Jesse Ventura Considering Presidential Run

jesse ventura 2019

Jesse Ventura is considering running for President as an independent. “I have that voice in the back of my head that says to me, ‘if not to me, then who?'”

Ventura gave his first American TV interview in 3 years to “The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson.” He says only a 3rd party candidate could truly unite our polarized country. When he was elected governor of Minnesota, Ventura said Donald J. Trump reached out to him & they were friends. Now, he’s not a fan of President Trump as commander in chief. “The first night of boot camp, there’s one person who will break down, wet their pants, cry for their mom…that’s Donald Trump.” Ventura talked about cannabis, climate change, wrestling, and more in this unedited, in depth interview.

What do you think?

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Ben Carson Isn’t Yet Running, May Not Win, But Can’t Lose

By Mike Tuttle ·

 

Gatewood Galbraith was a perennial candidate in Kentucky for years. The Lexington-based attorney is something of a folk hero in the state, especially now that he has died. Stickers and spray-painted images of Gatewood made with stencils appear on street signs, overpasses, and other handy displays around Lexington.

Gatewood — for he is known by his first name throughout the state — was an open marijuana smoker and advocate who used his regular runs at the Governor’s mansion as platforms to bring the issue of pot and hemp into the public debate arena. He spoke truth to power and won the hearts of liberal Kentuckians. He never won an election. But he never lost either.

In his book The Last Free Man in America, Gatewood explained that a mentor had once told him that, “An attorney who runs for public office … never loses.”

Gatewood went on to explain that running for office, even if one loses the election, boosts the public profile of the person running. It puts them in the homes of people with money. It allows them to give speeches, travel, meet influencers and leaders of business.

Even if you lose, you win.

Ben Carson has not officially declared that he is running for President of the United States in 2016. His business manager Armstrong Williams bought airtime for what is being called a documentary and an infomercial. It is titled “A Breath of Fresh Air: A New Prescription for America.” It aims to “introduce” Ben Carson to America.

It is also being called the first campaign ad of the 2016 presidential election season.

Think back a moment to the 2012 election cycle. In the end, it came down to the RNC-anointed Mitt Romney and incumbent Barack Obama. But during the Republican primary season before the general run, one candidate after another took a turn leading polls.

Michele Bachmann came out of the gate strong from the Iowa Caucus, but fizzled fast.

Jon Huntsman went down early because he was not considered “conservative enough”.

Buddy Roehmer appealed to young people, especially during the #occupy events of those months, but he was also ignored by party leaders.

Rick Santorum ran hard to eliminate the stain on his reputation and name.

Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary, which had traditionally meant he would go all the way to the general. But he did not. In fact, he curiously failed to register in time for primaries in other states.

Then there was Herman Cain. Some said he was a serious threat to Democrats because he was African-American. He could steal away the black vote.

But Cain fizzled fast when, like Sarah Palin before him, he could not answer questions about issues of national importance. He was accused of sexual misconduct. He never made it to face Obama.

Ron Paul’s approach seemed to be much like Gatewood in Kentucky: run frequently as a means of highlighting what is wrong, not necessarily to win. Party desperation floated him a long distance, but in the end he too came up short against Romney.

Week after week, one candidate then another took the spotlight, touted as The One. The One who could beat Obama. The One we’ve been waiting for. The One who would keep the GOP from having to nominate a Mormon who had implemented Obamacare’s predecessor in his own state.

Romney got 52% of the GOP primary vote. The rest was split between Paul, Santorum, and Gingrich. Cain, Bachmann, et al, were also-rans.

But did they lose?

Since Herman Cain’s “loss” he now has a conservative radio show that airs in the same markets as Limbaugh and Hannity. He has an online “TV channel,” much like Sarah Palin’s. And he has over a million likes on his Facebook page.

And, wouldn’t you know it, Herman Cain is ready to run again.

Rick Santorum has also seen progress since his loss. He published two books. He got an online column with a conservative site for a while.

Santorum also told Meet the Press, “I’m open to looking into a presidential race in 2016.” And he told RealClearPolitics, “I’m doing everything right now as if I’m running,” he said. “So we’re moving forward and trying to line up supporters — both grassroots and donors.”

Newt Gingrich has published books for years, even conducting book signings along the campaign trail, boosting sales and making his appearances pay. Before the primary, Gingrich owned shares in a booking agency owned by his daughter that handled speaking engagements for both himself and fellow candidate Rick Santorum.

Elections are good for business. Deep-pocketed idealists hand over millions to run promotional ads for businessmen who continue to reap the benefits long after they “lose.”

Ben Carson is jumping into that realm early. Is he concerned about wearing out his welcome as a candidate? Did he give any thought to holding his announcement, a la Hillary Clinton, so as to stay fresh with voters ahead of the election season?

Ben Carson already has six books in English, two in Spanish, and a DVD to sell. Why wait?

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

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

Nick Wing Become a fan nickw@huffingtonpost.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

burner phone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

andrew chambers jr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mumbai terror attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

crack cocaine pipe

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

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

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

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

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

richard wershe

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

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

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

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Matt Mutter Barren County Jailer 2014

Matt Mutter

 

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

0 comments

Office seeking: Barren County Jailer

Name: Matt Mutter

Party: Democrat

Previous political positions: Currently serving as Barren County Jailer

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

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

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

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

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

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Rural Vote Could Be Key in Kentucky Senate Race

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Oct 30, 2014, 5:57 PM ET

By ADAM BEAM and BRUCE SCHREINER Associated Press

Associated Press

When Mitch McConnell knocked off an incumbent Democrat in a close race in 1984 to win his Senate seat, he did so because of voters in the cities of Louisville and Lexington.

If he is re-elected for a sixth term Tuesday, it will be rural voters like Jason Cox, a beef cattle farmer in Campbellsville, that send him back to Washington. That’s in part because rural areas in Kentucky have shifted to supporting Republicans as the GOP has tied state Democrats to the national party and president, who is deeply unpopular here.

Cox was a tobacco farmer who benefited from a multibillion-dollar tobacco buyout, which compensated tobacco growers and others for losing production quotas when the government’s price-support program ended a decade ago. The buyout was paid by an assessment on tobacco companies, and McConnell has ensured Kentucky farmers received their full payments each year.

"I don’t feel like we would have got one had it not been for Mitch McConnell," Cox said. "I’ve got a wife and five children. It takes a lot to live."

Over the years, McConnell’s dominance in rural Kentucky has kept him in office, something he jokes about by saying: the smaller the town, the better I do. This year, though, he is locked in the tightest race he has been in since 1984, and control of the Senate is at stake.

"Louisville and Lexington during the course of my career have become much more Democratic," McConnell said. "The good news is most of the rest of Kentucky has become much more Republican."

McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes have spent considerable time in small town Kentucky. Grimes boasted this week that she has visited all 120 counties in the state.

During a stop in Benton in Marshall County, Grimes used a folksy style that connected with the crowd in a staunchly conservative corner of the state.

"He tells us that we should give him another six years, on top of the 30 he’s already had, because somehow that constitutes going in a new direction," Grimes said of McConnell. "Y’all buy it?" The crowd replied: "No!"

Darrell Sisk attended a Grimes rally in Princeton. He said Republicans made inroads in rural Kentucky with their opposition of abortion, gay rights and gun restrictions. But it’s also home to some of the state’s worst poverty, and Sisk, a Grimes supporter, said she might be able to connect with that message.

"She’s talking about the real issues," he said. "She’s talking about unemployment, about jobs. She’s talking about helping those that have been laid off and have lost their unemployment benefits."

McConnell and outside groups have blanketed the airwaves with ads linking Grimes with President Barack Obama, who has been trounced both times he was on the ballot in Kentucky.

Democrat Mike Cherry, a former state lawmaker from Caldwell County in western Kentucky, said state Democrats up and down the ballot are put on the defensive in rural areas by being compared to more liberal members of the national party.

"When you see a picture of her superimposed on a picture of our administration Democrats, it sinks in," Cherry said. "But I think she’s done everything that she possibly could to distance (herself) from him. And I think the discerning voter can see that."

It still works with some voters, though, including Sherman Chaudoin, who identified himself as conservative Democrat.

"I think she’d be an Obama supporter, and I wouldn’t vote for anybody that I thought would support his policies," he said.

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Ron Paul Thinks There Should Be More Secessionist Movements in the U.S.

The former U.S. congressman and perennial presidential candidate tells National Journal that he’s "real pleased" with American secessionist groups.

By Rebecca Nelson

/p>((Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images))

September 30, 2014 Secessionists across the world were inspired by Scotland’s energetic attempt at independence from the United Kingdom earlier this month. Ron Paul, as it turns out, joined them.

In an essay on his eponymous institution’s website Sunday, the former U.S. congressman from Texas wrote that any supporters of freedom should cheer secessionism because it allows for smaller government—a constant mantra for the libertarian and perennial presidential candidate, who didn’t previously realize there were more than a handful of secessionist groups in the United States.

"I was real pleased with that, and a bit surprised," Paul told National Journal. "But then, on second thought, you think, ‘Why not? Why not more?’ "

Fringe groups calling for states and regions to secede from the U.S., such as the Second Vermont Republic and the Alaskan Independence Party, gained more publicity in the weeks leading up to the Scottish referendum. As the outsized federal government continues to encroach on individual rights, Paul said, he thinks there will be a groundswell of these movements.

"It’s something that I think is going to grow, because the failure of the federal government is going to get much worse," he said. "When the bankruptcy evolves, and maybe some of these pension funds are confiscated, and the wars never end, and bankruptcy comes forth, people [will say], ‘Hey, we’re getting a bad deal from this. Why don’t we leave?’ "

He added: "I think it’s inevitable people wanting to leave will be there, and the numbers will grow."

Realistically, though, Paul said he doesn’t think any of these groups could actually succeed. Despite the founders’ own deep belief in secession—they gained America’s independence from Europe, after all—he said the Civil War set the precedent that secession would carry "very, very bad" results.

"By our history, the heavy hand of the federal government would come down," Paul told National Journal. "They’d probably shoot ’em."

In typical fashion, Paul argued that the principle of secession was more important than what could actually happen in reality. It’s the threat, he said, that’s important to keep the federal government in check.

"I think what is most important is we have a concrete right to secede," Paul said. "Even if we never had any secession, or any state declare independence, we would be so much better off, because there would always be this threat. Once the threat of a state leaving was removed, it was just open-door policy for the federal government to expand itself and run roughshod out over the states because the states couldn’t do much."

Given that his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will likely run for president in 2016 with a much better chance of winning than his father ever had, the elder Paul’s willingness to share his reasonably radical views seem imprudent, if not unexpected. In an election cycle that has often equated the politics of Ron and Rand, this latest remark is sure to annoy the potential 2016-er’s supporters.

For Rand’s sake, it’s fortunate that Ron didn’t express his support for the Texas Nationalist Movement or any other secessionist groups in the U.S. Before he’d back Texan independence, he joked, "I better check out and see who’s running Austin before we decide about that."

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U.S. Representative Yarmuth co-sponsors bill to decriminalize cannabis oil

Posted: Sep 22, 2014 4:54 PM CST Updated: Sep 22, 2014 5:37 PM CST

By Lawrence Smith – email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Right now, it’s against federal law to use cannabis oil – a marijuana extract – even for medical purpose, but Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is co-sponsoring a bill that would change that.

If the bill passes, using cannabis oil for medical purposes would no longer put you in danger of landing at the federal courthouse facing drug charges.

Suzanne De Gregorio’s son, Alex, suffers from autism and epilepsy.

She believes cannabis oil can help control the seizures that have hindered his development.

"Children with epilepsy, they’re finding that it can calm the seizures," she said.

Suzanne is using cannabis oil – or CBD oil – right now to help control the after-effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

It’s legal because the oil imported from overseas, but Suzanne wants to see more research before trying it on her son.

"This is for me. I don’t give it to him because you really need a neurologists involvement," she said.

Kentucky has approved research into CBD oil for treatment of seizures, but the trials have stalled because the federal government still considers it a controlled substance.

For her son’s sake, De Gregorio is trying to change that.

"He’s suffered tremendously in his life. I mean the pain, the screams. You wouldn’t believe it. And I promised him when he was very little I’m going to find am answer. I’m going to make this better for you somehow, some way," she said.

Now Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3rd Dist.) has signed onto a bill being pushed by De Gregorio that would decriminalize CBD oil and hemp for medical use.

"The idea that we as a federal government have classified hemp in the same category that we classify heroin makes absolutely no sense, and it’s preventing some very, very important therapies from reaching many of our needy citizens," said Yarmuth.

The bill is called the Charlotte’s Web Act; named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, whose seizures led to development of a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.

"I believe this could be that answer. I hope it is. I want at least have the right to find out," said De Gregorio.

Yarmuth says the bill will not likely be considered until the next session of Congress. Supporters say they’ll keep pushing.

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Eric Holder Signals Support For Marijuana Reform Just As He’s Heading Out The Door

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

 

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Just as Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to step down from his post, he appears more open than ever to the argument for rescheduling marijuana as a less dangerous, more beneficial drug.

"I think it’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin," Holder said in an interview with Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric, released on Thursday. "Especially given what we’ve seen recently with regard to heroin — the progression of people from using opioids to heroin use, the spread and the destruction that heroin has perpetrated all around our country. And to see by contrast, what the impact is of marijuana use. Now it can be destructive if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves and use science as the basis for making that determination."

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. Schedule I drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, have a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."

Yet science clearly indicates otherwise about marijuana. A growing body of research has demonstrated its medical potential. Purified forms of cannabis can be effective at attacking some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. Legalization for medical purposes may even lead to lower suicide rates and fewer pain pill overdoses.

The Schedule I classification hinders federal funding for further research into the benefits of cannabis. Columnist Jacob Sullum recently wrote in Forbes that moving marijuana to Schedule III or below could make it easier for university researchers to look into the drug’s full potential.

While marijuana use would still be illegal under federal law, recategorizing it could also remove some of the financial burdens that state-licensed marijuana businesses currently face.

A provision of the federal tax code prohibits any business that "consists of trafficking in controlled substances," which include Schedule I and II drugs, from making tax deductions. Because of this, pot shops cannot deduct traditional business expenses like advertising costs, employee payroll, rent and health insurance from their combined federal and state taxes. Dispensary owners face effective tax rates of 50 to 60 percent — and in some states, those rates soar to 80 percent or higher. The tax rule would no longer apply to pot businesses if marijuana were moved to Schedule III or lower.

To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, while Colorado and Washington remain the only two states to have legalized it for recreational use.

On whether he thinks marijuana should be decriminalized at the federal level, Holder told Couric, "That’s for Congress to decide."

"I think we’ve taken a look at the experiments that are going on in Colorado and Washington, and we’re going to see what happens there, and that’ll help inform us as to what we want to do on the federal level," Holder added.

"For you, the jury is still out?" Couric asked.

"Yeah," Holder said, "it is."

Holder’s statements to Couric on the potential rescheduling of marijuana appear to follow a continuing evolution of his views on the drug. Under the Obama administration, the DEA and several U.S. attorneys have raided hundreds of marijuana dispensaries that were compliant with local laws in states like California and Colorado. But it was Holder who announced in 2013 that the Department of Justice would allow Colorado and Washington to implement their new laws legalizing and regulating the possession, use and sale of marijuana.

More recently, Holder said that the Obama administration would be "more than glad" to work with Congress to re-examine how cannabis is scheduled. He even said in April that he’s "cautiously optimistic" about how the historic changes in Colorado and Washington were working out.

"It’s refreshing to hear these remarks from the attorney general, especially since the science couldn’t be any clearer that marijuana doesn’t meet the criteria for being classified as a Schedule I substance," said Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, after the Couric interview. "Numerous studies confirm marijuana’s medical value, and if the administration is serious about taking an objective look at this issue, rescheduling is very achievable by the time this president leaves office. They can do this administratively without any further action from Congress."

Neill Franklin, a retired police officer turned executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, also praised Holder’s comments. He said he hoped the attorney general’s successor "will recognize the war on drugs for what it is: the single biggest problem afflicting our criminal justice system and the central civil rights issue of our time."

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Write-in Kentucky candidate for U.S. Senate campaigns on ‘With Jews We Lose’ platform

Robert Ransdell has angered residents with his anti-Semitic signs in the town of Florence. The white supremacist says his message is well-received among supporters.

BY Deborah Hastings

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 7:10 PM

White supremacist Kentucky candidate Robert Ransdell offended many this week with his campaign signs for the U.S. Senate.

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Robert Ransdell, whose name won’t appear on Kentucky ballots, is nonetheless running a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate based on the slogan “With Jews We Lose.”

The sentiment did not go over well with many residents of the northern Kentucky town of Florence, where signs emblazoned with the anti-Semitic message popped up this week.

“It’s ignorance. Complete ignorance and hate,” said a resident named Drea, who gave only her first name for fear of retribution, WLWT-TV reported.

Ransdell, a coordinator for the Cincinnati-based National Alliance — which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a Neo-Nazi group — says he has no hope of winning against incumbent GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, or Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

But that isn’t his intention, he says. His goal is to spread his white supremacist doctrine.

Robert Ransdell, a coordinator of the Cincinnati-based National Alliance, which is considered a Neo-Nazi group, is running a Kentucky write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate. His slogan is ‘With Jews We Lose.’

“For years White Nationalist(s) have (been) looked on with disgust as various anti-White lemmings and creeps have taken it upon themselves to decide what people will read and be exposed to,” Ransdell wrote on the supremacist site Stormfront.

But by Wednesday, the campaign signs had been removed after the property owner said he had not been contacted for permission to post the placards.

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Fancy Farm: Ag Commissioner James Comer Officially Enters 2015 Governor’s Race

By Jonathan Meador

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer beside his wife, T.J., as he announces his bid for governor.

Credit Alix Mattingly/WFPL News

  FANCY FARM—Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer officially announced his bid for governor Saturday at the 134th annual Fancy Farm political picnic. He’s the third candidate to launch an gubernatorial bid in the 2015 race.

"It’s been my dream come true to be your commissioner of agriculture," Comer said before a packed audience at the St. Jerome Church picnic grounds. "And I view the people of Western Kentucky as our family. So [my wife] T.J. and I have chosen this time, and this place, to say to all of you, I will be a candidate for governor in 2015."

The announcement now pits Comer, a Republican who succeeded Richie Farmer in 2012, against Hal Heiner, a Republican who narrowly lost to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in a 2010 election.

Earlier: James Comer Jabs Opponents Ahead of Fancy Farm

Thus far, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is the lone Democratic candidate in the race.

In his Fancy Farm speech, Conway neglected the looming specter of a Comer candidacy—nor did he address Heiner—in lieu of trumpeting his accomplishments as attorney general; namely his office’s successes in combating online child pornography and cracking down on prescription pain pill abuse, he said.

Comer said he will officially file his paperwork Sept. 9 at an inaugural campaign event in Tompkinsville, Ky. According to Kentucky law, gubernatorial candidates must include a lieutenant governor in their ticket when they file their candidacy.

Speculation has centered on Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican state senator from Taylor Mill who owns a construction business. Elected in 2012, McDaniel is also chairman state Senate’s Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance, and Public Protection.

"You know, people have a lot of rumors out there," McDaniel said, adding that he’s been in talks with Comer about joining the ticket. "But, you know, right now I’m focused on doing my job in the Senate, I obviously own a business back home, and we’ve got a lot of races ahead of us this fall, so we’ll look forward to those."

Comer took aim at Heiner in his Fancy Farm speech, saying that the next governor won’t be "a millionaire from Louisville."

Comer denied that the comment suggests that his campaign is attempting to employ an urban-rural schism between himself and Heiner and Conway, both of whom live in Louisville."

"I’ve got a lot of support in Louisville," Comer said.

Heiner was not permitted to speak at this year’s event. Fancy Farm political director Mark Wilson said the event only allows sitting elected officials to speak. But just last year, GOP Senate candidate Matt Bevin, a conservative bell manufacturer who lost a primary race against U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell earlier this year, spoke at 2013’s picnic.

Bevin was also making rounds at Saturday’s picnic, and said he’s considering a running for governor, too.

"I’m considering it and I’m not considering it," Bevin said.

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Fancy Farm 2014

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer

Hal Heiner

Attorney General Jack Conway

2015 Kentucky gubernatorial race

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