Marc Emery on Ron Paul: “The Great Man Has Left The Building”

By Marc Emery – Sunday, November 25 2012

 

Ron PaulMarc Supports Ron Paul

Ron Paul, my hero and great political and moral influence, gave his farewell speech to Congress on November 14th after 23 years of serving as the lonely, often marginalized, voice of reason and stalwart of constitutional principles in the House of Representatives.

In those years Ron Paul always voted against any financing for the drug war and the drug czar’s office. He sponsored bills to legalize possession of marijuana, industrial hemp, and medical marijuana; a Truth in Trials Act, allowing introduction of state medical marijuana laws in federal trials; bills to end the US military empire abroad, Plan Colombia, the Patriot Act (and not voting for it in the first place), and the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia (training of foreign military elite in torture and repression). [See the video clips and more links about Ron Paul’s position and action on marijuana and the drug war in Marc’s December 2011 blog post: “Support Ron Paul for President!“]

Never did Ron Paul ever vote for or support any legislation that restricted our liberties, allowed government secrecy, carried out the war in Iraq, maintained the US military abroad, expanded surveillance of the US people, debased the money, raised taxes, imposed censorship, or any other unconstitutional incursion into the rights of the citizens or the states.

He has been the greatest Congressman in the history of the United States, for he was, and is, the only true patriot to ever have served in the Congress honoring the US Constitution in a devotion that was, thankfully, fanatical and unwavering.

You must watch and/or read Ron Paul’s farewell speech. (Click Here or watch the video below.) It is one of the vital documents of our time. Not a false word is spoken or written. Clearly and plainly, Ron Paul explains what went wrong, why liberty is fundamental to all of human success and progress, asks all the right questions, and lays blame appropriately – at the feet of government and the citizens who enable governments to do so much of the evil that gets done.

When I first read Ayn Rand’s “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” in October, 1979, and changed the philosophical course of my life to reflect those values, I asked my new friends who had introduced me to the book, “Does anyone in politics actually adhere to these principles? ” Yes, he said; “a Congressman named Ron Paul”.

In the US presidential election weeks ago, the media seemed to have a field day denigrating the philosophy of Ayn Rand as part of their smear/criticism of Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Yet Paul Ryan is a warmonger, a devout Roman Catholic, and an adherent of the drug war. No believer in the supernatural and warfare state/Imperial American Empire could ever be a credible acolyte of Ayn Rand.

Ron Paul is the proper standard to compare Ayn Rand, although there are some differences. Ron Paul is a Christian, true, and he is opposed to abortion – though as a man who has delivered 4,000 babies as an obstetrician-gynecologist physician, it’s at least understandable. But importantly, Ron Paul doesn’t believe any woman should ever be punished for seeking or having an abortion. He doesn’t believe the Constitution allows the federal government to criminalize abortion, and that is why he received virtually no support from the anti-abortion conservatives that Rick Santorum did. Ron Paul’s influences are varied, and include Murray Rothbard, Ludwig Von Mises, Frederick Hayek, and Lysander Spooner; in fact, Ayn Rand is only one of many of Ron Paul’s influences. He is a well-read individual.

I believe Ron Paul left Congress because, plainly, Congress is made up of collectivist statists (kind of a redundancy, I know) and 23 years is enough punishment. Now he is going on a hopefully long tour of universities to speak to students and his people about liberty and the nature of man and politics. I wish him well. I hope he runs for President again in 2016.

Ron Paul was always the best friend we anti-prohibitionists have ever had in Congress. Never once did he ever support any aspect of the drug war. Yet most of the legalization movement chose to ignore him or pay him no respect. It makes me sad in my heart to know that most in our community – and society at large – are politically ignorant, biased, and most often plainly ambivalent when it comes to political activism, and when it came time to support Ron Paul in the primaries in 2008 and 2012, most of our people did not heed the call to help this great man, this once-in-a century man.

Even in his farewell address to Congress, he does not forget us.

His first question is: “Why are sick people who use medical marijuana in prison?”

He also asks amongst his many pertinent questions:

“Why can’t Americans manufacture rope and other products from hemp?”

“Why should there be mandatory sentences, even up to life, for crimes without victims-as our drug laws require?”

“Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?”

“Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world – the one between Mexico and the US?”

At 78, Ron Paul is still in great health, so I hope he has many years, decades I should hope, to remind us of where we should be going, and how we can get there, and why we must put heart and soul (and money) into that effort.

It’s such a disappointment that Canada has no equivalent giant in politics, no great statesman philosopher politician to give the people a clear vision of liberty and freedom. All we really have is second- and third-rate statists at best, grubby thugs at worse, in institutions under the dictatorial thumb of a soulless Prime Minister and wholly inadequate Premiers.

Ron Paul. The great man of the people has left the building.

CONTINUE TO STORY…

Ashley Judd running for Senate in Kentucky?

 

 

Actress Ashley Judd isn’t ruling out a run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

The former Kentuckian is an active supporter of Tennessee Democrats. She said in a statement Friday that she’s honored to be mentioned as a potential candidate, but she sidestepped the question of whether she would get into the race.

"I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward," she said.

Judd lives in Tennessee and would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in his 2014 re-election bid.

No Democrats have stepped forward to challenge McConnell, a political powerhouse who already has $6.8 million in the bank for his re-election.

In 2008, McConnell won re-election to a fifth term and became Kentucky’s longest serving senator. McConnell spent some $20 million on his last election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a wealthy Kentucky businessman, by 6 percentage points.

"Sen. McConnell and his wife are big fans of Ashley Judd’s movies and appreciate her energy, especially when it comes to bringing young people into the political process," said McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. He held his criticism for those who are pushing her candidacy.

Judd is a regular at University of Kentucky basketball games and the Kentucky Derby and has starred in such movies as "Kiss the Girls," ”Double Jeopardy," ”Where the Heart Is," and "High Crimes." She is married to three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and is an annual spectator at the race.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/11/09/ashley-judd-running-for-senate-in-kentucky/#ixzz2BsM8UHrN

IN SUPPORT OF GARY JOHNSON (LIBERTARIAN) FOR PRESIDENT 2012

GaryJohnsonLibertarian

Previously in a post I had said that I would support RON PAUL as a write-in for the Presidential Elections in November of this year (2012).

I have since researched and listened to video’s and other information that would lead me to believe and support

 GARY JOHNSON AS A LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE ON THE BALLOT IN ALL 50 STATES FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN NOVEMBER OF 2012.

This change has come about primarily because he IS on the ballot (vs. a write-in)

Below is some video and information on GARY JOHNSON (Libertarian).  Please view and make an informed decision BEFORE everybody runs to the polls to put a democrat or republican back in the White House!

That is something that I do not believe that this Country can withstand anymore at this point.  The time for the change has to be NOW NOT LATER – There may not be a “Later”.

LINK TO GARY JOHNSON 2012 WEBSITE

Gary Johnson has been an outspoken advocate for efficient government, balanced budgets, rational drug policy reform, protection of civil liberties, comprehensive tax reform, and personal freedom. As Governor of New Mexico, Johnson was known for his common sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit, cut the rate of growth in state government in half, and privatized half of the state prisons.

Drug Policy Reform

Despite our best efforts at enforcement, education and interdiction, people continue to use and abuse illegal drugs.

The parallels between drug policy today and Prohibition in the 1920’s are obvious, as are the lessons our nation learned. Prohibition was repealed because it made matters worse. Today, no one is trying to sell our kids bathtub gin in the schoolyard and micro-breweries aren’t protecting their turf with machine guns. It’s time to apply that thinking to marijuana. By making it a legal, regulated product, availability can be restricted, under-age use curtailed, enforcement/court/incarceration costs reduced, and the profit removed from a massive underground and criminal economy.

By managing marijuana like alcohol and tobacco – regulating, taxing and enforcing its lawful use – America will be better off.  The billions saved on marijuana interdiction, along with the billions captured as legal revenue, can be redirected against the individuals committing real crimes against society.

GARY JOHNSON will END the War on Drugs (Video)

Gary Johnson 2012: End the Drug War Now (Video)

Civil Liberties

Civil liberties are so foundational to America that the first eight amendments to the Constitution address them directly. These amendments enshrine government’s duty to protect individual liberties, including the rights to free speech and free association.

But today, government has created for itself sweeping powers to monitor the private lives of individuals and otherwise intrude upon our daily activities, our households and our businesses. The extent of the government’s reach today would be unrecognizable to the Founders.

Much of the recent erosion in civil liberties has occurred in the name of national security. But we can – and must — combat threats to our safety while adhering to due process and the rule of law.

Gary Johnson This Is Your Freedom (Video)

THE FREEDOMS ON WHICH AMERICA WAS FOUNDED are now under attack from the very people charged with protecting and upholding them.
  • The PATRIOT Act should be repealed, which would restore proper judicial oversight to federal investigations and again require federal investigators to prove probable cause prior to executing a search.
  • Habeas corpus should be respected entirely, requiring the government to either charge incarcerated individuals with a crime or release them.
  • The TSA should take a risk-based approach to airport security. Only high-risk individuals should be subjected to invasive pat-downs and full-body scans.
  • The TSA should not have a monopoly on airport security. Airports and airlines should be encouraged to seek the most effective methods for screening travelers, including private sector screeners. Screeners outside of government can be held fully accountable for their successes and failures.

The above post from his website is just a sample of what GARY JOHNSON has to offer.  Please go to his site and review all information available.

For Many Kentucky Democrats, Federal Elections Mean Voting Republican

 

 

By Kevin Willis

Kentucky defies any easy label of “red state” or “blue state.” The commonwealth is a place that was once solidly Democratic at both the state and federal levels.

But now it’s common for parts of our listening area to send moderate and conservative Democrats to the General Assembly, while voting for extremely conservative

candidates for U.S. House, Senate, and President.

If you discuss politics with someone in Kentucky—and we’re talking a real hardcore political junkie here-it’s an issue that’s bound to come up eventually. In many parts of the region voters who are registered Democrats often cast ballots for politicians in federal races who are anything BUT Democrat.

The Bowling Green-Warren County area is a great example of this voting pattern.

Understanding the Present By Looking at the Past

Bowling Green is home to Rep. Jody Richards, a Democrat who served as Kentucky House Speaker longer than anyone in state history. Warren County is also home to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Tea Party champion who is believed to be strongly considering a future run for the White House.

So what’s behind all of this?

“I think you have to go back and look at the history,” says Patsy Sloan, a Democrat who served as Bowling Green Mayor from 1987-1991, and was also the second Congressional District co-chair for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 Presidential campaign. “Kentucky has always been a kind of a hybrid state. Are we southern? Are we Midwestern? We’re neither one, completely. We’re a sort of hybrid mix of that, and our politics has reflected that.”

The south-central Kentucky region is filled with examples of communities that send moderate-to-conservative Democrats to Frankfort, and very right-wing Republicans to Washington.

Case in point: Barren County.

Glasgow Democrat Johnny Bell is running unopposed next month for his seventh term as a state Representative. But Barren County in 2010 went comfortably for Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul over Democrat Jack Conway, despite a Democratic registration advantage in the county of more than 7,000.

Bobby Richardson is a man who knows these facts well. Richardson is the embodiment of the old-school, southern Democrat. He represented Kentucky’s 23rd House District, which covers Barren and part of Warren counties, from 1972 to 1990. He served as Speaker of the House during the 1982 and 1984 General Assembly sessions.

Reconstruction Resentment

Speaking to WKU Public Radio in his law office in Glasgow, Richardson said to understand Kentucky’s present political atmosphere, you need a bit of a history lesson. Richardson points out that while Kentucky never joined the Confederacy during the Civil War, it was still subjected to many of the federal government’s Reconstruction policies after the Union prevailed.

“Kentucky was occupied territory even though it hadn’t withdrawn from the Union. So the Republican Party was in the minority because of the anti-federal government feeling,” says Richardson.      

And in the 1860’s, being anti-federal government meant being anti-Republican, which was the party of Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction. Southern Democrats continued to support state’s rights over centralized power in Washington, and many Kentuckians became what’s known as “yellow-dog Democrats”, or someone who would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican.

Bobby Richardson says for many Kentucky Democrats, voting for Eisenhower proved you could support a Republican without going blind.

For decades—more than a century, really—parts of Kentucky were a no-man’s land for the GOP. Local and state elections were decided during the Democratic primaries, with little or no Republican challengers to face in the general election.

“It wasn’t respectable to be a Republican probably until, maybe, 50 years ago,” says Richardson.

Many Kentucky Democrats Liked Ike

That started to change when World War II ended, and a victorious U.S. General—and Republican—named Dwight Eisenhower ran for the White House. In winning the Presidential election of 1952, Eisenhower lost Kentucky by less than 1,000 votes to Democrat Adlai Stevenson. Eisenhower won the Bluegrass State four years later when he was re-elected to a second term.

Bobby Richardson says it was a seminal moment for many Kentucky Democrats who pulled the lever for Eisenhower. What was once unthinkable for many Kentuckians—voting for a Republican—wasn’t the life-ending experience some had assumed it would be.

“What I’m saying is, “well, I voted Republican and I didn’t go blind,” the former Kentucky House Speaker says. 

Despite Republican gains in parts of Kentucky over recent years, a look at the state’s registration numbers would give the impression that the commonwealth is still a strong place for Democrats. According to numbers released this month by the Secretary of State’s office, there are 500,000 more registered Democrats in Kentucky than Republicans.

Still, Democrat and former Bowling Green Mayor Patsy Sloan says those numbers are misleading.

“The mere fact that you have this overwhelming Democratic registration really doesn’t mean a darn thing when it comes to Presidential elections, or Senatorial elections,” she says.

Local and even state races are still largely about retail politics, according to Sloan. Winning a seat in Kentucky’s General Assembly takes a lot of hand-shaking, baby-kissing, local parade marching, and speaking at civic organizations like the Rotary Club. Sloan believes people largely vote for state House and Senate offices based on personality–not ideology like they often do during Congressional or Presidential races.

“These local elections are just not ideology-driven. And more and more at the national level, each of the two major parties has been driven to its most extreme element.”

Kentucky Republicans Rule Washington, Dems Strong in Frankfort

Sloan says while Republicans at the national level have in recent years been able to count on Kentucky to vote for John McCain and Mitt Romney for President; and Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, and Rand Paul for Senate, Democrats have still been able to muster enough quality local candidates to maintain control of the Kentucky House, while also running the Governor’s Mansion in all but four years since 1971.

But if you talk to enough people in the commonwealth about state politics, you’ll probably hear at some point that a lot of Kentuckians who register as Democrats do so out of a sense of tradition, or family history. Patsy Sloan says many of those voters are the kind who will go Democratic at the local or state level, but often choose Republicans at the top of the ballot.

“They’re registered Democrats largely because of family, tradition, or history, or because that’s just the way it’s always been. But they’re more selective when it actually comes to voting, especially for national level offices.”

When you look at how Kentucky has gone in recent Presidential elections, a pattern starts to emerge. Democrats can win the Bluegrass State—but the last three Democrats to do so have been southerners: Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Democrat and former Kentucky House Speaker Bobby Richardson of Glasgow says there’s a feeling by some southern Democrats that the national party has often picked candidates who are too far to the left to win states like Kentucky.

“I think that in the Democratic Party that the pendulum swung very far to the left when we had Dukakis and McGovern as candidates,” says the Barren County lawyer.

Patsy Sloan says Kentucky Democrats could stand to have their own version of a Mitch McConnell.

To be sure, not every Kentucky Democrat would describe themselves as a moderate who’s upset with the national party’s Presidential nominees. There’s a diversity of thought throughout the state’s urban areas, college towns, and rural farmlands—just as there are conservative Republicans who eke out an existence in liberal strongholds throughout the nation.

The Mitch McConnell Factor

And how about this for bipartisanship: Democrat and former Bowling Green Mayor Patsy Sloan offered praise during her interview with WKU Public Radio for none other than Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Why? Because, Sloan says, regardless of your political affiliation, you have to give credit to McConnell for what he has done to make the Republican Party a factor in parts of the state where it was once irrelevant.

When asked if she wishes the Kentucky Democratic Party had a major national figure with the stature of Sen. McConnell, Sloan laughs.

“Well, of course I do!” she says. “But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Sloan admits that when she talks shop with fellow Democrats in the region, she sometimes expresses frustration about the number of Democrats who vote for conservative Republicans in U.S. House, Senate, and Presidential elections.

But she says she doesn’t let it get her down.

Being a political junkie, Sloan says, entails observing and analyzing all of the political process—even the parts you don’t personally like.

CONTINUE READING…..

Grimes: 51,000 absentee ballots cast so far in Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

More than 51,000 Kentucky voters have cast absentee ballots ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Absentee ballot info: Kentucky | Indiana

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Tuesday that’s on par with the count two weeks ahead of the 2008 election.

In Kentucky, voters who will be out of town or otherwise unable to get to the polls on Election Day can vote early by absentee ballots.

Besides the presidential race, Kentucky has a competitive congressional race in central Kentucky. Voters also will choose a Supreme Court justice from eastern Kentucky and state legislators across the state.

In some parts of the state, local races also are on the ballot.

Grimes, the state’s chief elections officer, hasn’t yet projected how many of Kentucky’s 3 million eligible voters will turn out on Election Day.

Read more: http://www.wlky.com/news/politics/Grimes-51-000-absentee-ballots-cast-so-far-in-Ky/-/9365900/17112860/-/4j6w4oz/-/index.html#ixzz2AFyXIAR5

States Legalizing Marijuana Will Violate Federal Law, Trigger Constitutional Showdown: DEA, Drug Czars

The Huffington Post | By Matt Ferner Posted: 10/15/2012 3:13 pm EDT

 

On a Monday teleconference call, former Drug Enforcement Agency administrators and directors of the Office of National Drug Control Policy voiced a strong reminder to the U.S. Department of Justice that even if voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington pass ballot measures to legalize marijuana use for adults and tax its sale, the legalization of marijuana still violates federal law and the passage of these measures could trigger a "Constitutional showdown."

The goal of the call was clearly to put more pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to make a public statement in opposition to these measures. With less than 30 days before Election Day, the DOJ has yet to announce its enforcement intentions regarding the ballot measures that, if passed, could end marijuana prohibition in each state.

"Next month in Colorado, Oregon and Washington states, voters will vote on legalizing marijuana," Peter Bensinger, the moderator of the call and former administrator of the DEA during President Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations, began the call. "Federal law, the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court decisions say that this cannot be done because federal law preempts state law."

Bensinger added: "And there is a bigger danger that touches every one of us — legalizing marijuana threatens public health and safety. In states that have legalized medical marijuana, drug driving arrests, accidents, and drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed. Drug treatment admissions are up and the number of teens using this gateway drug is up dramatically."

Bensinger was joined by a host of speakers including Bill Bennet and John Walters, former directors of the While House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Chief Richard Beary of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); Dr. Robert L. DuPont, founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and who was also representing the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and several others.

In response to the drug warriors calling out Holder again to take a strong public stance against these marijuana legalization measures, Mason Tvert, co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind Colorado’s Amendment 64 said to The Huffington Post:

We believe anything claimed by participants on the call today needs to be taken with many grains of salt. These people have made a living off marijuana prohibition and the laws that keep this relatively benign substance illegal. The nation wastes billions of taxpayer dollars annually on the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and people like Bill Bennett and John Walters are among the biggest cheerleaders for wasting billions more. The call today should be taken as seriously as an event by former coal industry CEOs opposing legislation curtailing greenhouse gas emissions. They are stuck in a certain mindset and no level of evidence demonstrating the weakness of their position will change their views.

This is an election about Colorado law and whether the people of Colorado believe that we should continue wasting law enforcement resources to maintain the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Our nation was founded upon the idea that states would be free to determine their own policies on matters not delegated to the federal government. The Controlled Substance Act itself acknowledges that Congress never intended to have the federal government fully ‘occupy the field’ of marijuana policy. We hope the Obama administration respects these state-based policy debates. If Amendment 64 is adopted by the people of Colorado, there will be sufficient time before any new businesses are established for state and federal officials to discuss the implications.

Today’s call elaborated on a September letter that nine former DEA heads sent to Holder strongly urging him to oppose Amendment 64 in Colorado, Initiative 502 in Washington and Measure 80 in Oregon. "To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public and the global community a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives," the nine said in the letter to holder obtained by Reuters.

A month before the 2010 election in California, Holder vowed to "vigorously enforce" federal marijuana laws and warned that the government would not look the other way and allow a state marijuana market to emerge. California’s Proposition 19 was narrowly defeated in 2010 and the pressure is on Holder again to voice opposition to these 2012 measures.

When pressed by a reporter during a Q & A following the call if the group was at all surprised that Holder had not yet made a statement about the measures, former drug czar John Walters replied, "I think it’s shocking. All you have to do is say things that this administration has already said. It would help enormously and I think it would defeat these measures."

Both Colorado and Washington’s pot ballot measures are quite popular with voters, according to recent polling and have been backed by an increasingly diverse group across a range of ideological perspectives.

In Colorado, if marijuana is legalized it would be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol and tobacco. It would give state and local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults age 21 and older. According to the Associated Press, analysts project that that tax revenue could generate somewhere between $5 million and $22 million a year in the state. An economist whose study was funded by a pro-pot group projects as much as a $60 million boost by 2017.

CONTINUE READING……(VIDEO)

The 10 Best Politicians on Pot Reform

From Barney Frank to Ron Paul, these elected leaders are challenging the government’s pointless war on marijuana

Marijuana

By Kristen Gwynne

October 9, 2012 3:16 PM ET

This month marks the 75th anniversary of marijuana prohibition in America – and the evidence suggests that the government ban may finally be on its way out. Last year, for the first time ever in this country, a Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal, and several states have legalization bills on their ballots this fall.

Nine Signs That Pot Legalization Is Coming Soon

Despite this changing landscape, most national politicians have been slow to adapt their stances on weed. But there are a number of political power players fighting to reform the pot policies that lock up more than 800,000 Americans per year. This fall, two third-party presidential candidates – Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson – favor legalization. And while winning is a very long shot for either of them, there are a growing number of elected officials – both Republicans and Democrats – on the right side of this issue. Read on for 10 of the strongest reform advocates in office today:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts)
Frank, who plans to retire next year after three decades in Congress, has never been afraid to back marijuana reform. In response to the federal war on state medical marijuana programs, Frank recently introduced legislation to prohibit such interference. The States Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act would specify that no part of the Controlled Substances Act "shall prohibit or otherwise restrict" medical marijuana in states where it has been made legal or prescribed medically. It also calls for a review of marijuana’s Schedule I classification – which defines the plant as dangerous and not medically valuable – in favor of the less-restrictive Schedule III category. Unfortunately, since being referred to committee in May, the bill has seemingly stalled.

In the meantime, Frank has continued to speak out for both medical and non-medical marijuana users. "If there’s an activity that I could engage in without hurting anyone else, as an adult, but other people if they engage in it may abuse it, please don’t prevent me from doing it," Frank said last month. "Whether you want to do these things or not ought to be your own choice."

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)
Paul, another retiring congressman, is one of the most prominent voices for drug law reform. A sharp critic of the War on Drugs and its violations of civil liberties, Paul sees ending pot prohibition as part of his libertarian philosophy. Campaigning in the Republican presidential primary, he vowed to pardon all non-violent drug offenders if elected – a stance that made him very popular with young voters. Along with Barney Frank, Paul co-sponsored the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, which would have amended the Controlled Substances Act to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category, leaving legalization and regulation up to the states. The bill is viewed as unlikely to pass.

Rep. Sam Farr (D-California)
Farr has been a leading legislative voice for medical marijuana patients’ rights at trial. "The federal government has tilted the scales of justice towards conviction by denying medical marijuana defendants the right to present all of the evidence at trial," he recently said. In 2009 and again this summer, Farr introduced the Truth in Trials Act, which would grant medical marijuana patients the ability to present courtroom evidence on their prescription-authorized use of the drug. The bill was promptly referred to the Judiciary Committee, and will likely die before making it to a vote. Nevertheless, Farr has thrown his weight behind other medical marijuana legislation, including the Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr-McClintock Medical Marijuana Amendment to bar federal funding for federal raids and the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California)
A staunch Republican, Rohrabacher has called out President Obama for escalating the war on pot and has criticized federal pot prohibition as a drain on resources and an infringement on states rights. "I don’t believe that you protect people by throwing them in cages," Rohrabacher said last fall. "For us to be taking people for smoking a weed and putting them in prison or jail for that is a travesty. It’s against everything our founding fathers believed in and somehow we got away from that."

In May, Rohrabacher co-sponsored the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Hinchey-Farr-McClintock Medical Marijuana Amendment, which would have forbidden the Justice Department from using federal funding for raids on state-approved medical marijuana operations. (A week later, the House struck it down in a roll call vote.) Last year, he supported California’s unsuccessful legalization initiative, the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act; he has also co-sponsored the recent Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, the States Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act and the Truth in Trials Act.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California)
This August, Lee introduced the Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act to defend medical marijuana operators from losing their property – a tactic the federal government has used in both threats and reality. "The people of California have made it legal for patients to have safe access to medicinal marijuana, and as a result thousands of small business owners have invested millions of dollars in building their companies, creating jobs and paying their taxes," Lee said. "We should be protecting and implementing the will of voters, not undermining our democracy by prosecuting small business owners who pay taxes and comply with the laws of their states in providing medicine to patients in need." The bill has struggled to move since being referred to committee on August 14. Lee also co-sponsored the States Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 and the Truth in Trials Act.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado)
In 2010, when the feds raided a number of medical marijuana operations in Colorado, Polis spoke up in defense of his constituents. In a letter to Eric Holder, Polis urged the attorney general to enforce the Justice Department’s written guidelines, which discourage federal interference with legal medical marijuana operations at the state level. Polis also co-sponsored the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act and the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act – but it was his showdown this June with Drug Enforcement Agency head Michele Leonhart that really earned him his stripes. When Leonhart testified before a House judiciary subcommittee, Polis pressed her on whether drugs like crack and heroin are more or less dangerous than marijuana. Leonhart contended that "all illegal drugs are bad," refusing to acknowledge any distinction between pot and harder substances. "If you don’t know, you can look this up," Polis retorted. "You should know this as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency." Video of the exchange went viral, providing a clear example of the irrational beliefs behind pot prohibition.
Rep. Early Blumenauer (D-Oregon)
As a speaker at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws conference in 2010, Blumenauer told attendees they had reached their "decade of decision." Despite his past statements in favor of marijuana legalization, he is one of the weaker advocates on this list after failing to back Oregon’s legalization initiative, Measure 80, which will be on the ballot in November. However, Blumenauer has continued to speak out for drug reform, and he has co-sponsored many of the recent pro-pot bills, including the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, the States Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act and the Truth in Trials Act.
Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Connecticut)
Last year, Connecticut’s governor signed a marijuana decriminalization bill into law. Instead of facing a $1,000 fine and possible jail time, marijuana offenders now must pay $150 for their first offense and between $200 and $500 for subsequent violations. This spring, Malloy also signed a new law making Connecticut the country’s 17th state to legalize medical marijuana. (As his opponents often point out, Connecticut’s governor has a personal stake in marijuana policy reform: His son, now in his twenties, has had multiple legal run-ins allegedly involving marijuana.)
Gov. Pete Shumlin (D-Vermont)
When Vermont legalized medical marijuana in 2004, the legislation had one gaping loophole: It did not allow for dispensaries. To assist the patients who were now legally allowed to use medical marijuana but forced to grow their own or buy on the black market, Shumlin signed a bill last summer authorizing up to four medical marijuana dispensaries in Vermont. And late last year, Shumlin joined two other governors – Washington’s Christine Gregoire (a Democrat) and Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee (an Independent) – in petitioning the Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify marijuana, moving it out of the highly restrictive, non-medical Schedule I category to at least Schedule II, which would recognize marijuana’s medical benefits. (Shumlin has been harder on so-called synthetic marijuana, recently signing a ban on chemicals commonly found in the substances. "We’re not talking about a plant that is grown, like marijuana," he said. "This junk will kill you.")

Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan)
In 2008, while serving as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Conyers slammed the Drug Enforcement Agency and its leader, Michele Leonhart, for executing pot raids on California’s regulated medical marijuana program. Pulling few punches, he made clear his opinion that dispensary-busting was an inappropriate response by the DEA and a waste of resources. "Please explain what role, if any, emerging scientific data plays in your decision-making process to conduct enforcement raids on individuals authorized to use or provide medical cannabis under state law," he wrote in a pointed letter to Leonhart. At a press conference last summer, Conyers went further, arguing for the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use. He also co-sponsored Frank’s Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-10-best-politicians-on-pot-20121009#ixzz29Cuh4pRY

Dispatch From Danville: What’s a Debate Without Goat Milk and Bourbon?

 

 

By: Beth Summers

Complimentary goat-milking lessons are an unusual hotel amenity for a traveling political reporter. But in Danville, Kentucky, it’s part of the package — at least at The Farm, an eight-room inn nestled in central Kentucky horse country, about four miles north of the site of Thursday’s vice-presidential debate.

With a population of 16,200, Danville is the smallest city ever to host a VP debate. Downtown is six blocks long, and surrounded by rolling green hills and farmhouses like innkeeper Angie Martin’s. Earlier this year, Martin and her husband Roy turned their home, still a working farm, into a bed and breakfast. With its dairy goats, pigs, chickens and guinea fowl, the couple is more accustomed to hosting parents of college students or farming hobbyists than members of the press, but they don’t seem particularly fazed by the invasion of some 3,200 credentialed media.

Maybe it’s because they’ve seen it all before. Twelve years ago, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Joe Lieberman faced off on the same stage where Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan are set to debate Thursday night. Centre College, a private liberal arts school with a student body of just under 1,500, will again play VP debate host, the first time a place has been selected twice to do so. (Washington University holds the record for presidential debates, having hosted three.)

So why choose a tiny town, in the middle of a state known more for horse racing and bourbon distilleries than for its swing voters, as the site for an event as big as the vice presidential debate? And why do it twice?

"It sounds so self-congratulatory, but we’re good at this stuff," says Centre College President John Roush. He points to the debate venue, a 1,500-seat concert hall designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, as evidence: "The Vienna Philharmonic toured in Fall of 2010. They came to two places in America — Carnegie Hall in New York City, and here." Indeed, the Los Angeles Times referred to Centre that year as "a college that consistently punches above its weight."

Across the way from the performing arts building, the school’s 120,000-foot athletic center has been transformed into a makeshift press filing hub equipped with more than 500 work stations. As co-chair of the debate steering committee, Centre history professor Clarence Wyatt is overseeing all of the debate preparations. That ranges from transforming the gymnasium to ensuring that the debate hall’s air conditioning is powerful enough to offset the hot TV lights but calm enough to keep the candidates’ hair in place. Wyatt, who played the same role in the 2000 debate, says everything is bigger and more complex this time around. Twelve years ago, 28.5 million people tuned in to watch; Thursday’s TV audience is expected at upwards of 70 million.

"As a TV show, this is second only to the summer Olympics and the Superbowl in its complexity," Wyatt says.

And then there’s the security. Concrete blockades and metal fences line the outskirts of the college. Roads to and from downtown are closed off. The closer you get to campus, the thicker the presence of local and state police, as well as Secret Service officers. None of this was around in 2000, which was pre-9/11. It’s a "different world" in terms of security now, Wyatt notes.

Martin, whose family also runs an insurance business in downtown Danville, worries that the street closures could keep customers away.

"It puts a burden on the arena of businesses in the proximity of Centre," she says, but then quickly adds, "Is it outweighed by the prestige of having the debate here? Yes."

College officials say they feel more prepared this year. "We’ve had far fewer surprises this time around," Wyatt says. He recalls an incident from 2000 when he and his colleagues were caught off guard by a last-minute influx of campaign surrogates and corporate jets and no provisions made to transport them to the college. One of the managers at the aviation field took matters into her own hands and began ferrying the senior party leaders into town in her station wagon — including then-Senator Joe Biden, who was acting as a surrogate for the former vice presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman.

"[It was] one of those moments that captures how this small town in central Kentucky rises to the occasion to host an international event," Wyatt says.

Danville was recently ranked one of the 25 best places to retire in the country by Money Magazine, but it has not been immune from the recession. At the time of the Cheney-Lieberman debate, unemployment in Boyle County (Danville is the county seat) was just over 4 percent. Today it’s up to 10 percent. The town has seen losses in the manufacturing sector, and several plants have closed. But health care remains a big employer, with the largest hospital south of Lexington stationed just blocks from Centre’s campus. The college itself is also a big source of jobs.

Hosting the debate helped the local economy in 2000, Wyatt says, and he predicts it will again. "I can’t give you a specific number, but just logically, having every hotel room in the community and surrounding area being taken up — all the vendors from pipe and drape to telephones to catering — we had a very significant nice little spurt. And in longer terms, one of the things it helped do is raise the visibility of the community," he says.

Another thing that’s changed here since its last debate: the availability of alcohol. In 2000, Danville was a dry city — selling alcohol was prohibited. Anheuser-Busch was an official debate sponsor, but could only sell soft drinks at its four-post tent outside the hall. In 2010, the city voted to go "wet," and things are different this year, as evidenced by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association representatives poised to distribute samples of bourbon Wednesday night.

Pundits anticipate a spirited clash between Ryan and Biden Thursday night – just as they did in advance of the Cheney-Lieberman debate. But it didn’t happen; as TIME magazine put it at the time: "[T]he shocker was in the, well, civilized nature of it all." And this year, as in 2000, both the candidates and debate moderator Martha Raddatz will be seated rather than standing, a format then-moderator Bernard Shaw said forced civility: "It’s hard to be discourteous to your opponent when he’s sitting at the same table with you."

We’ll know soon enough whether history will repeat itself. And if the debate fails to impress, there’s always the goats.

CONTINUE READING…

Libertarian Party Nominates Vice-Presidential Candidate Jim Gray

May 22, 2012

 

The following information was released by the campaign of Jim Gray for vice president.

Fresh from winning the Vice Presidential nomination at the Libertarian Party annual convention last weekend in Las Vegas, Newport Beach Judge Jim Gray returns home to begin his campaign for office with Presidential nominee Gov. Gary Johnson.

The Judge Gray Homecoming will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. on the lawn of the historic Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA. For more information on the event, call 619.916-1249. A Question and Answer session will be held immediately following Gray’s address.

“I am proud. I am invigorated. I am excited. With Gov. Gary Johnson, I am determined to bring back prosperity and liberty to the United States of America.” Judge Gray said. “And, I am so grateful to all my friends, family and colleagues who have had a hand in this effort. And this was truly a team effort. It’s great to be home, but it probably won’t be for long,” he said smiling.

Judge Gray was declared the party’s Vice Presidential nominee after he won 59 percent of the vote, receiving 357 votes from the 600 delegates of the convention held at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

A successful jurist who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. and presided over the Superior Court of Orange County, Judge Gray has been active in the Libertarian Party for several decades.

He was the 2004 Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in California challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. He is also the chief proponent of a California ballot initiative called “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine” that, if passed, would decriminalize cannabis consumption and production.

As the Libertarian nominees, the Johnson/Gray ticket is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Accepting the nomination, Johnson said, “Millions of Americans want and deserve the opportunity to vote for a candidate in November who will get us out of the war in Afghanistan immediately, truly cut federal spending, end the failed war on drugs, repeal the Patriot Act, and support marriage equality. I am excited to offer that option: A proven fiscal conservative, a proven defender of civil liberties, and an advocate for social tolerance.”

Orange County Breeze