April 17, 2012
By Mike Adams
“Maybe he doesn’t even want to get re-elected. The War on Drugs is a scam.” –KTRN
If you happen to need even more evidence that President Obama has gutted his campaign promises and betrayed not only the left but also African Americans who enthusiastically supported his election, he has just gone public with his support for the continued war on drugs. Keeping marijuana criminalized, it seems — and keeping more African Americans in prison — is a top priority for the Obama administration.
This means Obama supports the midnight DEA raids on our citizenry; the filling of prisons with small-time pot smokers; the disproportionately punitive sentences handed down to black men and women across America who aren’t really criminals at all… they merely suffer from a chemical addiction that would more rightly be considered a medical issue.
Nearly every country in Latin America has now openly and publicize recognized that the so-called “war on drugs” is a complete and total failure. But Obama thinks it’s just great! Fill the prisons! Prosecute more blacks! Buy more guns and night vision gear for the DEA! That’s what Obama’s America stands for, it seems.
“I personally and my administration’s position is that legalization is not the answer,” Obama said just hours before the meeting of Latin American leaders at the Convention Centre in Cartagena, Colombia, for the Americas Summit (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17716926). Meanwhile, Obama’s top Secret Service agents and military commanders were banging Colombian whores in the background, then refusing to pay them their $47 prostitution fee. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035580_Secret_Service_Colombia_prostitutes…) Obama had “no comment” on that particular issue.
Let’s get real about all this. Marijuana prohibition simply doesn’t work. At least not for reducing crime and drug addiction. Anyone who thinks prohibition works is completely delusional. But it does work for certain special interests. What are those special interests, anyway?
March 21, 2012
By Nina Totenberg
“So apparently it’s now a crime to disagree with your elected officials. Dick Cheney is a war criminal.” –KTRN
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case involving the arrest of a Colorado man who was thrown in jail after telling Vice President Cheney in 2006 that the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq were “disgusting.”
Environmental consultant Steven Howards is suing the Secret Service agents who arrested him, contending that the arrest violated his First Amendment rights because it was nothing more than retaliation for the views he expressed to the vice president. The case pits the need for protecting public officials against the rights of citizens to express their views to the people elected to represent them.
What makes this case doubly fascinating is the fact that even the Secret Service agents involved in the arrest do not agree on what happened. The agents who actually saw the encounter testified they saw no threatening action.
In contrast, the agent who made the arrest, Virgil Reichle, accused the others of covering up, and some of Reichle’s fellow agents have testified that he asked them to change their reports to match his. All have acknowledged that if any of these accusations is true, it would amount to a crime under federal law.
March 8, 2012
By Carl Herman
Attorney General Eric Holder, the top “legal” voice of the US regime, argued to Northwestern University law students that the US Constitution is no limit to the regime dictatorially assassinating Americans. This follows regime arguments to seize and “disappear” any person in opposition to regime dictates as “terrorist supporters,” and extracting their confessions with controlled drowning (euphemistically “waterboarding”), found by all US and international courts as torture. The regime’s followers in Congress voted for legislation (2006 Military Commissions Act, 2012 NDAA) that these dictates are consistent with the US Constitution.
Because these claims are in Orwellian contradiction to the US form of government as limited under a constitution, the regime is attempting to substitute a different form of government without being arrested for violating existing law. As a teacher of government, the closest definition for the regime’s substitute of dictatorial assassinations, seizure and “disappearing” people, and torture is fascism.
Occupy invites the 99% to join them in response to such ongoing 1% crimes with three specific actions:
Recognize the 1%’s massive crimes centering in war and money.
Request those with arrest authority to exercise it.
Participate in policies to benefit 100% of Earth’s inhabitants.
February 14, 2012
By Al Jazeera
“If the US is truly the land of the free, why are there so many people in prison here?” –KTRN
The US has the highest prison population in the world – some of whom have been subjected to lengthy sentences for relatively minor crimes. And that population has surged over the past three decades.
Although there has been a slight reduction in the past year, more than two million people are either incarcerated in prison or in jail awaiting trial.
The US has the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, with 743 people incarcerated for every 100,000 Americans. No other nation even comes close to these figures.
One explanation for the boom in the prison population is the mandatory sentencing imposed for drug offences and the “tough on crime” attitude that has prevailed since the 1980s.
But it is the length of sentences that truly distinguishes US prison policy. Some prisoners are locked up for life – literally – and many receive harsh sentences for non-violent crime.
These long sentences are leading to an ageing prison population – with eight per cent of prisoners now over the age of 55. This, in turn, is increasing the burden of providing healthcare and geriatric services.
February 8, 2012
By Steven Downing
“If you watched Your Interview With The President on You Tube, than you know it was a total joke. They cherry picked questions and it was obvious Obama knew exactly what he was going to be asked. It was painful to watch.”
In more than twenty years with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), where I retired as deputy chief of police, I saw a lot of puzzling behavior at close range. This week I saw some odd behavior from Google, YouTube and President Obama.
It started when I submitted, via YouTube, a question for the “Your Interview with the President” session, an online chat hosted on Google+. My question asked why the President has not done more to end our disastrous drug war at a time when polls show that a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. The decades I spent enforcing our drug laws with the LAPD convinced me that the war on drugs is worse than unwinnable. It is a boon to organized crime and a worthless drain on limited law enforcement resources, not to mention the fact that it saddles millions of Americans with criminal records that can follow them for the rest of their lives.
In retirement, I have spent that last few years working with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group that represents police, prosecutors, judges, DEA agents, and others who are working to replace drug prohibition with a system of sensible regulation and control. LEAP and many other groups sprang into action when the call went out for people to submit questions for the president via YouTube. Eighteen of the 20 top vote-getting questions were on drug policy; mine was the highest-ranked video question on the entire site and the second-highest vote-getter overall, trailing only a text question about online copyright infringement.
Along with many other people, I looked forward to hearing what the president would say. But, as it turned out, Google didn’t present the president with my question. And your host, Steve Grove, didn’t say one word during the entire interview about any of the other popular marijuana and drug policy questions.
Instead, you decided to spend several minutes allowing participants to ask the president of the United States to weigh in on truly important issues like… late-night snacking, dancing, celebrating wedding anniversaries and playing tennis.
January 27, 2012
By MARK KARLIN
“Land of the free … yeah right.” –KTRN
One thing that the GOP doesn’t bring up much anymore is crime.
In the ’70s and ’80s, crime was one of the biggest red-meat issues that the Republicans demagogued about. An infamous political ad about an inmate released in Governor Dukakis’ prison probation program probably (along with some other missteps) lost him the presidency in 1988. It was simply known as getting “Wilie Hortoned,” named after the offender (in the attack ad), who was singled out as an example of “liberalism” molly coddling violent criminals.
However, the Republicans can’t talk about being soft on crime anymore, because the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It’s not just a penal system; it’s an industry. And due to the aging of the population (young people commit most “crimes”), changing police practices and the locking up of so many poor people, crime in the United States is down – down dramatically.
A New Yorker article by Adam Gopnik, “The Caging of America,” shockingly notes:
Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America – more than six million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.
And the toll on minorities is devastating:
For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today – perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system – in prison, on probation, or on parole – than were in slavery then.
Gopnik is appalled: “The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life.”
The roots of violence are complex, but don’t equate our incarceration system with just violent offenders. There is an extremely large percentage of American citizens in jail for nonviolent offenses, particularly relating to drugs – and particularly minorities in relation to drug “violations.”
To what degree our propensity to hold the world’s record for people behind bars is due to economic disparity is not an idle question. There aren’t many wealthy people who end up behind bars, nor do rich areas evidence much crime for which people find themselves in prison, except for an occasional Bernie Madoff. Wealthy people tend to commit financial crimes – and if their breaking of the law does not involve millions of dollars, they tend to strike a plea bargain that doesn’t require being put in a cell for years on end.
Will Kevin Trudeau Run For United States Congress? How To Fix America (What Newt, Mitt, & Obama wont tell you)
Kevin Trudeau is back, and he’s back with a vengeance!
Kevin outlines the beginning steps of How To Fix America. This is the information they are not telling you. You will not hear this discussed by Newt, Mitt, Obama, Trump, or any other pundits or politicians.
If you want to know How To fix America, you must watch this video.
Our liberties and freedoms are being taken away! Trudeau divulges what is wrong with America, and what YOU can do set it back on the right track!
Today is the day you have all been waiting for…KT is back, and he’s back with a vengeance! Our liberties and freedoms are being taken away! Trudeau divulges what is wrong with America, and what YOU can do set it back on the right track!
Become An Insider!
Kevin is on YouTube!
Download Kevin’s iPhone App!
Sign Up For Kevin’s FREE Podcast
Follow Kevin on Twitter
Become Kevin’s Friend on Facebook
Kevin’s Film Club
Kevin’s Book Club
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
January 9, 2012
“And we wonder why people in the middle east hate America?” –KTRN
The US military has been accused of abuse and torture at its notorious detention center in Afghanistan. Investigators say most detainees at Bagram prison are being held without charge or firm evidence of guilt.
Inmates of the US-run prison outside Bagram Air Base north of Kabul complained of freezing cold, humiliating strip searches and being deprived of light, according to Gul Rahman Qazi, who led an investigation ordered by President Hamid Karzai.
President Karzai ordered the investigative commission to be set up on January 5, after demanding that the US transfer full control over its military prisons to local authorities within a month. “Foreign troops are not allowed to run prisons in Afghanistan, which is sovereign and has its own constitution,” Karzai said on Thursday.
According to President Karzai, the Bagram prisoners are subject to Guantanamo-like conditions with ”many cases of violations of the Afghan constitution and other applicable laws of the conventions on human rights.”
There are legal cases against only 300 of about 3,000 detainees at Bagram, US prison officials admitted during the probe. All the rest – most of them of suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda operators – are being held without trial, as they were captured using US intelligence that was not admissible in an Afghan court.
Another investigator, Sayed Noorullah, said the prisoners had the right to be released if there is no evidence of their guilt. He added that Bagram must be transferred to Afghan control “as soon as possible.”
Officially, the detention facility is run by the US and Afghanistan jointly, but local authorities currently control only a small portion of the prison.
The US embassy in Kabul stated that the allegations of abuse in Bagram would be examined. “We take seriously and investigate all allegations of detainee abuse,” said US embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall, as cited by Reuters.
As the US occupation of Afghanistan passes the 10-year mark, Washington is working on a plan to remove US forces from the country completely within the next two years. And with President Karzai’s ultimatum, the White House will have to either hand its Bagram prisoners over to the Afghan authorities or push forward with a transfer to another facility.
Human rights lawyers often refer to the prison at Bagram as “the other Guantanamo” or “Guantanamo’s evil twin”. If it is handed over to the Afghan authorities, the inmates may have a better chance of justice than their companions in misfortune in Guantanamo Bay.
Last year marked a decade since US authorities began detaining enemy combatants and other prisoners at the infamous Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. President Obama came to power on an election promise to close the prison, but more than three years later, it still holds many alleged terrorists who have not been offered trials.
October 20, 2011
The Rutherford Institute
By John W. Whitehead
“On July 29, 2008, my family and I were terrorized by an errant Prince George’s County SWAT team. This unit forced entry into my home without a proper warrant, executed our beloved black Labradors, Payton and Chase, and bound and interrogated my mother-in-law and me for hours as they ransacked our belongings… As I was forced to kneel, bound at gun point on my living room floor, I recall thinking that there had been a terrible mistake. However, as I have learned more, I have to understand that what my family and I experience is part of a growing and troubling trend where law enforcement is relying on SWAT teams to perform duties once handled by ordinary police officers.”—Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo in testimony before the Maryland Senate
Insisting that the “damage done by drugs is felt far beyond the millions of Americans with diagnosable substance abuse or dependence problems,” President Obama has declared October 2011 to be National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. However, while drug abuse and drug-related crimes have unquestionably taken a toll on American families and communities, the government’s own War on Drugs has left indelible scars on the population.
Indeed, although the Obama administration has shied away from using the phrase “War on Drugs,” its efforts to crack down on illicit drug use—especially marijuana use—have not abated. Just consider—every 19 seconds, someone in the U.S. is arrested for violating a drug law. Every 30 seconds, someone in the U.S. is arrested for violating a marijuana law, making it the fourth most common cause of arrest in the United States.
So far this year, approximately 1,313,673 individuals have been arrested for drug-related offenses. Police arrested an estimated 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009. Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 89 percent were charged with possession only. Moreover, since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year, with about 25 percent sentenced for drug law violations.
The foot soldiers in the government’s increasingly fanatical war on drugs, particularly marijuana, are state and local police officers dressed in SWAT gear and armed to the hilt. These SWAT teams carry out roughly 50,000 no-knock raids every year in search of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. As author and journalist Radley Balko reports, “The vast majority of these raids are to serve routine drug warrants, many times for crimes no more serious than possession of marijuana… Police have broken down doors, screamed obscenities, and held innocent people at gunpoint only to discover that what they thought were marijuana plants were really sunflowers, hibiscus, ragweed, tomatoes, or elderberry bushes. (It’s happened with all five.)”
Take the case of Philip Cobbs, an unassuming 53-year-old African-American man who cares for his blind, deaf 90-year-old mother and lives on a 39-acre tract of land that’s been in his family since the 1860s. Cobbs is the latest in a long line of Americans to find themselves swept up in the government’s zealous pursuit of marijuana. On July 26, 2011, while spraying the blueberry bushes near his Virginia house, Cobbs noticed a black helicopter circling overhead. After watching the helicopter for several moments, Cobbs went inside to check on his mother. By the time he returned outside, several unmarked police SUVs had driven onto his property, and police in flak jackets, carrying rifles and shouting unintelligibly, had exited the vehicles and were moving toward him.
Although the officers insisted they had sighted marijuana plants growing on Cobbs’ property (they claimed to find two spindly plants growing in the wreckage of a fallen oak tree), their real objective was clear—to search Cobbs’ little greenhouse, which he had used that spring to start tomato plants, cantaloupes, and watermelons, as well as asters and hollyhocks. The search of the greenhouse turned up nothing more than used tomato seedling containers. Incredibly, police had not even bothered to secure a warrant before embarking on their raid of Cobbs’ property—part of a routine sweep of the countryside in search of pot-growing operations that had to cost taxpayers upwards of $25,000, at the very least.
Thankfully for Cobbs, no one was hurt during the warrantless raid on his property. However, that is not the case for many Americans who find themselves on the wrong end of a SWAT team raid in search of marijuana. For example, on May 5, 2011, a SWAT team kicked open the door of ex-Marine Jose Guerena’s home during a drug raid and opened fire. Thinking his home was being invaded by criminals, Guerena told his wife and child to hide in a closet, grabbed a gun and waited in the hallway to confront the intruders. He never fired his weapon. In fact, the safety was still on his gun when he was killed. The SWAT officers, however, not as restrained, fired 70 rounds of ammunition at Guerena—23 of those bullets made contact. Guerena had had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.
Tragically, Jose Guerena is far from the only innocent casualty in the government’s War on Drugs. Botched SWAT team raids have resulted in the loss of countless lives, including children and the elderly. Usually, however, the first to be shot are the family dogs. As Balko reports:
When police in Fremont, California, raided the home of medical marijuana patient Robert Filgo, they shot his pet Akita nine times. Filgo himself was never charged. Last October  police in Alabama raided a home on suspicion of marijuana possession, shot and killed both family dogs, then joked about the kill in front of the family. They seized eight grams of marijuana, equal in weight to a ketchup packet. In January  a cop en route to a drug raid in Tampa, Florida, took a short cut across a neighboring lawn and shot the neighbor’s two pooches on his way. And last May , an officer in Syracuse, New York, squeezed off several shots at a family dog during a drug raid, one of which ricocheted and struck a 13-year-old boy in the leg. The boy was handcuffed at gunpoint at the time.
Clearly, something must be done. There was a time when communities would have been up in arms over a botched SWAT team raid resulting in the loss of innocent lives. Unfortunately, today, we are increasingly coming to accept the use of SWAT teams by law enforcement agencies for routine drug policing and the high incidence of error-related casualties that accompanies these raids.
What’s more, the government is providing incentives to the SWAT teams carrying out these raids through federal grants such as the Edward Byrne memorial grants and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants. As David Borden, the Executive Director of Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet), pointed out, “The exact details on how Byrne and COPS grants are distributed has not been studied, at least not to my knowledge, but an examination of grant applications by one of my colleagues found that they overwhelmingly focus on the number of arrests made, particularly drug arrests. Byrne grants also fund the purchase of equipment for SWAT teams.”
Unfortunately, while few of these raids even make the news, they are happening more and more frequently. As Borden notes, “In 1980 there were fewer than 3,000 reported SWAT raids. Now, the number is believed to be over 50,000 per year…About 3/4 of these are drug raids, perhaps more by now, the vast majority of them low-level.” Balko’s research reinforces this phenomenon. Based on more than a year’s worth of research and culled only from documented SWAT team incidents, Balko cites “40 cases in which a completely innocent person was killed. There are dozens more in which nonviolent offenders (recreational pot smokers, for example…) or police officers were needlessly killed. There are nearly 150 cases in which innocent families, sometimes with children, were roused from their beds at gunpoint, and subjected to the fright of being apprehended and thoroughly searched at gunpoint. There are other cases in which a SWAT team seems wholly inappropriate, such as the apprehension of medical marijuana patients, many of whom are bedridden.”
Despite the government’s current fanaticism about marijuana, America has not always been at war over the cannabis plant. In fact, in 1619, all farmers of the Jamestown colony were required to grow cannabis for rope and other military purposes. Over the next 200 years, a variety of laws required hemp harvesting. In some cases, landowners could be imprisoned for neglecting their duty to grow hemp. Oftentimes, a surplus of hemp could be used as legal tender, even for paying taxes. In 1850, there were 8,327 hemp plantations in the U.S.
It was only later, during the early 20th century, that the government embarked on an all-out assault on marijuana, largely due to corporate business considerations that favored the production of cotton over hemp and racist policies that tied Hispanics and blacks to marijuana use. For example, even though blacks only account for 15% of the drug using population (with whites making up a growing part of the market), the vast majority of drug arrests and convictions affect black drug users. Incredibly, more than 70% of prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug offenses are black or Latino.
The time has come to put an end to the government’s racially-weighted, militant war on marijuana. It is a failed, costly and misguided program that has cost the country billions. As critics rightly point out, the war on marijuana has also resulted in a massive increase in incarceration rates. According to Joe Klein, writing for Time, “We spend $68 billion per year on corrections, and one-third of those being corrected are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. We spend about $150 billion on policing and courts, and 47.5% of all drug arrests are marijuana-related.”
Worse, the government’s War on Drugs seems to have actually exacerbated the drug problems in this country, funding criminal syndicates and failing to restrict its availability or discourage its use. Indeed, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that as recently as 2005, 58% of the public found marijuana readily available, with 50% of 12 to 17 year olds declaring it easy to get.
A growing number of legal scholars, including Bruce Fein, who served as a high-ranking Justice Department official during the Reagan administration, are calling to end the prohibition on marijuana and treat it like alcohol by regulating and taxing it at the state level. Their rationale is that instead of allowing marijuana to flourish as a profitable black market crop, it should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to tobacco and alcohol, which many in the medical community believe to be far more harmful than marijuana. Not only would that lessen violent criminal activity associated with the manufacture and sale of marijuana, but it would also provide an economic boost to ailing state and federal coffers. As it now stands, marijuana is the United States’ largest cash crop (it brought in an estimated $35 billion in 2005), with a third of this production coming from California where it is the state’s largest cash crop.
Recently, over 500 economists led by Nobel Laureate George Akerlof, Daron Acemoglu of MIT, and Howard Margolis of the University of Chicago, signed an open letter to the President, Congress, State Governors, and State Legislatures expounding the immense economic benefits of legalization. They pointed out that if marijuana sales were taxed at the same level as cigarettes and alcohol, the government would make up to $6.2 billion annually. Additionally, a repeal of the prohibition of marijuana would save federal, state, and local governments an estimated $7.7 billion annually by ending the need for enforcement of drug laws.
Acknowledging the medical benefits of marijuana, especially for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, 16 states as well as the District of Columbia have also legalized it for medicinal purposes. Most recently, the California Medical Association, which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, called for the legalization and regulation of the plant.
As always, the special interests have a lot to say in these matters, and it’s particularly telling that those lobbying hard to keep the prohibition on marijuana include law enforcement officials and alcoholic beverage producers. However, when the war on drugs—a.k.a. the war on the American people—becomes little more than a thinly veiled attempt to keep SWAT teams employed and special interests appeased, it’s time to revisit our drug policies and laws. As Professors Eric Blumenson and Eva Nilson recognize:
During the 25 years of its existence, the “War on Drugs” has transformed the criminal justice system, to the point where the imperatives of drug law enforcement now drive many of the broader legislative, law enforcement, and corrections policies in counterproductive ways. One significant impetus for this transformation has been the enactment of forfeiture laws which allow law enforcement agencies to keep the lion’s share of the drug-related assets they seize. Another has been the federal law enforcement aid program, revised a decade ago to focus on assisting state anti-drug efforts. Collectively these financial incentives have left many law enforcement agencies dependent on drug law enforcement to meet their budgetary requirements, at the expense of alternative goals such as the investigation and prosecution of non-drug crimes, crime prevention strategies, and drug education and treatment.