This is an open letter to Jack Conway about the Democratic primary campaign for Governor of Kentucky

Geoffrey M Young

https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.m.young.9?fref=nf

Geoffrey M Young

 

Public Debate Challenge #2: The death penalty.

This is an open letter to Jack Conway about the Democratic primary campaign for Governor of Kentucky, which officially started on Tuesday, January 27 when I filed the papers and named my new running mate for Lt. Governor, Johnathan Masters.

I don’t throw around the word “unethical” lightly, but your refusal to date to contact me to set up a series of debates is an unethical campaign tactic. It constitutes an admission that you don’t care whether Kentucky’s registered Democrats have all the information they need to decide who would make the better candidate for Governor, you or I. You also don’t seem to care whether they have enough information to decide who would make the better Governor of Kentucky, you or I.

You seem to be trying to coast to victory in the Dem primary on 5/19/15 using the pile of cash you’ve amassed over the last several months. Enabled by biased reporters such as Sam Youngman of the Lexington H-L, you seem to be trying to pretend I don’t exist. That’s unethical. I’ll say it again: It’s unethical for any candidate to refuse to debate with his opponent about the most important issues, especially when it comes to a Democratic primary. However many ethical failings the 4 Republican candidates might have – and they have a great many – at least none of them is unethical enough to pretend he has no opponents.

Stan Lee (R) used this unethical strategy against me in our campaign for the Ky House in 2012 in Fayette County. Elisabeth Jensen used the same unethical strategy against me in 2014 during the Dem primary. Her unethical strategy worked well enough to earn her the nomination against Andy Barr (R), but Barr went on to crush her in the general election because she was way out of her depth. She had no experience in politics and I had 35 years. I won 39% of the Dem vote on 5/20/14 anyway, even though she spent 9 times as much money. I’m quite convinced that I would’ve been able to beat Barr if I had received any support at all from the Dem Party Establishment in this state.

If you keep refusing to reply to my debate challenges, you’ll conclusively prove to the voters of Kentucky that you’re just one more unethical politician who doesn’t deserve their respect or their vote either in May or November (if you defeat me in May).

Has your position on the death penalty changed since December, 2011? http://fatlip.leoweekly.com/…/jack-conway-wants-to-continu…/

Public Debate Challenge #2 – Geoff Young (D) vs. Jack Conway (D)

The topic: “Should the death penalty in Kentucky be abolished forever?”

Location: Any indoor facility in Kentucky that can accommodate live TV coverage

Time: 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm, precise time TBD

Possible dates: February 3, 4, 6, 9, or 10, TBD by mutual agreement

Sponsoring organization: the Kentucky Democratic Party

Moderator: TBD

Please call me at (859) 278-4966 at your earliest convenience to hammer out these details.

Campaign web site: young4ky.com

Jaime Montalvo–Guest Editorial WDRB, Louisville, Ky.


Guest POV | Medical Marijuana

Posted: Jan 28, 2015 9:33 AM CST Updated: Jan 28, 2015 3:55 PM CST


WDRB Guest Editorial By Jaime Montalvo

 

I have Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve been fighting this disease for eight years.

I have muscle spasms, tremor uncontrollably, and I’m scared. Cannabis relieves these symptoms.

In Kentucky, thousands of Veterans suffer from PTSD and haven’t responded to treatment.

Sadly, too many choose suicide as a last resort for escaping their demons. I have personal combat veteran friends who testify that smoking Cannabis relieves them within seconds after waking up from horrendous nightmares.

Kentucky has the highest cancer death rate of all 50 states. You probably know someone who has had cancer. Cancer treatments also bring some of the most debilitating side effects. Twenty thousand Kentuckians a year face this diagnosis. Marijuana has been studied and proven to relieve these effects. The nausea brought about by chemotherapy is relieved within seconds of inhaling Cannabis.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana reports over 90,000 individuals suffer from epilepsy in our area. Like cancer treatments, medications used to manage seizures have debilitating side effects. Not every patient can tolerate the treatments, and the drugs often stop working. Cannabis oil has been heralded for decreasing certain patients’ seizures from 300 per week to zero or one.

Cannabis is helping us cope with our symptoms. Please help us by contacting your legislator at 800-372-7181 asking them to support medical marijuana legislation.

I’m Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, and that’s my point of view.

 

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky heart patient relocates to Michigan, receives medical marijuana legally and then an experimental pacemaker … it gets worse from there!

Kentucky – January 19, 2015

 

Erin Vu - pacemaker no leads

Above:  Nanostim™ Leadless Pacemaker

Ms. Erin Grossman Vu, a legal resident of Kentucky who has been disabled for some years with congenital heart disease, relocated on 10-5-2013 to Michigan where she was living with relatives when she was accepted into a Medical Marijuana Program.

“I was first diagnosed with Supraventricular tachycardia. My first event happened when I was still working as a nurse. My heart rate popped up to 250’s & sustained. I’ve been shocked by the paddles. Have been seen in every ER in Metro Louisville for the SVT I was having. I had three cardiac ablations done here in Louisville and the fourth was done in Lansing by Dr. Ip.  After the 4th ablation, I began having slow heart rate events where my heart would drop to 32 bpm no warning & have to sit down or will pass out. Blood can clot at 32 bpm.”

She is one of less than 350 souls in the Nation to have this type of experimental device implanted directly into the heart on 7-10-14. 

She said that her new heart problem arose before moving and Sick Sinus Syndrome occurred when she was unable to use her CPAP machine during an ice storm and electric was down.

She was selected to participate in this St. Jude Medical study by the Nation’s leading device implant Cardiologist, Dr. John Ip of Lansing, MI.

In December she returned to Kentucky and re-established her citizenship here.  She had been referred to a Cardiologist in Lexington Kentucky for follow up care.   However, after the Lexington Cardiologist received her records he refused to treat her and she has yet to be evaluated by him.

In December she was treated for sustained bradycardia, a slow heart rate, at Louisville’s Norton Surburban Hospital on 12-17-14.

Pacemakers are supposed to prevent slow heart rates however she still continues to have cardiac events, chest pain, and shortness of air.

St. Jude Medical and the Lexington Cardiologist (who shall remain unnamed)  have refused to answer why the patient had a slow heart rate with a pacemaker and have refused to give her care at this point.
St. Jude Medical has refused to investigate as to why a cardiologist would refuse to see a pacemaker patient under their study. The FDA has been contacted about the product manufacturer, St. Jude Medical.

 

“I’m supposed to be interrogated by February 6th.  I don’t have access to the technology needed to communicate with my device.  St. Jude Medical, the manufacturer set  me up to have care assumed by a very specific cardiologist in Lexington. Only about fifteen people in Kentucky have this device.  I’ve had no resolution, I’ve called all the proper places.”

“The Lexington Cardiologist won’t see me, period, as patient or study participant.  The Lexington study nurse told me I can’t have two cardiologists. The ONLY reason I’ve been verbally given, doesn’t make sense for a “study”, I would have had to cancel a cardiac stress test I had done six days ago. I’ve been in chest pain since 12-17-14 when I had a sustained low heart rate with a pacemaker.”

At this time it seems that Ms. Grossman Vu is a seriously ill Heart Patient without a Doctor to care for her.  The question remains whether or not this is due to the Medical Marijuana designation she received in Michigan, or the fact that the “leadless pacemaker’s” is in experimental status.  That being said, she was set up with a Lexington Physician who specialized in this according to her Physician in Lansing Michigan.  So what IS THE REAL REASON why she is being rejected by this Cardiologist?

This issue will be followed up.

Erin Grossman Vu can be reached at Stjudemedicalpatient@yahoo.com

 

smk

Warning: protein bars contain hemp seeds

  • By Rachael Tolliver | Fort Knox Public Affairs

    Posted Apr. 23, 2015 @ 11:54 am

    FORT KNOX, Ky. — For anyone who relies on protein bars as an afternoon or after-workout snack, they should be warned about unmilitary-friendly ingredients in their all-natural selections.

    “Strong & Kind” bars, which include Hickory Smoked, Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Mustard, Thai Sweet Chili and Honey Smoked BBQ, contain hemp seeds in their ingredients. These seeds may contain low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, a chemical found in marijuana, which the Army believes may be detectable in drug screening tests.

    This ingredient is not included in the Kind fruit and nut bars and a complete list can be found at www.kindsnacks.com.

    The Army’s position on the consumption of hemp seeds, or its derivatives, is similar to its sister services’ and follows laws and guidelines set forth by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

    Army Regulation 600-85 para 4-2, (p) states that, “…Soldiers are prohibited from using hemp or products containing hemp oil.” And the “…Violations of paragraph 4-2 (p) may subject offenders to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and or administrative action.”

    DoD regulations are based on several considerations, some of which are U.S. laws. In this case, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency categorized hemp seeds, “if they contain THC…” as an illegal product. (www.dea.gov/pubs/pressrel/pr100901.html)

    Additionally, the Department of Justice issued a ruling on what products that contained THC were exempt from being treated as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

    In part, the ruling reads: “Specifically, the interim rule exempted THC- containing industrial products, processed plant materials used to make such products, and animal feed mixtures, provided they are not used, or intended for use, for human consumption and therefore cannot cause THC to enter the human body.” (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2003/fr0321.htm)

    As such, the Army has written its policy to adhere to and to enforce these laws. The bottom line is that soldiers may not consume hemp seeds or hemp oil.

    So how can a product designed for consumption legally contain hemp seeds?

    In 2004 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision, which DEA did not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, protecting the sale of hemp-containing foods. Those foods generally contain naturally occurring THC at less than the USDA guideline of 1 percent. Industrial hemp remains legal for import and sale in the U.S., but U.S. farmers still are not permitted to grow it.

    According to University of California at Berkeley, most of the THC found in hemp seeds are located in the seed hulls, which are removed during processing. Today’s hemp seeds are processed to reduce levels of THC to negligible quantities, but 15 years ago industrial hemp had higher THC levels and the seeds were prepared differently for processing.

How Mitch McConnell got the Senate working again

The human trafficking bill should have been a no-brainer. When Democrats manufactured an obstruction, McConnell kept his team together and forced a compromise to move the Loretta Lynch nomination and the trafficking bill together.

By John Feehery, Voices contributor April 24, 2015

 

I wouldn’t want to play Texas hold-em with Mitch McConnell.

To win at the iconic poker game, featured often on ESPN and the Discovery Channel, you have to have patience.

You have to strike when you have favorable cards, bluff when you don’t, and put all the chips on the table when you are confident of victory.

Nobody is better at this than the Senate majority leader from Kentucky. 

Test your knowledge So you think you know Congress? Take our quiz.

Time and time again, Mr. McConnell has made a virtue out of his patience.

The deal to confirm Loretta Lynch perfectly exemplified this virtue.

No Republican wanted Eric Holder to stay in his current position any longer than necessary, but Lynch proved to be a good bargaining chip in a struggle to pass a human trafficking bill.

Passing that bill should have been a no-brainer, but Democrats, desperate to paint Republicans as anti-abortion extremists for political reasons, manufactured an objection to a long-agreed-to compromise, named for former Illinois Republican Henry Hyde, that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for abortions.

McConnell didn’t buckle, kept his team together, and forced a compromise to move both Lynch and the Human Trafficking bill together.

The newly minted Republican leader has a history of waiting patiently to play his cards.

When the House passed a compromise to finally fix permanently a flaw in the formula to pay doctors in the Medicare program, McConnell took his time in having the Senate consider it, making certain that his colleagues had a chance to have their amendments considered.

When Congress failed to pass a terrorism risk insurance bill at the end of last year, McConnell didn’t panic. Instead he waited until the new majority was firmly in place, and he calmly passed it as one of the first business items.

When the Senate considered a Keystone pipeline bill after TRIA passed, he was happy to allow for an open process, so open that the Senate considered more amendments in one day that it did in a year under the previous regime.

That patience also manifested itself when McConnell was in the minority. He was the one who staved off the fiscal cliff and cut a deal with the vice president that made permanent 98% of the Bush tax cuts, a victory that doesn’t get nearly enough credit.

While McConnell has been patient, he has also been relentless in pushing for regular order, which is why the Senate passed a budget resolution in March and is expected to pass a conference report before the Memorial Day recess.

It may be a surprise to the general public, but it is no surprise to Mitch McConnell that the Senate is working again, they way it is supposed to work. In McConnell’s mind, it just takes a little patience.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/ .

CONTINUE READING…

Patriot Act extension bill introduced by Sen. McConnell

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   April 22, 2015 at 9:34 AM

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,

introduced a bill Tuesday to extend the controversial Patriot Act and its surveillance provisions until 2020.

The extension would allow the National Security Agency to continue to collect data of millions on U.S. phone records daily. The NSA does so under the authority of Section 215, which allows for secret court orders to collect “tangible things” that could be used by the government in investigations.

The Patriot Act was enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks to combat terrorism. McConnell used a Senate rule that will take the bill’s extension straight to the floor for voting, a move that would bypass traditional committee vetting process.

Section 215 expires on June 1. The NSA’s mass collection program was revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden, sparking a debate about privacy, security and the reach of government surveillance.

“Despite overwhelming consensus that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act must end, Senate Republican leaders are proposing to extend that authority without change,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement. “This tone deaf attempt to pave the way for five and a half more years of unchecked surveillance will not succeed. I will oppose any reauthorization of Section 215 that does not contain meaningful reforms.”

Leahy and a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee are attempting to end the NSA’s mass collection of records. Advocates for privacy condemned McConnell’s extension introduction.

“The Senate majority leader’s bill makes no attempt to protect Americans’ privacy or reform ongoing NSA surveillance programs that do not provide any tangible benefit to national security,” Harley Geiger, policy counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said. “For Americans concerned about government intrusion in their lives, the bill is a kick in the stomach.”

READ MORE…

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy answering questions from public on twitter today ….

 

Please be advised, I received the following email from Vivek Murthy – the new surgeon general, and he is taking public questions online through his twitter account today only!  Below is the link to the twitter account and also a copy of the letter I received.

 

@Surgeon_General.

 

The White House, Washington

 

Hi, everyone —

I’m the Surgeon General of the United States — which means it’s my job to keep America healthy by providing you with the best scientific information available about your health.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with President Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and health care professionals to discuss climate change. We talked about the impact of climate change on public health and the importance of prevention.

Clearly, we all have a stake in our national and global health. Every single one of us stands to benefit from a public health system that is focused on wellness and prevention — not one that simply focuses on treating sickness and disease.

So as part of National Public Health Week, I’m taking your questions. If you’re on Twitter, and you’ve got a question about the impact of climate change on health — or any other public health topic — shoot it my way using the hashtag #AskTheSurgeonGeneral.

I’ll be answering your questions via video throughout the afternoon tomorrow from my Twitter account, @Surgeon_General.

Every one of us wants to do what we can to protect the health of our families, including the health of our grandchildren and future generations. That starts with being informed about how we can keep ourselves, and one another, healthy — particularly in the face of a changing climate.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Stay healthy, America.

VM

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
@Surgeon_General

Visit WhiteHouse.gov

Perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith is dead, but his name might be on 2015 Kentucky ballot

Published April 02, 2015

Associated Press

 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. –  Perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith died in 2012, but that might not stop his name from appearing on the 2015 ballot for Kentucky governor.

No, he’s not running from beyond the grave.

Sixty-eight-year-old Terrill Wayne Newman of Pulaski County legally changed his name on Tuesday to Gatewood Galbraith before filing paperwork Wednesday to run as an independent for the state’s highest office.

The Secretary of State’s office says independent candidates must obtain 5,000 signatures from registered voters by Aug. 11 to get their names on the general election ballot.

Newman told the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1xDIDcm ) he doesn’t expect to be elected but, “I sure do hope this warms Gatewood’s grave.”

Galbraith ran for governor five times and gained a following for his wit and his stances on legalizing hemp and marijuana.

 

Continue Reading…

Hemp pilot projects finding fertile ground in Kentucky

Posted on March 26, 2015
by Dan Dickson

 

Image result for hemp fields in kentucky

 

 

Cynthiana farmer Brian Furnish has a successful tobacco and cattle operation but wants to make life better for his family and many other Kentucky farmers who once depended on tobacco for their living.

“I’ve seen what’s happened with the decline of tobacco,” said Furnish. “Central and eastern Kentucky need a new crop. If we can build an industry around hemp here, it’ll be beneficial to growers.”

Furnish is also the chair of the Kentucky Hemp Industry Council, a 16-member group from around the state and nation that represents various stakeholder in hemp’s future, from farmers and crop processors to industries and retailers that want to process and sell hemp products. Hemp’s fiber and oil can be used in a multitude of goods, including food, paper, building materials, beauty products and much more.

Kentucky is entering its second year of industrial hemp pilot projects. The first round in 2014 produced a wealth of data about production methods, seed varieties, harvesting, processing techniques and uses for harvested hemp.

“We’re looking to conduct a wide scope of pilot projects in 2015,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a strong advocate for hemp and a Republican candidate for governor.

“There are more agriculture processors in Kentucky today making an investment in the state, signing contracts and hiring people. This is something we’ll be able to look back at and say ‘This was a good decision,’” said Comer.

Comer says one company that showed an early interest in developing the state’s hemp industry is Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soaps, a company selling hemp formulated soaps, organic bars, lip balm and body care products, according to its website. The company donated $50,000 to aid the hemp council’s work in promoting a future for hemp in Kentucky.

Comer says hundreds of others have applied for permits to participate in this year’s hemp pilot program. “There’s no shortage of farmers who want to grow hemp,” he said.

Lexington attorney Jonathan Miller is legal advisor for the hemp council.

“We would like to resume our leading role as the industrial hemp capital of the globe,” he said.

Miller and others have lobbied Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration to try to regain full legalization of hemp, which was banned 75 years ago, along with its intoxicating plant cousin, marijuana.

In the last year, no hemp has been commercialized in Kentucky. It remains in the experimental stage.

Pages: 1 2

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Why Is a Liberal Professor Helping Mitch McConnell Fight for Coal Companies?

By Jonathan Chait

 

Mitch McConnell, who is leading the fight to stop the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, pointed out last week that he has a surprising ally: “Iconic liberal constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe — who was President Obama’s constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School — said he agrees.” The lawsuit to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the greenhouse gas emissions of existing power plants would, if successful, close out the sole realistic channel that might allow the United States to comply with its international climate commitments, and thus likely doom any international agreement to limit the effects of climate change. The endorsement of Tribe, a famous liberal law professor, has become the right’s favorite talking point. Last December, The Wall Street Journal devoted an entire editorial to extolling this smackdown of Obama from an unimpeachably favorable source. “Professor Tribe delivered a constitutional rebuke this week to the Obama Administration,” the Journal gloated, “that is remarkable coming from a titan of the liberal professoriate.” Reason, the Daily Caller, Jonathan Adler, among others, have likewise touted Tribe’s defection to their side.

None of these conservatives managed to note, even parenthetically, what may be a salient fact: Tribe is being paid for his advocacy by a coal company called Peabody Energy. Only the Journal comes close to disclosing the relationship by noting, “Mr. Tribe joined with the world’s largest private coal company,” though “joined with” makes it sound like Tribe volunteered to endorse Peabody’s argument, as opposed to being hired to do so.

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Tribe is playing an important legal role, which has to be evaluated on its own terms. Other law professors, like Richard Revesz, Jody Freeman, and Richard Lazarus, have called Tribe’s legal argument frivolous and absurd. Tribe has responded. But aside from the legal case Tribe has devised, his advocacy is also playing a crucial public role in the debate — even liberal professor Laurence Tribe noted that Obama’s climate regulations must be unconstitutional, which sounds very different from even coal company lawyer Lawrence Tribe agrees that Obama’s climate regulations must be unconstitutional. Should anybody put weight on Tribe’s endorsement of the anti-Obama lawsuit, any more than they should have taken Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz’s word for it that O.J. Simpson was innocent?

Tribe, over email, insisted that he personally agrees with his arguments on behalf of Peabody. “I agreed to accept Peabody as a client only on the condition that I’d continue to speak my mind even if not everything I’d say would be to Peabody’s liking,” he wrote.

What makes Tribe’s defense a little strange is that his advocacy has not been limited to narrow legal arguments against the constitutionality of the proposed regulations. Tribe has argued for preserving coal’s cherished place in American economic life. In his legal paper, he writes:

[B]oth Democratic and Republican Administrations have promoted the prudent use of domestic coal in order to reduce dependence on imported oil. In contrast, the Proposed Rule will require a dramatic decline in coal-fired generation of electricity, in order to implement EPA’s system of state-by-state mandates. In fact, under EPA’s plan, the agency envisions that coal generation would be eliminated altogether in 12 states. The Proposed Rule thus reverses policies that reach back to John F. Kennedy. As Hillary Clinton observed in 2007, “I think you have got to admit that coal — of which we have a great and abundant supply in America — is not going away.”

And in his testimony before Congress last week, Tribe calls the administration’s plan to reduce coal use “radical”:

There should be no mistake about how radical EPA’s proposal to phase out the use of coal to generate electrical power actually is. Secretary of State John Kerry described U.S. policy regarding coal-fired power plants: “We’re going to take a bunch of them out of commission.”

He argues instead for subsidizing carbon-capture technology as an alternative means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

Today, greenhouse gas emissions from state-of-the-art coal plants are materially (25 percent) lower than those of traditional power plants, due to improved boilers, increased efficiencies, and other innovations. The United States could also support carbon-capture and storage technologies. An “all of the above” energy policy can support all forms of domestic energy production that will minimize carbon emissions, protect consumers and American jobs, and ensure that the U.S. remains independent from unreliable foreign sources of energy. But burning the Constitution is one thing we should not do as part of our national energy policy.

This is an argument made energetically by coal companies but rejected by energy analysts. Tribe is right that coal has grown less dirty than it used to be, but it’s still far dirtier than any other source of electricity.

The Clean Power Plan would allow states to invest in carbon-capture strategies, and they would dearly love this. But it’s a highly expensive technology that isn’t competitive with other forms of clean energy, and therefore isn’t expected to be widely used, because the regulations encourage states to find the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions. Tribe is advocating a climate policy that makes no economic sense from any standpoint except the self-interest of the coal industry.

I asked Tribe if his guideline about speaking his mind applies to his broader defense of coal or only to his narrow legal arguments. Tribe responded by insisting he was only making narrow legal arguments. His response on this point simply makes no sense to me and seems to contradict the plain meaning of his words. But I will share the whole thing and allow readers to judge:

On the contrary, my advocacy has been confined to arguments about the legality of EPA’s regulatory strategy. In my congressional testimony last Tuesday, for instance, I said: “I want to make clear at the outset that my testimony addresses only the lawfulness of what EPA proposes to do; I claim no expertise in, nor will I be testifying about, the pros and cons of EPA’s plan as a response to the issues posed by climate change. My conclusion as a legal scholar and student of the Constitution is that EPA’s proposal not only exceeds the agency’s statutory and legal authority but also directly violates limits enacted by Congress to restrict EPA’s power and raises serious constitutional questions.”

The fact that the paper I submitted last December quoted statements by Hillary Clinton and others about how, under present policies, “coal . . . is not going away,” doesn’t change that one iota. Those statements were historically accurate (and indeed uncontroversial) descriptions of the situation as it has existed up to now, and they are relevant to my Fifth Amendment point. As I said in my testimony, “a central point of the Fifth Amendment’s combined requirements of Due Process and Just Compensation is that, except when phasing out intrinsically harmful activity that injures identifiable individuals or businesses, the Government is not free simply to pick those whose investment-backed expectations are to be eliminated for the greater good. When regulating an entity out of existence generates diffuse benefits for the public at large that exceed the targeted costs imposed on the unlucky few, the Fifth Amendment’s basic teaching is that the few should be justly compensated by the many. The point is not that the Government is bound by a constitutional duty not to change course — no constitutional principle freezes the Government in its tracks. But when the Government’s change in course drastically undercuts investment-backed expectations that amount to property interests, the Government is bound by a constitutional duty to pay, whether under the rubric of just compensation or under the rubric of due process.”

The same is true of my quotation from Secretary Kerry about the administration’s intent to “take a bunch of [coal-powered plants] out of commission.” That’s exactly what Secretary Kerry said, and I quoted it just to underscore the inaccuracy of the claims that the EPA Clean Power Plan isn’t targeted at that goal. I haven’t expressed any personal opinions or made any policy arguments “on behalf of a coal-inclusive energy strategy” but have made factually indisputable statements about what’s going on insofar as it might be relevant to my legal analysis. And, when you refer to my “policy views on coal,” I truly don’t know what you’re referencing. I have expressed no such views.

I followed up by asking Tribe if he would disclose what percentage of his income has come from energy companies. He replied, “It’s a very small percentage. And I’m afraid I don’t have any more time to devote to this dialogue today, so I’ll need to beg off on further questions.”

CONTINUE READING…

The process of legalizing gaming in Kentucky

 

Image result for kentucky gambling

 

 

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015 7:30 am

By JAMES MCNAIR Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

LOUISVILLE — What does it take to legalize casinos in Kentucky?

According to court rulings and attorney general opinions, Section 226 of the state Constitution would have to be amended. That section does not explicitly outlaw “casinos,” but forbids “lotteries” other than the state lottery. Lotteries are principally regarded as the sale of tickets and awarding of prizes to winning ticket holders.

But lotteries are also defined as “any scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance.” That was the view taken by state courts and former Attorney General Greg Stumbo when, in 2005, he wrote an opinion saying, “The case law is clear; to be a “lottery,” the winner must be chosen “purely by chance.”

Somehow, the “purely by chance” doctrine was applied to card games as well as the play-and-pray games of slot machines, roulette and dice. Poker, blackjack and baccarat players would beg to disagree, as success at those games require a high degree of skill to go with elements of chance.

In any case, amending the Constitution has become the go-to route to bring casinos to Kentucky. A bill must be introduced in the General Assembly, and at least 60 percent of each chamber — the House and the Senate — would have to vote for the bill. From there, Kentucky voters would have their say on the proposed amendment. A simple majority would make it law.

Two such attempts in the past three years have failed. In 2012, a bill supported by Gov. Steve Beshear was approved by the Democratic-controlled House but rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate, despite the co-sponsorship of Sen. Damon Thayer, who went on to become Senate majority leader. In 2014, several bills were issued in both chambers, and all died in committees.

This year’s bill calls for a maximum of six casinos in the state, no more than one in any Congressional district and only in counties of at least 85,000 in population. Its sponsor? Stumbo, now speaker of the House.

CONTINUE READING…

Farmers, Industry Leaders Excited About Future of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky

KENTUCKY — Kentucky Hemp is coming back. Fiber, seed, fuel, oil, and artisan products are simmering in the recently revived hemp industry.

 

kentucky-set-to-be-first-state-to-legalize-hemp-production.si

 

SEE GRAPHIC HERE

Research and debate about bringing hemp back has circulated since the 1990s, when other countries like Canada and Australia re-legalized hemp production. Finally, last year, the 2014 Farm Bill provided a framework for U.S. state agricultural departments and universities to plant hemp seed on U.S. soil as long as individual state law allows it.

Now, Kentuckians are turning their research and theories into a promising hemp industry.

“We don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” said Josh Hendrix of the newly formed Kentucky Hemp Industries Association (KYHIA). “We haven’t had a hemp industry for over 70 years.”

He says research is necessary to reduce risk to farmers. His organization and others, who have participated in hemp trials, are testing for the best seeds to plant, and the best way to harvest and process hemp crops. Part of KYHIA’s mission is to disseminate its research and provide education about the hemp industry.

Hemp production was deterred in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. Then, in 1970, the Controlled Substance Act coupled hemp with the drug, marijuana, making hemp illegal as a narcotic. Hemp does not hold the drug’s THC properties, but the plant is from the same genus, cannabis, and looks similar.

Before 1937, 98% of hemp seed used in the U.S. came from Kentucky. Now, they have no seeds. Hemp trials have used seeds imported from other countries.

“2014 was a celebratory year, just to get seed in the ground,” said Hendrix. “2015 has seen a nice expansion, with 326 applications.”

Kentucky farmers can submit applications to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to participate in the hemp revival. They must provide production plans to be approved, and pass a background check to appease the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Kentucky U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, along with two Oregon senators, submitted a bill on January 8, 2015, to decouple hemp from marijuana, and remove hemp production from DEA enforcement.

“We don’t know if or when it might become a legal crop,” said David Williams, of the University of Kentucky. “We also do not know how large an industry the market will support. We extrapolate based on data from other markets, but we cannot know exactly what the market will be in the U.S.”

A Promising Market

Kentuckians have deep roots with the hemp plant, and have grand plans for bringing the industry back. Industries, like tobacco and coal, are facing hard times, and hemp may offer both profitable alternatives.

Hemp advocates, like Hendrix, also see hemp as a crop to sustain dwindling family farms, and increase young and new farmers. Artisans can use hemp for cloth, beauty products, teas, and countless other items. The organic market for hemp is also highly profitable and growing.

Seventh generation family farmer, Andy Graves, grows conventional grains like soy, wheat, and corn. His generation is the first in his family to not grow hemp. The Graves family was the top hemp seed producer when hemp was legal, and is set on renewing that legacy.

“The market is so big,” Graves said. “We haven’t even scratched the surface.”

Graves is also the CEO of Atalo Holdings, Inc. The group contracted 5 farms to grow hemp in 2014 and for 2015 they’ve expanded to 26 farms. Atalo has three subsidiaries: Hemp Oil Kentucky, Kenex, and Kentucky Hemp Research and Development — each focuses on seed, fiber, and research and development, respectively.

Oil from seed, Graves said, has a quick return. Once Atalo has a revenue stream from oil, it will invest in fiber operations. Fiber operations have a higher barrier to entry because of the cost of new machinery.

Hemp seed can be harvested using the same equipment as conventional grain. As far as processing, Graves said that seed pressing equipment that is currently used for chia and sesame seeds can also be used for hemp. He will add chia and sesame to his portfolio as well.

Graves is using the most popular hemp seed for oil: Finola, from Finland. Atalo has guaranteed a no loss crop by securing a deal with Hemp Oil Canada to buy any seed Atalo cannot sell.

‘We haven’t scratched the surface of the market.’

Atalo has been approved for 356 acres of hemp, and is hoping for up to 500. 10-12 acres will be devoted to organic hemp seed production. Their research and development subsidiary aims to be an educational asset to the hemp industry in the U.S., Graves says.

Hendrix, Graves, and Williams all emphasize that they are building a new industry from the ground up. It will take research and time, but, Hendrix believes they have “the right people, the right place, and the right time” to build the industry and create jobs.

The Hemp Capital of the U.S.

Other groups germinating in the Kentucky hemp industry include The Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association, which focuses on biomass and high capacitance graphene nano-sheets; and Sunstrand LLC, which focuses on industrial fiber. There are many others cropping up. Stay tuned, says Graves, new developments are breaking on Kentucky soil.

The laws may not be set yet, but hemp advocates in Kentucky are confident that their state will soon be known for more than bourbon, and re-claim their name as the ‘Hemp Capital of the U.S.’

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http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

 

 

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/us-news/video/2015/feb/24/homan-square-chicago-black-site-video

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

While US military and intelligence interrogation impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles and even a cage – focuses on American citizens, most often poor, black and brown. ‘When you go in,’ Brian Jacob Church told the Guardian, ‘nobody knows what happened to you.’ Video: Phil Batta for the Guardian; editing: Mae Ryan

 

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

 

Held for hours at secret Chicago ‘black site': ‘You’re a hostage. It’s kidnapping’

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The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.

Chicago’s Homan Square ‘black site': surveillance, military-style vehicles and a metal cage

 

“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.

 

Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor said Homan Square represented a routinization of a notorious practice in local police work that violates the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution.

“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”

Much remains hidden about Homan Square. The Chicago police department did not respond to the Guardian’s questions about the facility. But after the Guardian published this story, the department provided a statement insisting, without specifics, that there is nothing untoward taking place at what it called the “sensitive” location, home to undercover units.

“CPD [Chicago police department] abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property,” the statement said, something numerous attorneys and one Homan Square arrestee have denied.

“There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square,” it continued.

The Chicago police statement did not address how long into an arrest or detention those records are generated or their availability to the public. A department spokesperson did not respond to a detailed request for clarification.

When a Guardian reporter arrived at the warehouse on Friday, a man at the gatehouse outside refused any entrance and would not answer questions. “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” said the man, who refused to give his name.

A former Chicago police superintendent and a more recently retired detective, both of whom have been inside Homan Square in the last few years in a post-police capacity, said the police department did not operate out of the warehouse until the late 1990s.

But in detailing episodes involving their clients over the past several years, lawyers described mad scrambles that led to the closed doors of Homan Square, a place most had never heard of previously. The facility was even unknown to Rob Warden, the founder of Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, until the Guardian informed him of the allegations of clients who vanish into inherently coercive police custody.

“They just disappear,” said Anthony Hill, a criminal defense attorney, “until they show up at a district for charging or are just released back out on the street.”

‘Never going to see the light of day’: the search for the Nato Three, the head wound, the worried mom and the dead man

Homan Square

 

‘They were held incommunicado for much longer than I think should be permitted in this country – anywhere – but particularly given the strong constitutional rights afforded to people who are being charged with crimes,” said Sarah Gelsomino, the lawyer for Brian Jacob Church. Photograph: Phil Batta/Guardian

Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed.

In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody,” Church told the Guardian, in contradiction of a police guidance on permitting phone calls and legal counsel to arrestees.

Church’s left wrist was cuffed to a bar behind a bench in windowless cinderblock cell, with his ankles cuffed together. He remained in those restraints for about 17 hours.

“I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again,’” Church said.

Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly, known as the ‘Nato Three’ Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly, known as the ‘Nato Three’. Photograph: AP/Cook County sheriff’s office

Though the raid attracted major media attention, a team of attorneys could not find Church through 12 hours of “active searching”, Sarah Gelsomino, Church’s lawyer, recalled. No booking record existed. Only after she and others made a “major stink” with contacts in the offices of the corporation counsel and Mayor Rahm Emanuel did they even learn about Homan Square.

They sent another attorney to the facility, where he ultimately gained entry, and talked to Church through a floor-to-ceiling chain-link metal cage. Finally, hours later, police took Church and his two co-defendants to a nearby police station for booking.

After serving two and a half years in prison, Church is currently on parole after he and his co-defendants were found not guilty in 2014 of terrorism-related offenses but guilty of lesser charges of possessing an incendiary device and the misdemeanor of “mob action”.

It’s almost like they throw a black bag over your head and make you disappear for a day or two

Brian Jacob Church

The access that Nato Three attorneys received to Homan Square was an exception to the rule, even if Jacob Church’s experience there was not.

Three attorneys interviewed by the Guardian report being personally turned away from Homan Square between 2009 and 2013 without being allowed access to their clients. Two more lawyers who hadn’t been physically denied described it as a place where police withheld information about their clients’ whereabouts. Church was the only person who had been detained at the facility who agreed to talk with the Guardian: their lawyers say others fear police retaliation.

One man in January 2013 had his name changed in the Chicago central bookings database and then taken to Homan Square without a record of his transfer being kept, according to Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid. (The man, the Guardian understands, wishes to be anonymous; his current attorney declined to confirm Solowiej’s account.) She found out where he was after he was taken to the hospital with a head injury.

“He said that the officers caused his head injuries in an interrogation room at Homan Square. I had been looking for him for six to eight hours, and every department member I talked to said they had never heard of him,” Solowiej said. “He sent me a phone pic of his head injuries because I had seen him in a police station right before he was transferred to Homan Square without any.”

Bartmes, another Chicago attorney, said that in September 2013 she got a call from a mother worried that her 15-year-old son had been picked up by police before dawn. A sympathetic sergeant followed up with the mother to say her son was being questioned at Homan Square in connection to a shooting and would be released soon. When hours passed, Bartmes traveled to Homan Square, only to be refused entry for nearly an hour.

An officer told her, “Well, you can’t just stand here taking notes, this is a secure facility, there are undercover officers, and you’re making people very nervous,” Bartmes recalled. Told to leave, she said she would return in an hour if the boy was not released. He was home, and not charged, after “12, maybe 13” hours in custody.

On February 2, 2013, John Hubbard was taken to Homan Square. Hubbard never walked out. The Chicago Tribune reported that the 44-year old was found “unresponsive inside an interview room”, and pronounced dead. After publication, the Cook County medical examiner told the Guardian that the cause of death was determined to be heroin intoxication.

Homan Square is hardly concerned exclusively with terrorism. Several special units operate outside of it, including the anti-gang and anti-drug forces. If police “want money, guns, drugs”, or information on the flow of any of them onto Chicago’s streets, “they bring them there and use it as a place of interrogation off the books,” Hill said.

‘That scares the hell out of me’: a throwback to Chicago police abuse with a post-9/11 feel

Homan Square

 

‘The real danger in allowing practices like Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,’ criminologist Tracy Siska told the Guardian. Photograph: Chandler West/Guardian

A former Chicago detective and current private investigator, Bill Dorsch, said he had not heard of the police abuses described by Church and lawyers for other suspects who had been taken to Homan Square. He has been permitted access to the facility to visit one of its main features, an evidence locker for the police department. (“I just showed my retirement star and passed through,” Dorsch said.)

Transferring detainees through police custody to deny them access to legal counsel, would be “a career-ender,” Dorsch said. “To move just for the purpose of hiding them, I can’t see that happening,” he told the Guardian.

Richard Brzeczek, Chicago’s police superintendent from 1980 to 1983, who also said he had no first-hand knowledge of abuses at Homan Square, said it was “never justified” to deny access to attorneys.

“Homan Square should be on the same list as every other facility where you can call central booking and say: ‘Can you tell me if this person is in custody and where,’” Brzeczek said.

“If you’re going to be doing this, then you have to include Homan Square on the list of facilities that prisoners are taken into and a record made. It can’t be an exempt facility.”

Indeed, Chicago police guidelines appear to ban the sorts of practices Church and the lawyers said occur at Homan Square.

A directive titled “Processing Persons Under Department Control” instructs that “investigation or interrogation of an arrestee will not delay the booking process,” and arrestees must be allowed “a reasonable number of telephone calls” to attorneys swiftly “after their arrival at the first place of custody.” Another directive, “Arrestee and In-Custody Communications,” says police supervisors must “allow visitation by attorneys.”

Attorney Scott Finger said that the Chicago police tightened the latter directive in 2012 after quiet complaints from lawyers about their lack of access to Homan Square. Without those changes, Church’s attorneys might not have gained entry at all. But that tightening – about a week before Church’s arrest – did not prevent Church’s prolonged detention without a lawyer, nor the later cases where lawyers were unable to enter.

The combination of holding clients for long periods, while concealing their whereabouts and denying access to a lawyer, struck legal experts as a throwback to the worst excesses of Chicago police abuse, with a post-9/11 feel to it.

On a smaller scale, Homan Square is “analogous to the CIA’s black sites,” said Andrea Lyon, a former Chicago public defender and current dean of Valparaiso University Law School. When she practiced law in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, she said, “police used the term ‘shadow site’” to refer to the quasi-disappearances now in place at Homan Square.

I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and hold somebody before booking for hours and hours

James Trainum, former detective, Washington DC

“Back when I first started working on torture cases and started representing criminal defendants in the early 1970s, my clients often told me they’d been taken from one police station to another before ending up at Area 2 where they were tortured,” said Taylor, the civil-rights lawyer most associated with pursuing the notoriously abusive Area 2 police commander Jon Burge. “And in that way the police prevent their family and lawyers from seeing them until they could coerce, through torture or other means, confessions from them.”

Police often have off-site facilities to have private conversations with their informants. But a retired Washington DC homicide detective, James Trainum, could not think of another circumstance nationwide where police held people incommunicado for extended periods.

“I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and just hold somebody before booking for hours and hours and hours. That scares the hell out of me that that even exists or might exist,” said Trainum, who now studies national policing issues, to include interrogations, for the Innocence Project and the Constitution Project.

Regardless of departmental regulations, police frequently deny or elide access to lawyers even at regular police precincts, said Solowiej of First Defense Legal Aid. But she said the outright denial was exacerbated at Chicago’s secretive interrogation and holding facility: “It’s very, very rare for anyone to experience their constitutional rights in Chicago police custody, and even more so at Homan Square,” Solowiej said.

Church said that one of his more striking memories of Homan Square was the “big, big vehicles” police had inside the complex that “look like very large MRAPs that they use in the Middle East.”

Cook County, home of Chicago, has received some 1,700 pieces of military equipment from a much-criticized Pentagon program transferring military gear to local police. It includes a Humvee, according to a local ABC News report.

Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said that Homan Square, as well as the unrelated case of ex-Guantánamo interrogator and retired Chicago detective Richard Zuley, showed the lines blurring between domestic law enforcement and overseas military operations.

“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.

“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”

 

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