquarters of Emery Direct Seeds, the target of the DEA’s 18-month undercover investigation. During the investigation, according to court documents, agents bought seeds from Emery’s business over the internet and in person.

Investigators also traced his product to illegal growing operations in several states, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a July 2005 news release.

A statement issued by the DEA in 2005 after Emery’s arrest suggested that he was targeted for his activism, with DEA Administrator Karen Tandy touting his capture as a "significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the United States and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement."

Tandy described Emery as one of 46 of the U.S. attorney general’s most wanted international drug traffickers and the only one from Canada, with his "marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine" generating nearly $5 million in profits.

Emery and two of his employees were each charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and conspiracy to lauder money, charges that carry penalties of 10 years to life in prison. After years of legal wrangling with Canadian and U.S. authorities, Emery reached the plea deal on the lesser charge, Troberman said.

Co-defendants Gregory Williams and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek entered pleas this year to lesser offenses and were placed on probation in Canada, according to court documents. They were never brought to the United States.

This prosecution has to do with his criminal activities and has nothing to do with his political activism.
–Emily Langlie, U.S. Attorney’s Office

Tandy stepped down as DEA administrator in 2007, and U.S. authorities seem to have backed down from her 2005 hard-line stance. The news release can no longer be found on the Department of Justice website, and the DEA referred calls to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

"This prosecution has to do with his criminal activities and has nothing to do with his political activism," said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Langlie added that she could not comment on the 2005 DEA statement.

Emery summed up his raison d’etre in a lengthy article published in Cannabis Culture and online after his arrest. He described his thoughts at the moment he was handcuffed: "Every seed sold, all the millions of dollars I had given to the cause, every speech to free our people, every arrest, jailing and raid I had endured: it was all for this moment in time."

iReport: "Prince of Pot" speaks

Much like in the United States, distribution and trafficking carry heavier punishments: a maximum of seven years for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for conspiracy to traffic in marijuana, according to a spokeswoman for Department of Justice Canada.

In practice, Canadian judges rarely mete out sentences longer than two years plus fines, based on a policy of judicial guidance that calls for incarceration as the last resort, according to several criminal defense lawyers and drug policy experts.

"Sentences typically don’t reach the mandatory minimums that are in place in U.S. federal system," Vancouver defense lawyer Kirk Tousaw said. He is Emery’s legal counsel in Canada, a contributor to his magazine and attorney for his co-defendants.

It was the U.S. who stepped in and put pressure on Canada.
–Richard Trouberman, U.S. defense attorney

RELATED TOPICS

Extradition to the United States, however, is commonplace in cases of Canadians accused of selling or smuggling drugs in the United States, said Troberman, Emery’s Seattle-based attorney. He has represented many Canadians in the United States.

"The only thing that makes this case somewhat unusual is that Marc was very visible and open about everything he did, and the Canadians had no interest in prosecuting him," Troberman said. "It was the U.S. who stepped in and put pressure on Canada."

Emery is the founder of the British Columbia Marijuana Party, and his status in Canada as a tireless champion for marijuana reform has been cemented through more than a decade of sit-ins, demonstrations and runs for political office. By his own account, he has been arrested at least a dozen times since 1995 related to his activism, and Vancouver Police have raided his shop several times since it opened in 1994.

In media interviews and biographies posted on CannabisCulture.com, Emery claims to have been fined twice for selling seeds and says he has spent three months in a Saskatchewan jail after being caught passing a joint in public.

"Some people will say he pushed it too far, but that’s his approach. He’s the enforcer on a hockey team. He makes everyone else look polite," said Eugene Oscapella, a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, which shares many of Emery’s goals but pursues them through public education and legislative efforts.

To Oscapella and others familiar with Emery, the trajectory of his activism made martyrdom in a U.S. prison the next natural step.

"He did this on purpose. He did it knowing the potential consequences," Oscapella said of Emery’s Direct Seeds. "Emery has always stuck his neck out. He’s a civil libertarian, almost an anarchist, so it’s very much his character to thumb his nose at U.S. drug policies."

iReport: Emery’s wife speaks on his extradition

People familiar with the case said Emery’s fate was sealed when the current conservative Canadian government came into power touting a law and order agenda that included vows to bring in mandatory minimum laws for certain drug offenses.

From behind bars, Emery continues to guide the movement with the help of his wife, Jodie, and legions of supporters. He plans to apply for a transfer to Canada after he is formally sentenced, which is expected to occur in two to three months, his lawyer said.

Emery sent a message to supporters in an recorded telephone call with his wife while he awaited extradition. He urged them to keep up the fight against mandatory minimum sentences and other new drug enforcement laws by adopting "militant" tactics, like sit-ins at the offices of MPs and traffic blockades.

"If just one person, me, being in jail is what it takes to arouse thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Americans and Canadians to get out and be involved and be responsible and take charge and take the initiative, then I’m a very happy individual."

View Source:  CNN

Share this on:

Mixx Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn

Black Mountain area designated as endangered, historic

By Bill Estep – bestep@herald-leader.com

990101blackmtEjc2

Historic preservation has crept into the controversy over mountaintop mining in Eastern Kentucky.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation included Black Mountain, in Harlan County, on its annual list of the most endangered historic places in the U.S. and territories. The trust released the list this week, designating 10 places and an 11th notation for state parks nationwide.

The organization said proposed underground and surface mining on Black Mountain would threaten the beauty and ecology of the area, as well as efforts to promote tourism in Lynch and Benham, two former coal-company towns near the mountain.

080123Hamletsacb136			 

Black Mountain borders the town of Lynch, a former coal camp built in 1917 by U.S. Steel.

091002Porta131adp600

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, left, in Benham is in the old commissary built by International Harvester in the 1920s. The museum tells the history of mining and the life of the coal miner.

 LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER – Coal companies built the towns of Benham and Lynch that hug Black Mountain.

CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS

The 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America for 2010 America’s state parks and state-owned historic sites Black Mountain, Harlan County Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, N.J. Industrial Arts Building, Lincoln, Neb.  Juana Briones House, Palo Alto, Calif. Merritt Parkway, Fairfield County, Conn. Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C. Pågat, Yigo, Guam Saugatuck Dunes, Saugatuck, Mich.Threefoot Building, Meridian, Miss. Wilderness Battlefield, Orange and Spotsylvania Counties, Va.

  • Source: National Trust For Historic Preservation

Coal built the towns, but shouldn’t be allowed to destroy them, Richard Moe, president of the trust, said in a news release.

"Benham and Lynch are living illustrations of the cultural and historic significance of the Appalachian coalfields," Moe said. "If mining is permitted on and around Black Mountain, the quality of life in two communities will suffer, local economic development will be stifled, and the mountain’s scenic beauty will be forever changed."

The trust works to spotlight and preserve historic sites threatened by development or neglect.

Benham and Lynch are examples of the wholly-owned towns that companies hungry for coal built in Eastern Kentucky in the early 1900s.

International Harvester built Benham in 1911. U.S. Steel developed Lynch along Looney Creek in 1917, using sandstone cut by Italian immigrants to build a theater, commissary and other public facilities, according to the Kentucky Encyclopedia.

At one time, it was the largest coal-company town in the world. U.S. Steel eventually got out of the business of owning a town in the 1950s, selling houses in Lynch to residents, according to the encyclopedia.

Several of the historic buildings remain, though some need repair.

Coal is still the backbone of Harlan County’s economy.

But Benham and Lynch have been working to develop tourism as well, with attractions such as an exhibition underground mine in Lynch, called Portal 31; the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, in the old company commissary in Benham; and an elementary school converted to a motel, called the Schoolhouse Inn.

Black Mountain figures in those efforts.

It is the state’s highest peak, at 4,145 feet, and is home to rare plants, animals and black bears, the National Trust said in its list.

Mining is barred on the upper reach of the mountain, but not at lower elevations.

The request to include Black Mountain on the list of endangered places relates to a fight over proposed mining in and on the mountain. Residents are contesting requests for underground and surface-mining permits.

Some are concerned that proposed mining could harm Lynch’s water supply.

"We’re not trying to stop mining. We’re just trying to save our community," said Lynch Mayor Ronnie Hampton, a retired state mine inspector.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, which opposes mountaintop mining, submitted the request to put Black Mountain on the list of endangered places.

Being on the list would show the mountain’s natural, cultural and historic importance and help residents pressure regulators to deny mining permits, KFTC said.

"We just feel like it’s going to give us some national recognition so we can shame ’em into not taking our mountain off," said Carl Shoupe, a KFTC member in Benham.

The organization acknowledged some residents wouldn’t support the designation.

The coal industry certainly doesn’t, said Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.

Bissett said mining won’t endanger the mountain or the towns, but it will provide jobs to help revitalize the area.

The request to put Black Mountain on the most-endangered list wasn’t about preserving history, he said.

"The goal here is trying to outlaw Kentucky’s most abundant, affordable natural resource," Bissett said.

There is a national competition to have sites included on the annual most-endangered list, said Nancy Tinker, a senior program officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

When the trust receives a request to put a building or site on the list, it checks out the application with groups and people in that state knowledgeable about preservation, Tinker said.

Black Mountain is only the third Kentucky place included in the annual list of 11 most-endangered places since the trust started it in 1988.

The others are in Jefferson County — the United States Marine Hospital and Country Estates of River Road, according to the trust’s Web site.

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/05/21/1273384/black-mountain-area-designated.html#ixzz0oaOCFgvt

Paul causes campaign’s first stir with Civil Rights answer

Paul causes campaign’s first stir with Civil Rights answer

Only two days old, the general election campaign for the open U.S. Senate seat already has become a breeding ground for controversy that has gotten the White House’s attention.

Rand Paul (R) and Atty. Gen. Jack Conway (D)

Republican candidate Rand Paul spent all day Thursday answering questions and  defending his views on the Civil Rights Act after saying publicly on the Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday night, for instance, that he questioned whether the Civil Rights Act may have gone too far by telling private owners how to run their businesess by requiring desegregation.

Democratic candidate Jack Conway, as well as other Democrats, wasted no time trying to capitalize.

“Rand Paul is promoting a narrow and rigid ideology and has repeatedly rejected a fundamental provision of the Civil Rights Act,” Conway said in a news release. “He is focused on the Tea Party whereas I am running to be a senator for all the people of Kentucky, who are really hurting right now.”

Even White House spokesman Robert Gibbs weighed in, which sent the Washington media into a frenzy. (The Hill and ABC News blog are among the throngs of outlets chasing the Kentucky Senate story).

Paul issued a statement Thursday saying he didn’t mean that the Civil Rights Act should be repealed.

“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person,” Paul said in the release. “I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation. Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

At the same time, a new Rasmussen poll shows Paul with a 25 percent lead over Conway. The poll is the first time Paul, who has polled above Conway in previous hypothetical matchups, has polled over 50 percent of the vote.

The poll has a 4.5 percent margin of error.

Paul, meanwhile, has tried to stay on the offensive by positioning himself as the outsider trying to topple a “Washington D.C. candidate” for the second race in a row.

While Conway has never been elected to a national office before, Paul has cited Conway’s support of the health care legislation passed last month as at least one credential of already being part of Washington politics. Conway had previously run for the U.S. 3rd District seat against Anne Northup in 2002.

Paul has invited President Barack Obama to come campaign for Conway, as part of his strategy, going as far as to say that he would pay to fly the president to Kentucky. Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly followed suit, finding common ground with Paul. McConnell, however, was one of the ways Paul tied his primary opponent, Trey Grayson, to Washington during the GOP race because McConnell and other Republican leaders backed Grayson.

On Thursday, Conway told cn|2 Politics he would welcome the president if he offered to come to Kentucky.

“I don’t think its fair (Paul’s comparsion),” Conway said. “But whenever the president comes to your state you welcome him. Now, I don’t agree with the president on everything, but if he came he would be welcomed.”

Kenny Colston


FIGHTING FOR G.O.D.

http://www.fightingforgod.com/

front cover

Fighting for G.O.D. (Gold, Oil, and Drugs)

a graphic novel revelation about 9/11 and the global elite

Telling a story that our mainstream media rarely come near, this illustrated volume gives us an understanding of 9/11 as a cynical ploy by global elites to maintain their control.  With a review of history from medieval bankers to the corporate ‘new world order’ of modern neocons, writer Jeremy Begin and artist Lauren Salk deftly set out the patterns of war and terror which have kept the masses subservient. 

While police state control and war without end are becoming the expected norm, this analysis delves into aspects of the larger framework into which 9/11 fits and scrutinizes the ancestry of the players who transcend commonly accepted partisan divisions.

Jeremy Begin is a long-time activist/organizer who has a degree in writing from Hampshire College.  He currently resides in California's Bay Area. Lauren Salk is an illustrator with a degree in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art.  She lives in Boston.

Building on the research of such notables as theologian David Ray Griffin, Michael Rupport, and Anthony Sutton—all of whom have questioned the government’s account of 9/11— this book discusses key issues confronting America’s citizenry and steps the populace can take to not only halt but reverse the march towards totalitarianism.

100% of the author’s profits from sales of this book go towards 9/11 Truth activism.  Please help to spread the word and mobilize the public.

Read more…

Kevin Costner Helps Fight Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS —

Actor Kevin Costner was in New Orleans on Thursday with a machine that extracts oil from water, New Orleans TV station WDSU reported.

He said he’s ready to go to work to help clean up the Gulf oil spill.

The world-famous actor and environmental activist said he’s not here to talk the talk. He’s here to walk the walk.

"We moved this through a technology that we know works, and it’s prepared to go out and solve problems, not talk about them," Costner said.

At a demonstration surrounded by local parish leaders, Costner and his business partners displayed their oil extractor device for the local media.

The machine works on the principle of centrifugal force. In this case, diesel fuel and water enter the machine together and are jettisoned separately, with water on one side and diesel on the other. The machine will clean the water up to 97 percent, officials with Ocean Therapy Solutions said.

"We’re working on the technology now that will get us the other 3 percent so that you can actually drink out of the machine," OTS official John Houghtaling II said.

"I just am really happy that this has come to the light of day," Costner said. "I’m very sad about why it is, but this is why it was developed, and like anything that we all face as a group, we face it together."

Local parish leaders were excited.

"We will be pushing for this to at least get a demonstration out in the open water to put this to a test," St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro said. "If it shows what it shows here on land, then we may have found ourselves another tool for the tool box."

"With these odds and percentages, it only makes sense," Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nunguesser said. "Let’s give it a try."

The company offers five different machines that work from 5 gallons a minute to 200 gallons a minute.

Fifteen years ago, Costner funded a group of scientists headed by his brother to develop such a device. Local partners have been organized to deploy the machine for BP.

Actor In New Orleans To Promote Oil-Extracting Machine

 

POSTED: 9:20 am CDT May 14, 2010 UPDATED: 3:50 pm CDT May 14, 2010

Hemp fans look toward Lyster Dewey’s past, and the Pentagon, for higher ground

By Manuel Roig-Franzia Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, May 13, 2010

KY HEMP

Hemp needed a hero. Needed one bad.

The gangly plant — once a favorite of military ropemakers — couldn’t catch a break. Even as legalized medical marijuana has become more and more commonplace, the industrial hemp plant — with its minuscule levels of the chemical that gives marijuana its kick — has remained illegal to cultivate in the United States.

Enter the lost hemp diaries.

Found recently at a garage sale outside Buffalo but never publicly released, these journals chronicle the life of Lyster H. Dewey, a botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture whose long career straddled the 19th and 20th centuries. Dewey writes painstakingly about growing exotically named varieties of hemp — Keijo, Chinamington and others — on a tract of government land known as Arlington Farms. In effect, he was tending Uncle Sam’s hemp farm.

What’s gotten hemp advocates excited about the discovery is the location of that farm. A large chunk of acreage was handed over to the War Department in the 1940s for construction of the world’s largest office building: the Pentagon. So now, hempsters can claim that an important piece of their legacy lies in the rich Northern Virginia soil alongside a hugely significant symbol of the government that has so enraged and befuddled them over the years.

All thanks to Lyster Dewey.

A small trade group, the Hemp Industries Association, bought Dewey’s diaries. The group’s leaders hope that displaying them for the first time on Monday — the start of what they’ve decreed the "1st Annual Hemp History Week" — will convince the universe that hemp is not a demon weed and was used for ropes on Navy ships and for World War II parachute webbing. The ultimate goal is to spur the government to lift the ban on hemp production, a policy that especially riles activists because foreign-produced hemp oils and food products can be legally imported.

Diary of daily progress

Dewey lived, at various times, in Washington’s Petworth and Shaw neighborhoods. In photographs discovered along with the diaries, he cuts a dapper figure in suit coats with vests and a top hat, or merrily pedaling a bicycle with the District’s iconic rowhouses behind him.

Dewey’s meticulously labeled diaries start in 1896 and end in 1944, the year of his death at age 79. They read like artifacts of a bygone Washington. In 1937, he goes "downtown by street car and up the avenue past the White House to see the beautiful reproduction of Andrew Jackson’s ‘Hermitage,’ which will be President Roosevelt’s reviewing stand tomorrow, then down to the Capitol to see the inaugural stands."

Adam Eidinger, a consultant to the hemp association, stores the diaries in two sturdy, combination-locked cases. Pages are held together by fraying oxblood leather covers; others live in drab, gray notebooks.

"I’m getting the impression he was very disciplined," Eidinger says. "He was hands-on — preferred digging around in Arlington Farms, rather than being in the office."

As early as 1914, Dewey writes of inspecting hemp at Arlington Farms. For nearly a quarter-century, he carefully notes his quotidian progress as a grower and hemp advocate: "Thursday, October 19, 1922. Fair, cool. Go to Arlington Farm on the 9 a.m. bus and work all day," he wrote. "Harvesting Kymington, Yarrow, Tochigi, Tochimington, Keijo and Chinamington hemp."

The most powerful piece of evidence for hemp activists might be a photograph contained in an album with a battered black cover. In it, Dewey poses next to a stand of 13-foot-tall hemp plants. The caption reads: "Measuring a hemp plant 4 m. high. Arlington Farm. Aug, 28, 1929." In a dress shirt with cuff links and tie, he looks every bit the part of the proud gentleman farmer.

Yard sale discovery

None of this might have come to light if not for sheer luck and a sequence of coincidences. It all starts last summer at a yard sale in Amherst, N.Y., 15 minutes outside Buffalo, where a man named David Sitarski was prowling for small treasures. For decades, Sitarski has dreamed of starting a Web site that archives historical artifacts from the Buffalo area.

Even though he’d recently been laid off from his computer-equipment manufacturing job of 20 years, Sitarski decided to pay $130 for the diaries and one of the two albums, thinking they pertained to Buffalo. He would have bought the second photo album, but another man snatched it up.

Six months later, Sitarski says, his wife spotted their yard-sale rival while running errands. Sitarski jumped out of the car and talked him into selling the photo album to complete his set. The man casually mentioned that there were hemp pictures within, and Sitarski started Googling. He didn’t make the Pentagon connection, but he quickly figured out that Dewey was a crucial hemp pioneer. Still jobless and needing money, Sitarski listed the material on eBay, asking $10,000.

A second man with a dream emerged: Michael Krawitz, a 47-year-old disabled veteran from the town of Ferrum in southwest Virginia. Krawitz has spent 10 years scheming to build a hemp museum that he hopes will inspire construction of similar museums throughout the world. "I picture myself with a team of people dragging some hemp artifact out of a mountain in Tibet," he says. He spotted Sitarski’s listing but, alas, there was no way he could afford it.

But the hemp association could. The group has a sugar daddy: David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, which has grown from a $5 million company to a $31 million firm in the past decade since adding hemp oil to its products to "improve skin feel" and produce a smoother lather. Bronner agreed to pay about $4,000 for the trove — an easy call, given his court battles with the Drug Enforcement Administration when it tried to ban food products containing hemp. Bronner was also arrested last October after planting hemp seeds on a lawn at DEA headquarters.

"It’s kind of ironic that we dug up DEA’s lawn to plant hemp seeds and highlight the absurdity of the drug war, but you take it back 50 years and that’s what the government itself was doing," Bronner says in an interview from his company’s Southern California headquarters.

Krawitz tried to deliver the Dewey materials to the D.C. hempsters in February, but he got stuck in the "Snowmageddon" storm that paralyzed the area. Finally, when the weather cleared, he made it to Eidinger’s Adams Morgan apartment.

Feeling like this would be a Moment, they pulled out a video camera and began to sift through the materials with Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a nonprofit dedicated to changing hemp cultivation laws. Each turn of the page brought Dewey into sharper focus.

It didn’t take long for Eidinger to conclude they’d found "a major gem" and a kindred spirit. He thought: "I can totally relate to this guy."

In Kentucky’s Senate race, ties to Mitch McConnell could be helpful or harmful

By Amy Gardner

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 13, 2010

 

 

MONTICELLO, KY. — When Senate candidate Rand Paul told a lunchtime crowd at Shearer’s Buffet that "we have to do things differently" in Washington and "bring ’em home and send some different Republicans," it wasn’t hard to make the jump from this rural area near the Tennessee border to the top Republican in the state, if not the country: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Paul, a "tea party" activist and the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), a former presidential candidate, is not the first person this year to blame leaders in Washington for the nation’s ills. What’s remarkable about this primary campaign is that McConnell isn’t even on the ballot. Paul is running against Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

McConnell, 68, is widely credited with building the Kentucky Republican Party — the GOP headquarters in Frankfort is even named for him. Just a few months ago, it seemed inconceivable that he couldn’t push Grayson, his handpicked candidate, to victory Tuesday. Now, not only is Grayson in trouble — he trails in the polls by double digits — but his association with McConnell isn’t helping.

"They go, and they stay too long, they lose their way, and as they do they become corrupted by the system," Paul, 47, an eye surgeon making his first run for office, told a group of about 30 supporters over breakfast at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken in the tiny town of Albany. "The longer you’re there, the more you succumb to the power, the more you think you are somehow different or more important than the rest."

McConnell was unavailable for an interview, and his spokesman declined to comment for this article. But Grayson rejected the idea that the race has become a referendum on McConnell or Grayson’s connection to him. "He’s actually got more D.C. ties than me," Grayson said of Paul.

He’s also sure that McConnell is an asset, despite his five terms in office. They’re both so sure, in fact, that the senator, after months of behind-the-scenes support, jumped in last week with a public endorsement.

(Six Republican candidates are on the ballot, but polls show the race is between Paul and Grayson. Similarly, five Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination the same day, but surveys find that the contest is primarily between Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway.)

Grayson has numerous connections to McConnell. McConnell urged the younger Republican, a lawyer from the Cincinnati suburbs, to run even before outgoing Sen. Jim Bunning (R) decided last year to retire. (Bunning is supporting Paul.) They share a pollster and a media consultant, and Grayson’s father, a bank president, is a longtime McConnell supporter. The view among some who back Paul is that Grayson would be little more than a yes man for McConnell.

"We’re sick of McConnell," said Winna Ramsey, 50, a radiology technician from Monticello who came to hear Paul speak at Shearer’s. "Rand Paul is not a career politician. He’s got the people’s interests in mind, not the special interests. He’s a breath of fresh air from what I can see."

Grayson, 38, bristles at such characterizations and is exasperated that his record of fiscal and social conservatism is going unnoticed. Grayson opposed the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program legislation in 2008 that bailed out U.S. financial institutions; as secretary of state he slashed spending in his office; he served on the board of a pregnancy crisis center that counsels against abortion. He also notes that much of Paul’s momentum is the result of out-of-state donations from his father’s supporters.

Still, Grayson struggles to connect with potential backers. At the headquarters of a hardwood flooring company in London, Ky., one of the owners lamented the state of the economy, and Grayson responded: "Oh, it’s terrible." Local circuit court clerk Roger L. Schott, who was escorting Grayson, tried to prod the candidate. "What are we going to do to change that, Trey?" Afterward, the businessman, Jim Begley, said Paul seemed to have more answers.

Paul’s campaign stops are feisty affairs at which supporters hoot and cheer as he weaves his personal biography and a list of grievances with Washington into a populist call to arms. The founder of the antitax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United, Paul rails against what he describes as Washington’s unsustainable spending, crippling debt, career politicians with no term limits, a "socialist" health-care law and a failure to close the nation’s borders to illegal immigrants.

Paul has become a national hero of the tea party movement by opposing new taxes and deficit spending and supporting such ideas as the abolition of the Department of Education and amending the Constitution so that children born in the United States to illegal immigrants would no longer become citizens automatically. A victory for him on Tuesday would further energize a movement already pumped up by the defeat of Sen. Robert F. Bennett in Utah’s Republican primary last weekend.

"Greece is defaulting right now on their debt," he told the breakfast group. "One of the next things you’ll see is chaos on the streets. You’ll see violence. . . . And it can happen even in America if we’re not careful."

But Paul’s libertarian streak could lead to breaks with conservatives on some issues. He opposed the war in Iraq. He has spoken in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. A pro-Grayson advocacy group, trying to portray Paul as out of step with mainstream Republicans, is running a television ad featuring a chiming cuckoo clock.

McConnell’s advisers say the senator remains popular among Republican voters, and Paul typically doesn’t mention him by name. But his crowds are all too glad to make the connection. And the candidate got as close as ever to a direct critique of McConnell during a debate on Monday, when he and Grayson were asked whether they would vote for McConnell to keep his post as Republican leader. While Grayson answered that he would vote "proudly" for McConnell, Paul said, "I’d have to know who the opponent is and make a decision at that time."

YOU ARE FIRED!

From: C Haning

Sent: Tuesday, February 02, 2010 7:00 PM

To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;

Subject: Fw: Retribution is less than 1 year away!

COPY THIS AND POST IT ON YOUR FRIDGE!!!! REMEMBER 2010 IS AN ELECTION YEAR!!!!

Retribution is less than 1 year away!

Take a look at this and just remember elections in November 2010.

  1. U..S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 raises.
  2. They voted to NOT give you a S.S. Cost of living raise in 2010 and 2011.
  3. Your Medicare premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years
  4. You will not get the 3% COLA: $660/yr.
  5. Your total 2-yr loss and cost is -$1,600 or -$3,200 for husband and wife.
  6. Over these same 2-years each Congress person will get an additional $10,000
  7. Do you feel SCREWED YET?
  8. Will they have your cost of drugs – doctor fees – local taxes – food, etc., decrease? NO WAY!!. Congress and all Federal Employees received a raise and have better health and retirement benefits than you or I will ever have!!! AT NO COST TO THEM!!!!! (YOUR TAXES PAY FOR IT ALL)

Why should they care about you?

You never did anything about it in the past.

They think you are too stupid or don’t care.

Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie,

Barnie, et al, care about you?

Send this message to those individuals — “YOU’RE FIRED!”

In 2010 you will have a chance to get rid of the sitting Congress: up to 1/3 of the Senate and 100% of the House!

Make sure you’re still mad in November 2010 and remind their replacements not to screw-up.

It is ok to forward this to your sphere of influence if you are finally tired of the abuse.

Maybe it’s time for Amendment 28 to the Constitution..

28th Amendment will be as follows:

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States .”

Let’s get this passed around, folks – these people in Washington have brought this upon themselves! It’s time for retribution. Let’s take back America ..

If you don’t forward this to all your friends, you will just become part of the problem of national apathy.



Once upon a time, Americans felt secure

 

 

Once upon a time, Americans felt secure

By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor

May 9, 2010 7:22 a.m. EDT

tzleft.bob.greene.courtesy.jpg

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bob Greene: Not so long ago, ID checks and security cameras were unheard of
  • Greene: Airports, high-rises, government buildings were open to all, Greene says
  • All this security, he says, would have been seen as totalitarian in that open society
  • Now, he writes, it’s a necessary way of life, as arrest of Time Square bomb suspect confirms

Editor’s note: Bob Greene is a bestselling author whose new book is "Late Edition: A Love Story."

(CNN) — How safe would you feel if:

There were no metal detectors or security checkpoints at U.S. airports, and anyone who wanted to could stroll straight to the gate and onto a flight?

People had open access to all courthouses and government buildings, state and federal, and could walk in and out without going through any screening process?

High-rise office buildings did not require the people who worked there to carry ID, and no one was stopped or asked what their business was on the way to the elevators?

Security cameras as a part of everyday life did not exist; people could walk down the street or into stores knowing that there would be no photographic or video record of them ever having been there?

People could purchase airline tickets without providing proof of who they really were?

At airports all across the country, outdoor observation decks were provided within feet of the runways, and members of the public were invited to stand on them to watch as the planes took off, with no one in authority present, and no one checking the contents of whatever packages or bags the people carried onto the deck?

Would that make you at all nervous?

For a very long time, it didn’t make Americans nervous at all. That was the standard way of life. It didn’t seem odd. What would have seemed odd — what might have caused outrage — is the way we live now.

It’s something to keep in mind in the wake of the failed car bomb attack in Times Square, and the subsequent arrest of a suspect as he was about to fly out of the country. With all the talk about the ways in which security measures worked, and about how they came close to failing to work, one thing is being left out:

For all of our technologically sophisticated attempts to protect ourselves, there is a nagging feeling that we are not particularly safe. Yet only relatively recently in American social history did we feel the need to start acting with such caution. American society was, in hindsight, astonishingly open and unfettered before the final third of the 20th century. The doors were, symbolically, kept unlocked. Fear was not a growth industry.

There are any number of reasons for why all this changed. People who would harm others or create chaos figured out ways to do it using the country’s air transportation system.

International travel, once a daunting prospect, became fast and easy. As criminals, both domestic and foreign, devised new ways to hurt their victims, a rapidly growing security industry matched them with innovative methods of protection. It became a zero-sum game; those who were out to cause heartache kept upping the ante, and were met with heightened levels of surveillance.

And if the zero-sum game is one that, given the choice, we never would have elected to enter. . . well, it wasn’t up to us, and we’re in it now. If it were a game instead of the incremental alteration of our way of life, it would feel as if some unseen crowd was encouraging us with a constant chant: "DEE-fense! DEE-fense! DEE-fense!"

But what is energizing on the athletic field — the systematic shutdown of the opposing side’s attempts to prevail — becomes exhausting in real life. We know that all the new measures of guardedness are necessary; no one is proposing that they be rolled back. The courthouse lobbies you could waltz right through, the airports that were open to wander around in, the city streets that had no cameras aiming downward at pedestrians — if they were to magically return to the United States, the government officials who allowed the return to happen would be voted out of office. We’re accustomed to life as lockdown now; we not only accept it, but we depend on it.

Yet perhaps it is helpful to pause, if only once in a while, to ask ourselves the most basic question:

What went wrong?

Something did. If a totalitarian government had declared war on the United States, had somehow triumphed, and had instituted the measures we have levied upon ourselves — the ID cards, the checkpoints, the cameras that never let us out of sight — there might be an uprising. We wouldn’t put up with it.

But we do, and especially at moments like the one when the suspect in the Times Square attempt is arrested we’re grateful for the new tools of detection.

In the end, all of this will not be a question solely for law enforcement officials or technology experts or counterterrorism operatives. They will deal with the breaking-news aspects: the individual threats, the attacks that happen and the attacks that are stopped.

Centuries from now, though, the gradual transformation of the texture of American life — the shift from fairly open to always on alert — will be a subject for philosophers and social historians to explore and explain. It’s not a matter of whether our unblinking vigilance is needed. It is.

Yet there has been a price, one that has nothing to do with money. And we have just begun to tally it up. The people who would bring violence upon us will devise new ways to attempt it; we, in turn, will erect newer and more intrusive barriers. The pendulum is never going to swing back. This is how life feels now.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bob Greene.

Ashton Lundeby Update

Posted by William Grigg on May 7, 2009 02:08 PM

 

It appears that, contrary to what I reported two days ago, Ashton Lundeby is not being held under the USA PATRIOT act.

Earlier today, a memo marked “Not for distribution outside law enforcement” was circulated among officials in Indiana — where Ashton is being held at the Thomas N. Frederick Juvenile Justice Center in South Bend. The memo complained of hostile publicity given to the case inspired by what were described as “false claims” from Ashton’s mother, Annette Lundeby, about the use of the PATRIOT act in the arrest and detention of her son.

Those claims led the office of US Attorney David Capp to issue a press release today insisting that the arrest and detention of Ashton Lundeby “is unrelated to the PATRIOT act.”
“The juvenile has appeared in court on three occasions, once in North Carolina for an initial hearing and a detention hearing, and twice in Indiana for a continued initial hearing and a status hearing,” the press release relates. “At each hearing, the juvenile was represented by counsel…. The juvenile is presently housed in a juvenile facility in the Northern District of Indiana where he does not have contact with adult offenders. His mother has been apprised of each court appearance and has attended the hearing in North Carolina; she did not appear at either of the hearings in Indiana.”

As the press release notes, Annette Lundeby was present during the initial hearing in North Carolina, and until today she was the only source available to describe the details of her son’s arrest and the terms of his detention. In interviews I conducted with her both on May 5 and 6, Mrs. Lundeby insisted that the PATRIOT act was invoked by the Feds in this case.

I reported her claims in good faith, buttressed by the assessment presented in the WRAL report from former U.S. Attorney Dan Boyce, as well as the fact — noted in the essay published on LRC two days ago — that the PATRIOT act’s definition of “domestic terrorism” has been used in at least one other case involving a juvenile accused of a serious crime.

In updates to the original story, I relate that a source close to the prosecution (not directly involved in the prosecution, but with detailed, first-hand knowledge of it) insists that the case against Ashton is strong enough that the use of such extraordinary measures would not be necessary.

Title 18, Section 844 (e) of the US Code makes it a felony punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years to make a bomb threat, either real or bogus, using “the mail, telephone, telegraph, or other instrument of interstate commerce….” That provision would explain the involvement of the FBI in a suspected bomb threat made from North Carolina against Purdue University in Indiana. Whatever the wisdom of that statute, its existence would appear to make use of the PATRIOT act gratuituous. This doesn’t mean that the Feds didn’t take the easy route, as Mrs. Lundeby claims, of course. But it does mean that if Ashton was involved in making bomb threats, he bought himself more trouble than he expected.

Expect a follow-up on all of this later today on Pro Libertate

Posted by William Grigg on May 7, 2009 02:08 PM

 

**************************************8

May 8, 2009

Ashton Lundeby Update: Less Than Meets The Eye

by Doug Mataconis

Earlier this week, I wrote about the story of Ashton Lundeby — a 16 year-old kid being held in Indiana in connection with an alleged bomb threat — and his mother’s allegations that he son was being detained pursuant to the PATRIOT Act.

Well, it seems that there is much less to this story than there seemed to be at first blush.

First of all, it’s quite apparent that the PATRIOT Act is not even involved in this case. Lundeby was arrested under a 70 year old law that makes it a Federal crime to use telecommunications equipment to make interstate bomb threats.

Second, it’s quite obvious that Lundeby is not the innocent 16 year-old that his mother made him out to be in initial reports:

A 16-year-old North Carolina boy arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat against Purdue University had a secret identity as a superstar in an unusual online subculture — one dedicated to making prank phone calls for a live internet audience, his mother admitted Thursday.

“I heard the prank phone calls he made,” says Annette Lundeby of Oxford. “They were really funny prank phone calls…. He made phone calls to, like, Walmart.”

Lundeby confirmed that her son was known online as “Tyrone,” a celebrity in a prank-calling community that grew late last year out of the trouble-making “/b/” board on 4chan. Using the VOIP conferencing software Ventrilo, as many as 300 listeners would gather on a server run by Tyrone to listen to him and other amateur voice actors make often-crude and racist phone calls, some of which are archived on YouTube. The broadcasts were organized through websites like PartyVanPranks.com.

A former fan of Tyrone’s work helped lead the police to Lundeby’s son after the boy allegedly moved beyond pranks this year and began accepting donations from students eager to miss a day of school. In exchange for a little money, Tyrone would phone in a bomb threat that would shutter the donor’s school for a day.

“People would pay about five dollars, and they get to submit a number,” says Jason Bennett, a 19-year-old college student in Syndey, Australia. “It was getting way out of hand.”

Lundeby admits that her son received donations for his prank phone calls, but denies that he made bomb threats. She says her son was with her, coming home from church, at the time of the February 15 phone call that summoned a bomb squad and evacuated the mechanical engineering building at Purdue University in Indiana.

Bennett didn’t hear the Purdue call, but he says he heard Tyrone admit to that bomb threat later, and decided enough was enough. He contacted university police and began helping them get the goods on “Tyrone.”

Now this doesn’t mean that Lundeby is guilty of the charges against him, but these reports do cast serious doubts on his mother’s credibility, most especially on her assertion that her son is a victim of overzealous use of the PATRIOT Act. So, you know, sorry for jumping the gun on this story because, as Rick Sincere says, it’s pretty clear we’ve been punked.