Presented by Kentucky Marijuana Party and DIVERSE SANCTUARY

Louisville, Kentucky, April 30, 2014–

The Global Marijuana March is coming to Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday May 3rd, 2014 which coincides with Kentucky Derby Day!

This will be the FIRST GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH that LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY has participated in.

Per Wikipedia:

Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in over 829 different cities in 72 countries worldwide since 1999

The following route will be adhered to as submitted to the Louisville Permit Office:

*Note: We will meet in front of Mid City Mall on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky at 10:30am sharp for the walk to begin at 11:00.  The permit ends at 12:30pm.  However, there are many restaurants, shops, and other places to visit in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville!  So spend the day and enjoy!

Start at Mid City Mall at 1250 Bardstown Rd. Head northwest on Bardstown Rd toward Beechwood Ave
0.5 mi

Continue onto Baxter Ave
0.3 mi
(Corner of Baxter and Broadway)

Head northwest on Baxter Ave toward Cherokee Rd
220 ft.

Sharp right onto Cherokee Rd
0.9 mi.

Turn right onto Longest Ave
492 ft.

Turn right onto Bardstown Rd
To 1250 Bardstown Rd.
400 ft.







# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Sheree M Krider at U.S. Marijuana Party of KENTUCKY (ph: 270-612-0524) or email at

*Diverse Sanctuary, Mary Thomas-Spears, Bowling Green, Kentucky, (ph: 270-904-0279)

On this day in history: 19 November 1863

Words of Lincoln console nation



On 19 November 1863 President Abraham Lincoln dedicated a cemetery on a Civil War battlefield where 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers

were lost or wounded after just three days of fighting.  Most Americans cannot hear the name of the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg without

thinking of Lincoln’s famous speech on that occasion.


“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task

remaining before us… that this nation, under God,

shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government

of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not

perish from the earth “  President Abraham Lincoln


“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition

that all men are created equal.”

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who

here gave their lives, that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate – we cannot

hallow – this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion

to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that

this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that

government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Malnourished Veteran Pleads For Help From VA

By: Kayla VanoverEmail

Kayla Vanover

BOWLING GREEN, Ky (WBKO) An Army veteran, living right here in Bowling Green, is being denied full benefits while suffering from a surgery that he says was performed in error.

Frank Coursey has not eaten solid food in nearly three years. As if this is not enough strain on his body, he goes to bed each night worried about the future of his family, if something were to happen to him.

“This picture is on 07-07-2007. I was 286 pounds. This picture was Father’s Day of this year,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

Frank Coursey is currently 133 pounds, losing on average five pounds per week. His weight loss is the result of a gastric bypass surgery performed by a doctor in West Virginia, whom he was referred to by a his local VA physician.

Coursey says immediately following his surgery, he knew something did not feel right.

“Dr. Canterbury was there with about eight or nine students discussing the operations of the job and all that. I remember him looking at me and saying this is the worst case scenario of this surgery that we’ve had,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

Months into his recovery, Coursey claims his nausea never ceased. The same West Virginia VA hospital repeatedly told him he was experiencing typical side effects from the surgery. Coursey says he visited local emergency rooms weekly.

“I would go in a coma state and have to be hooked back up to IV’s. The doctor looked at me and said, why did you receive this surgery again? You didn’t need it,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

Coursey eventually had one VA doctor agree to put him back on the surgery table for an examination.

“His first words were, my God they didn’t tell me it was this bad,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

After the doctor ballooned his stomach, Coursey claims his vomiting continued. Even then, the doctor sent him on is way, claiming it was simply and irritation of his esophagus.

After exhausting all regional VA outlets suggested to him, Coursey finally found a Nashville doctor who agreed to see him.

“The doctor said, the man who performed your surgery did a rookie mistake. He put the staples to close. The staples aren’t wide enough, that is why you’re not holding solid food,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

The doctor assured Coursey he could perform a corrective surgery, but the business manager said it was not possible until they received their payment from the VA. Coursey already expected this to be paid, prior to the appointment.

Three months later, the doctor contacted Coursey to perform it, knowing the intentions of the VAs payment. However, Coursey experienced yet another issue.

“He had a hernia at the top of his esophagus. It already pulled half the sleeve up in it. from all the puking and coughing and everything,” said Kathy Coursey, spouse.

Due to the hernia growing since the last appointment, the doctor could not perform the surgery without approval from the VA.

Since this appointment, Coursey has undergone surgery on his neck as well. Due to being malnurished, his head is too heavy for his brittle bones to hold it up.

Once he has fully recovered from his neck surgery, Coursey is scheduled to receive his corrective bariatric surgery.

Through all of this, Frank Coursey’s major concern is the well being of his family.

Coursey says the chances of him surviving his upcoming surgery are limited and he still is not receiving full VA benefits to cover his medical bills.

He says if something does not change, his biggest fear is not living through the surgery. He fears his family becoming homeless, due to a current lien placed on his home by an unpaid medical bill.

Coursey has contacted local political offices, but is told it will be at least 30 days before his case is even reviewed.



Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) has been illegally pouring toxic coal ash into the Ohio River,


Liked · May 29 · Edited

BRAZEN: For years, Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) has been illegally pouring toxic coal ash into the Ohio River, unbeknownst to neighboring communities. Now thanks to a hidden camera and satellite imagery, the utility has been caught and faces a lawsuit from Earthjustice along with huge fines.
LG&E could be fined up to $68 million along with $37.5K for each day that goes forward until the dumping is stopped. Coal ash contains a toxic brew of pollutants, including mercury and arsenic, which can cause cancer. It’s the waste product left over from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. Here’s great information on coal ash >>
Help SPREAD this post and TELL US >> Do you think the fines are harsh enough for LG&E’s years of illegal dumping?


Kentucky sees decrease in farms; experts point to a variety of contributing factors

By Greg Kocher: :   June 28, 2014

Kentucky has dramatically fewer farms and much less land devoted to farming, according to the latest snapshot by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Between 2007 and 2012, the Bluegrass State had the greatest percentage decrease in farmland of any state in the country, the Census of Agriculture says.

Farmland — which the government counts as privately owned or leased cropland, pastures and woodlands — declined in Kentucky by 943,000 acres, or 6.7 percent.

That’s an area larger than the combined acreage of Daniel Boone National Forest in Eastern Kentucky (707,000 acres) and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Western Kentucky (170,000 acres).

Other states with the largest percentage declines in farmland were Alaska (5.4 percent), Georgia (5.2 percent), Mississippi (4.6 percent) and Wisconsin (4.1 percent).

The number of farms in Kentucky also declined, from 85,260 in 2007 to 77,064 in 2012.

These numbers are contained in the 2012 Census of Agriculture that USDA released in May. The census is conducted every five years to record a snapshot of business activity on farms, but it doesn’t track how much land was lost to development. Nor does it tell what happened to other land in the decline that wasn’t developed.

However, estimates from the latest National Resources Inventory — a nationwide survey of non-federal land conducted by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service — shows that development in Kentucky claimed 41,000 acres of the state’s rural land base between 2007 and 2010.

These are figures that Kentuckians should watch, said Jennifer Dempsey, director of the American Farmland Trust’s Information Center. The trust is a leading conservation organization dedicated to farmland protection; it plans to hold a national conference in Lexington in October.

“There’s a growing demand among consumers for locally grown products,” Dempsey said, “and if at the same time you have a significant decline in your land in farms, I would say that’s a problem. You’ve lost almost 944,000 acres almost in one clip. That’s pretty significant.”

Dempsey later acknowledged that “lost” is a stronger verb than necessary, because it suggests a permanency that isn’t really there. Farmland acreage fluctuates from census to census — some years it goes up and some years it goes down — depending on the demand for food and the productivity of agriculture.

But the general trend nationwide and statewide over time is that fewer acres are devoted to farms, said David Knopf, regional director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Louisville. The service is the agency that conducts the census and distributes its results.

“Within any given year, you could have someone in (farming) one year and out the next,” Knopf said. “It tends to be the relatively small farms, either in size or in the value of sales, who report in one census that they are a farm and they report in the next census that they’re not a farm.”

(A farm is defined by the government as “any place that produced and sold, or normally would produce and sell, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the census year.”)

For example, one operation may raise livestock and have 100 acres in one census, “so they get counted as a farm,” Knopf said. “Well, in the next census, they’re not raising any livestock and so there goes 100 acres of land in one farm. So it goes like that from one census to the next.”

There is more land that could be put back into production than is going into development over a five-year period. Knopf said. For this reason, Knopf takes the view that the decline in Kentucky farmland is something to watch, but not something to be overly concerned about.

“To sound alarms because we have dropped 6 percent of our farmland, that I don’t find startling,” Knopf said. “Let’s see what happens in the next five years.”

How did it decrease?

It should be noted that many sources interviewed for this story were skeptical of the figures on farmland decrease. The statistics service says it checks its information against other known data, and have staff in each state to review it as well.

Kentucky probably saw a decline because some land was unproductive and some was intentionally rotated out of production, Daniel Smaldone, a spokesman for Kentucky Farm Bureau, wrote in an email.

“Arable farming acreage lost to residential, industrial and economic development are the pieces we should be most concerned about as they are acres permanently removed from the total land available to grow crops and raise livestock,” Smaldone wrote.

John-Mark Hack of Versailles has another theory about where some of those 943,000 acres went. Hack is executive director of the Local Food Association, a national trade association that works to improve market share and market access to buyers and sellers of local food. He suspects that much of Kentucky’s farm acreage is idle and is not being used to grow anything —so it dropped off the radar of the census.

“It’s a lingering aftereffect of the demise of the tobacco program that no one has taken notice of,” Hack said. “My perception is that we have a tremendous asset in productive farmland in Kentucky that is being underutilized.”

The federal tobacco-quota program ended in 2004. Buyout payments to farmers were started under a 2004 law that ended Depression-era tobacco quotas and were to be made annually for 10 years. The last of those payments will be made this fall.

“That happened to coincide with the exit of a relatively large percentage of our farm population due to age and retirement,” Hack said. “So there were a number of people who literally took the money and retired, and they may still hold their land, but they’re not actively farming it.”

David Appelman, extension agent for agriculture in Bracken County in Northern Kentucky, can see some validity to this theory.

“We have lost operating farms because there’s no longer anyone to do the work,” Appelman said. “With the loss of the tobacco program, those farms are sitting idle. … Without tenant farmers and an older farm ownership with no children to take over, there’s an inability to do the work. They can’t maintain the fences, harvest the hay.”

Jessamine County beef farmer Dan Shearer said he sees farms sitting idle, too, “which is not good because it’s out of production. … People took the buyout money and retired and are using their money for something else other than upkeep on the farm.

“When they pass away, their heirs don’t seem to want to farm, and probably most of them couldn’t if they wanted to because they don’t know how,” Shearer said.

Others question Hack’s theory. Michelle Simon, Scott County’s extension agent for agriculture, said she doesn’t see much idle land. Grain farmers in that county “are picking up as much acreage as they can. And I’ve seen a lot of people rolling hay on places that I haven’t before now,” Simon said.

As for the generational shift, Simon said many younger farmers who have tried to get into beef-cattle farming are getting out because the costs are too high for them to get started.

“The older farmers — who you would expect to be the ones who are retiring, who are in their 60s and 70s — are the ones that are sticking it out and staying in,” Simon said. “People in their 50s and 60s are expanding more now.”

Woodford County hay farmer Larry Johnson falls into this category. Johnson, 65, grew up on a farm in Marion County, pursued a 37-year career with IBM and Lexmark in Lexington, then retired in 2004 to devote time to his first love — farming. He grows hay just south of Versailles and sells it to area horse farms. When Johnson added 33 neighboring acres this year to his existing 22, his accountant shook his head.

“He said, ‘And some people play golf,’” Johnson recalled. “I said, ‘Tom, I’m not some people. I’m just different.’”

Once he fixes some fences, Johnson plans to put beef cattle on his expanded acreage. His youngest son has indicated some interest in farming, but Johnson doesn’t see many others planning to join him.

“You don’t find many young kids any more that have any interest in staying with the farm and fighting it — and it’s a fight every day,” Johnson said. “You fight the rain, you fight disease, you fight insects every day.”

Nationwide and statewide, agriculture is about to see a huge transfer of assets, said Adam Probst, Woodford County extension agent for agriculture. The principal operators of Kentucky farms are getting older. The average age was 53.4 in 1997; in 2012 it was 57.6. Estimates are that up to 70 percent of all farmland in the nation will change hands by 2025.

“There aren’t that many new farmers, and we’ve got the oldest generation of farmers we’ve ever had,” Probst said.

As Hack sees it, Kentucky must be “very deliberative” about its agricultural future.

“Do we embrace our agrarian heritage and societal movement to high-quality food and return the land to its highest and best purpose?” he said. “Or do we surrender it permanently to development that really has a pretty short time frame associated with it? It’s a really important question that needs to be more thoroughly discussed.”

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

Read more here:

What’s the Matter With Eastern Kentucky?



There are many tough places in this country: the ghost cities of Detroit, Camden and Gary, the sunbaked misery of inland California and the isolated reservations where Native American communities were left to struggle. But in its persistent poverty, Eastern Kentucky — land of storybook hills and drawls ­ — just might be the hardest place to live in the United States. Statistically speaking.

The team at The Upshot, a Times news and data-analysis venture, compiled six basic metrics to give a picture of the quality and longevity of life in each county of the nation: educational attainment, household income, jobless rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity rate. Weighting each equally, six counties in eastern Kentucky’s coal country (Breathitt, Clay, Jackson, Lee, Leslie and Magoffin) rank among the bottom 10.

Clay County, in dead last, might as well be in a different country. The median household income there is barely above the poverty line, at $22,296, and is just over half the nationwide median. Only 7.4 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. The unemployment rate is 12.7 percent. The disability rate is nearly as high, at 11.7 percent. (Nationwide, that figure is 1.3 percent.) Life expectancy is six years shorter than average. Perhaps related, nearly half of Clay County is obese.

It’s coal country, but perhaps in name only. In the first quarter of this year, just 54 people were employed in coal mining in Clay County, a precipitous drop from its coal-production peak in 1980. That year, about 2.5 million tons of coal were taken out of the ground in Clay; this year, the county has produced a fraction of that — just over 38,000 tons. Former mines have been reclaimed, and that land has been repurposed in scattershot ways: a golf course, shopping centers, a medium-security federal prison. But nothing has truly come to replace the industry on which Clay County once depended.

The public debate about the haves and the have-nots tends to focus on the 1 percent, especially on the astonishing, breakaway wealth in cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington and the great disparities contained therein. But what has happened in the smudge of the country between New Orleans and Pittsburgh — the Deep South and Appalachia — is in many ways as remarkable as what has happened in affluent cities. In some places, decades of growth have failed to raise incomes, and of late, poverty has become more concentrated not in urban areas but in rural ones.

Despite this, rural poverty is largely shunted aside in the conversation about inequality, much in the way rural areas have been left behind by broader shifts in the economy. The sheer intractability of rural poverty raises uncomfortable questions about how to fix it, or to what extent it is even fixable.

The desperation in coal country is hard to square with the beauty of the place — the densely flocked hills peppered with tiny towns. It’s magical. But it is also poor, even if economic growth and the federal safety-net programs have drastically improved what that poverty looks like.

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared his “war on poverty” from a doorstep in the tiny Kentucky town of Inez, and since then, Washington has directed trillions of dollars to such communities in the form of cash assistance, food stamps, Medicaid and tax incentives for development. (In some places, these transfer payments make up half of all income.) Still, after adjusting for inflation, median income was higher in Clay County in 1979 than it is now, even though the American economy has more than doubled in size.

There have been periodic attempts to flood persistently poor counties with federal dollars in an effort to jolt them into higher growth rates. The Obama administration this year named southeastern Kentucky a “promise zone,” putting it at the top of the list for federal grants. It’s an old idea: Draw in businesses, create jobs, help finance infrastructure, turn the cycle virtuous.

On the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, Kentucky’s libertarian senator, Rand Paul, has proposed a more supply-side-oriented strategy: Let certain counties eliminate capital-gains taxes and institute a special federal income tax of 5 percent in those areas. “I’m just letting you keep more of your own money,” Paul said to a small crowd in a college auditorium in eastern Kentucky last winter. “The difference between this and a government grant is I don’t choose who gets it.” On either side of the aisle, the underlying assumption is the same: Places like Clay County just need a kick-start. But what if that isn’t true?

In many cases, a primary problem in poor rural areas is the very fact that they’re rural — remote, miles from major highways and plagued by substandard infrastructure. Think about the advantages of urban areas, described by thinkers going back to Jane Jacobs and beyond. Density means more workers to choose from, more potential customers, more spillover knowledge from nearby companies. As such, cities punch above their weight, economically speaking. The 10 largest metro regions produced more than a third of the country’s entire economic output as of 2012.

The converse is true for rural areas. Take eastern Kentucky, grappling with the decline of coal — and perhaps looking at an even bleaker future for the industry, given recent carbon-reduction efforts by the E.P.A. Those rolling hills might be picturesque. But those country roads make it hard to ship goods in and out, in turn making it more expensive to build a warehouse or a factory.

“One of the challenges that faces eastern Kentucky is the remoteness of the area,” said James P. Ziliak, the director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky. “It’s difficult to get to a lot of places. The communities are small, and they’re spread apart, so you lose that synergy that you want to spark development a lot of times.” Even with additional government subsidies, would businesses really want to move there? “It’s this chicken-and-egg problem,” Ziliak said. “My view is that firms will never locate into a community with an unskilled labor force, unless the only labor they need is unskilled. And there has been a historic lack of investment in human capital in these areas.”

The queasy answer that economists come to is that it would be better to help the people than the place — in some cases, helping people leave the place. Generally, the wealthier and better educated the family, the more mobile they are. It takes resources to pack up all your things, sign a new lease, pay for gas or a flight and go. That might help explain why more Americans aren’t flocking from places with high unemployment rates to places with low ones, even if those places are surprisingly close together. College graduates, for instance, are several times as responsive to differences in labor demand as those who completed only high school, according to a study in The Journal of Human Resources.

But government policy based less on place and more on people might help ameliorate that trend. “Let’s say I was a hardworking person who lost my job in Harlan, Ky. — the ideal place, really, to go is Williston, N.D.,” Senator Paul said. “People need to be mobile to go there. Some government programs prevent mobility or discourage mobility.” And none encourage it: There are scant federal resources to help the unemployed or the poor in rural areas move to a job or even just a better neighborhood. (Imagine Senator Mitch McConnell running for re-election on the campaign slogan: “I’ll get you out of this moribund area and up to the wilderness of North Dakota!”)

Of course, thousands of families in places like Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia manage to cobble together enough resources to make the move themselves; the share of Americans living in rural areas has slowly drifted down. In Clay County, the population has declined for the last decade. And the overall population in rural areas declined for the first time from 2010 to 2012, according to the Census Bureau.

Jeff Whitehead runs the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, which helps retrain laid-off coal miners and find them new jobs. “There’s just very limited opportunity for the people who were working in the region,” he said, adding that he helped 220 families move out of the area in recent years, despite many workers’ understandable resistance. “That’s a really hard pill to swallow. People are really connected to place here. For a lot of people, it’s the last thing they’re doing. They’re holding off until they have no other choice.”

But the number and proportion of people living in poverty in places like eastern Kentucky persists, despite all the trillions of dollars spent to improve the state of the poor in the United States and promote development. Ziliak thinks that efforts focused on human capital — meaning education initiatives, from prekindergarten all the way through college — might be the best use of any new money. But, of course, that also might mean more people moving away.

Annie Lowrey was, until recently, an economics reporter for The Times. Alan Flippen contributed reporting.


The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State


“[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can ‘seize’ and ‘search’ him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country.”--U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The U.S. Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. In the police state being erected around us, the police and other government agents can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts.

Whether it’s police officers breaking through people’s front doors and shooting them dead in their homes or strip searching innocent motorists on the side of the road, these instances of abuse are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution.

These are the hallmarks of the emerging American police state: where police officers, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace, are part of an elite ruling class dependent on keeping the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

A review of the Supreme Court’s rulings over the past 10 years, including some critical ones this term, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits. In Plumhoff v. Rickard (2014), the Court declared that police officers who used deadly force to terminate a car chase were immune from a lawsuit. The officers were accused of needlessly resorting to deadly force by shooting multiple times at a man and his passenger in a stopped car, killing both individuals.

Police officers can stop cars based only on “anonymous” tips. In a 5-4 ruling inNavarette v. California (2014), the Court declared that police officers can, under the guise of “reasonable suspicion,” stop cars and question drivers based solely on anonymous tips, no matter how dubious, and whether or not they themselves witnessed any troubling behavior. This ruling came on the heels of a ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Westhoven that driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and having acne are sufficient reasons for a police officer to suspect you of doing something illegal, detain you, search your car, and arrest you–even if you’ve done nothing illegal to warrant the stop in the first place.

Secret Service agents are not accountable for their actions, as long as they’re done in the name of security. In Wood v. Moss (2014), the Court granted “qualified immunity” to Secret Service officials who relocated anti-Bush protesters, despite concerns raised that the protesters’ First Amendment right to freely speak, assemble, and petition their government leaders had been violated. These decisions, part of a recent trend toward granting government officials “qualified immunity”–they are not accountable for their actions–in lawsuits over alleged constitutional violations, merely incentivize government officials to violate constitutional rights without fear of repercussion.

Citizens only have a right to remain silent if they assert it. The Supreme Court ruled inSalinas v. Texas (2013) that persons who are not under arrest must specifically invoke their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in order to avoid having their refusal to answer police questions used against them in a subsequent criminal trial. What this ruling says, essentially, is that citizens had better know what their rights are and understand when those rights are being violated, because the government is no longer going to be held responsible for informing you of those rights before violating them.

Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes,” justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside. In Florida v. Harris (2013), a unanimous Court determined that police officers may use highly unreliable drug-sniffing dogs to conduct warrantless searches of cars during routine traffic stops. In doing so, the justices sided with police by claiming that all that the police need to do to prove probable cause for a search is simply assert that a drug detection dog has received proper training. The ruling turns man’s best friend into an extension of the police state.

Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime. InMaryland v. King (2013), a divided Court determined that a person arrested for a crime who is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty must submit to forcible extraction of their DNA. Once again the Court sided with the guardians of the police state over the defenders of individual liberty in determining that DNA samples may be extracted from people arrested for “serious offenses.” While the Court claims to have made its decision based upon concerns of properly identifying criminal suspects upon arrest, what they actually did is open the door for a nationwide dragnet of suspects targeted via DNA sampling.

Police can stop, search, question and profile citizens and non-citizens alike. The Supreme Court declared in Arizona v. United States (2012) that Arizona police officers have broad authority to stop, search and question individuals–citizen and non-citizen alike. While the law prohibits officers from considering race, color, or national origin, it amounts to little more than a perfunctory nod to discrimination laws on the books, while paving the way for outright racial profiling and destroying the Fourth Amendment.

Police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the “offense.” A divided Supreme Court actually prioritized making life easier for overworked jail officials over the basic right of Americans to be free from debasing strip searches. In its 5-4 ruling in Florence v. Burlington (2012), the Court declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a virtual strip search by police or jail officials, which involves exposing the genitals and the buttocks. This “license to probe” is now being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun performing roadside strip searches–some involving anal and vaginal probes–without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.

Immunity protections for Secret Service agents trump the free speech rights of Americans. The court issued a unanimous decision in Reichle v. Howards (2012), siding with two Secret Service agents who arrested a Colorado man simply for daring to voice critical remarks to Vice President Cheney. However, contrast the Court’s affirmation of the “free speech” rights of corporations and wealthy donors in McCutcheon v. FEC (2014), which does away with established limits on the number of candidates an entity can support with campaign contributions, and Citizens United v. FEC (2010) with its tendency to deny those same rights to average Americans when government interests abound, and you’ll find a noticeable disparity.

Police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home. In an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King (2011), the Supreme Court placed their trust in the discretion of police officers, rather than in the dictates of the Constitution, when they gave police greater leeway to break into homes or apartments without a warrant. Despite the fact that the police in question ended up pursuing the wrong suspect, invaded the wrong apartment and violated just about every tenet that stands between us and a police state, the Court sanctioned the warrantless raid, leaving Americans with little real protection in the face of all manner of abuses by police.

Police can interrogate minors without their parents present. In a devastating ruling that could very well do away with what little Fourth Amendment protections remain to public school students and their families–the Court threw out a lower court ruling in Camreta v. Greene (2011), which required government authorities to secure a warrant, a court order or parental consent before interrogating students at school. The ramifications are far-reaching, rendering public school students as wards of the state. Once again, the courts sided with law enforcement against the rights of the people.

It’s a crime to not identify yourself when a policeman asks your name. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada (2004), a majority of the high court agreed that refusing to answer when a policeman asks “What’s your name?” can rightfully be considered a crime under Nevada’s “stop and identify” statute. No longer will Americans, even those not suspected of or charged with any crime, have the right to remain silent when stopped and questioned by a police officer.

The cases the Supreme Court refuses to hear, allowing lower court judgments to stand, are almost as critical as the ones they rule on. Some of these cases, turned away in recent years alone, have delivered devastating blows to the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Legally owning a firearm is enough to justify a no-knock raid by police. Justices refused to hear Quinn v. Texas (2014) the case of a Texas man who was shot by police through his closed bedroom door and whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household.

The military can arrest and detain American citizens. In refusing to hear Hedges v. Obama (2014), a legal challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), the Supreme Court affirmed that the President and the U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals, including American citizens. In so doing, the high court also passed up an opportunity to overturn its 1944 Korematsu v. United States ruling allowing for the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps.

Students can be subjected to random lockdowns and mass searches at school. The Court refused to hear Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools (2013), a case involving students at a Missouri public school who were subjected to random lockdowns, mass searches and drug-sniffing dogs by police. In so doing, the Court let stand an appeals court ruling that the searches and lockdowns were reasonable in order to maintain the safety and security of students at the school.

Police officers who don’t know their actions violate the law aren’t guilty of breaking the law. The Supreme Court let stand a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Brooks v. City of Seattle (2012) in which police officers who clearly used excessive force when they repeatedly tasered a pregnant woman during a routine traffic stop were granted immunity from prosecution. The Ninth Circuit actually rationalized its ruling by claiming that the officers couldn’t have known beyond a reasonable doubt that their actions–tasering a pregnant woman who was not a threat in any way until she was unconscious–violated the Fourth Amendment.

When all is said and done, what these assorted court rulings add up to is a disconcerting government mindset that interprets the Constitution one way for the elite–government entities, the police, corporations and the wealthy–and uses a second measure altogether for the underclasses–that is, you and me.

Keep in mind that in former regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the complicity of the courts was the final piece to fall into place before the totalitarian beast stepped out of the shadows and into the light. If history is a guide, then the future that awaits us is truly frightening.

Time, as they say, grows short.

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead’s aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom. His concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization in Charlottesville, Va. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson.

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Obama nominates 2 for Kentucky judgeships

Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal; 7:02 p.m. EDT June 19, 2014

President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale and Bowling Green lawyer Greg Stivers, a close friend and supporter of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, to fill federal district judgeships in Kentucky.

Hale, a Democrat, was confirmed as U.S. attorney in 2010 by unanimous consent of the Senate, while Stivers was a registered Democrat until November 2009, when he switched to the Republican Party to support Paul as he was mounting his Senate campaign.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said: “Since these vacancies occurred, I have maintained in my consultations with the White House that they be filled with respected, mainstream Kentucky lawyers who understand that their proper role is to faithfully interpret the law, not re-write it or rule according to their personal preferences. Mr. Hale and Mr. Stivers meet these criteria and will serve our Commonwealth well. I am glad the Administration, Senator Paul, and I were able to work together to fill these important positions.”

Paul also praised Hale and Stivers in a statement: “Both of these nominees understand the role of a judge and will approach the job with the sense of justice expected by those who enter their courts. This announcement is an example of all sides — including Senator McConnell and the White House — coming together for the good of the Commonwealth and the country.”

Hale and Stiver would fill two of the four vacancies on the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky. It was reported in April that Courtney Baxter, the commonwealth’s attorney in Oldham, Henry and Trimble counties, was being vetted for a third vacancy in a seat that serves both the western and eastern districts.

The White House issued a statement Thursday saying that Obama was confident that Hale and Stivers will “serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Federal district judges are paid $199,100 a year and are appointed for life.

Paul and Stivers are neighbors, and Paul’s Bowling Green Senate office is in a building that also houses Stivers’ law firm. Stivers contributed $800 to Paul’s campaign, according to federal records.

Reporter Andrew Wolfson can be reached at (502) 582-7189


Kentucky city to build discounted ‘socialist gas stations’

Greg Newkirk,

6:02 PM, Jun 21, 2014

With gas prices steadily making their way into the $4 range this summer, it’s no surprise that people are getting fed up with how light their wallets feel after fueling up. One Kentucky town has decided to tackle the problem in an unexpected way:  with socialism.

Thanks to a pricing feud between fuel distributors and town officials, gas prices in Somerset, Kentucky, have been averaging about $3.74 a gallon, a price that residents are saying can be a solid fifty cents more expensive than most surrounding areas.

The city’s fueling depot, which is sourced from a local refinery and services all city vehicles, sells its gas for just $3.10. Now Somerset aims to pass their savings on to locals by creating a city-owned fuel depot in the middle of town.

Their goal? To undercut private sellers and drive down prices through heavy competition.

“We will have 10 different nozzles in a kiosk,” the town’s economic development business coordinator, George Wilson, told the Commonwealth Journal. “An attendant will be on duty, probably from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., maybe later, to allow customers to pay by cash or credit card. Gasoline will be available at the pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using credit cards.”

Somerset is currently working on installing the new pumps, which will give buyers discounted gas calculated by averaging gas prices from towns within a 50-mile radius. Officials hope to have the new station up and running this summer.

If you’re going to pay a premium for your gasoline, you might as well enjoy fueling up. Check out the guide to the coolest gas stations across America, where the photo ops are totally worth a little extra at the pump.


2-year DVO issued against Glasgow police sergeant

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:16 am

By the Daily News |

A Metcalfe County judge issued a domestic violence order of protection against Glasgow Police Department Sgt. Jarrod Steele, department spokeswoman Julie Anne Williams said.

The order is in place for two years and prohibits Steele from possession of any guns while not on police duty, Williams said.

Glasgow Police Chief Guy Turcotte put Steele on paid administrative leave until further notice.

This is the second Glasgow officer in two weeks to face domestic violence accusations.

Officer Joseph Ford’s estranged wife, Katja Ford, 38, filed June 10 for an emergency protective order, Barren Circuit Court records show. The following day, she filed for divorce. 

The file containing the protection order is not open for public inspection. Kentucky State Police served a domestic violence summons on Ford earlier.


Drug Testing Robs Workforce of Talent and Creativity

By Ellen Komp, Cannabis Culture – Monday, February 11 2013

CANNABIS CULTURE – In Hillary Clinton’s farewell speech as Secretary of State last week, she said, “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.”

Clinton was referring to dealing with the complexities of working with NATO, the United Nations, and world powers, and used for her example the Venice, California-based architect Frank Gehry. Gehry molded a unique style of laid-back architecture that used materials like chain-link fence in the context of the urban sprawl of LA, and is now the world-class architect of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles and the forthcoming Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial.

Someone who worked with Gehry in the 1980s reported him “coming out of rooms with clouds of [marijuana] smoke behind him.” It wouldn’t be too surprising. Even Meghan McCain says pot smoking is everywhere in LA.

The well-entrenched drug testing industry is touting their services as the means of achieving a safe and productive workforce, even in the wake of marijuana smokers winning their rights back in Colorado and Washington.

I beg to differ.

First of all, drug testing has never been scientifically shown to be safe or effective at improving workplace safety or productivity, and studies indicate that the great majority of drug-positive workers are just as reliable as others. Medically, the consensus of expert opinion is that drug tests are an inherently unreliable indicator of drug impairment. Dr. George Lundberg of the American Medical Association has called them “Chemical McCarthyism.”

Second, by pre-screening away marijuana smokers, we’re weeding out (so to speak) some of our most creative and, I would argue, productive employees. If you doubt that marijuana smokers have contributed to our society, see In the case of someone using marijuana for medical purposes, it’s downright discrimination to deny them employment for using what a doctor has legally recommended under state law.

Silicon Valley, the brainchild of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (who both admittedly smoked pot in their youth), notoriously does not drug test its employees, knowing they’d lose much of their talent that way. Yet the region is responsible for much of California’s economic productivity, in one of the few non-military industries the US has. Pot-friendly Hollywood is another shining example of an industry that exports instead of imports to the US, like most of our consumables.

It’s not surprising that Clinton would mention a possible pot smoker, since quite likely she was one herself and the president she worked for certainly was. Would either have benefited from a world that imprisoned or discriminated against them for their youthful or weekend indulgences? I think not.

Henry Ford’s method of sending investigators into his workers’ homes to observe their drinking habits seems outrageous today, yet employers are basically doing the same thing by demanding its workers pee in a cup on Monday to find out what they did on Friday night. Is it really their business?

There is an alternative called impairment testing that has been shown to be more effective than drug testing at assuring workers’ safety. But chemical tests are entrenched, in our political process, and with businesses and insurance companies. The more forward-thinking ideas are, so far, crushed under the Greek architecture of the old days.

Of Gehry, Clinton said, “Some of his work at first might appear haphazard, but in fact, it’s highly intentional and sophisticated. Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a dynamic mix of materials and structures.” We also need a dynamic and varied work force, one that might even look haphazard from the outside, to meet the challenges of today’s world.

Carl Sagan, one of the many productive members of society who enjoyed marijuana, said, “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

It won’t do us much good to end the injustice of marijuana prohibition if only the unemployed can exercise their right to use it. And those companies who exercise drug testing have only a piss-poor workforce.

Ellen Komp is Deputy Director of California NORML and a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture. She manages the website and blogs at Tokin Woman.


Kentucky airport is first in U.S. to add phone-tracking technology

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will monitor travelers’ Wi-Fi devices to identify congested and reduce wait times.

Using data gathered by BlipTrack, CVG will display wait times for security checkpoints, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported, citing Bloomberg. The data will also be used to increase retail sales in terminals.

CVG, in Hebron, will be the first U.S. airport to implement the technology, which was created by Lockheed Martin.

It’s already in use at 20 airports around the world, including in Amsterdam, Dubai, Geneva, Oslo and Toronto.

Airport officials say the system poses no privacy issues because it doesn’t gather data to identify a device or other personal information.

They’re testing the system this month with plans for a full debut in July.