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GOVERNMENT

People often ask me, baffled, “Why do you go against the laws of men?” And I say to them, “Because your swords will never be as sharp as my pen.”

Gary ‘Z’ McGeeStaff Writer

Waking Times

“The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.”Baruch Spinoza

Are you fighting for your servitude as if for your salvation? Then you have been well-deceived. You have been sheeple-compromised. Your thoughts are not your own. Your actions are not your own. You are in all ways a conditioned puppet who is under the delusion that it is free, and the psychopaths of the world are your uncompromising puppet masters. The questions you need to be asking yourself are these: “Am I willing to do what it takes to become free? Am I ready for the uncomfortableness of undeceiving myself? Would I rather be slapped by the truth or kissed with a lie? Am I willing to sacrifice my comfortable lie for the uncomfortable truth? Am I strong enough to fall from the “grace” of my delusion onto the hard and unforgiving ground of truth? And most of all: do I have the courage to disobey?”

In order to answer these questions effectively, indeed in order to come up with better questions, we must be able to transform our would-be psychopathology into a courageous in-the-now empathology.

Cancer begins with a group of cells that fail to communicate with the conscious signal of the host. These cells become competitive instead of cooperative. When competition become primary and cooperation secondary, then we know we have failed as a species. Collectively, among every human, vanity leads to segregation and competition, competition leads to fear and greed, greed leads to deceit and immorality and deceit and immorality is the breeding ground for illness waging war on each other and our earth. Every act of hatred and self-destructiveness in our world begins with self-hate and self-destructiveness. And it all begins with a breakdown in communication.

We have lost the ability to communicate with each other as natural human beings. We have lost the ability to communicate with nature in a healthy way. These unconscious acts of unlearning are systemic and passed down from unhealthy generation to unhealthy generation. It’s time to break apart the parochial chain of our outdated value system. It’s time to unfuck ourselves out of this unhealthy and unsustainable debacle. Like R.D. Laing said, “We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.”

The simplest way is to be the change we wish to see in the world so that we can be a force of nature powerful enough to also change the world. But another way is to undeceive ourselves, to become compassionate and empathic to the plight of others, and to sprinkle bits of truth over the mass deception like seeds that will eventually grow into a force to be reckoned with.

As it stands, mankind is caught in the cycle of fear, apathy and hatred. A society based upon fear, apathy and hatred sets up a system which is fundamentally incapable of producing health and happiness and thereby represses human development. And here we are: living in a world where human development is being repressed, at the detriment of our individual health and the health of the ecosystem. However, our escape from this unhealthy pattern lies not only in rebellion, but also in the cultivation of a personal freedom and a relinquishing of all forms of anesthesia and self-deception.

Indeed, while authentic freedom is not easily attained, its deficiency is evident in the devastation to both the individual and the greater culture, as the myopic conformists seek to victimize each other and repeatedly inflict violence upon the world in order to maintain the illusion of comfort and power that is being protected by the banner of their deception. Like Arno Gruen said, “If people base their identity on identifying with authority, freedom causes anxiety. They must then conceal the victim in themselves by resorting to violence against others.”

Understand: the world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one in which you are free; whether that world be your family, your country, your religion, or your politics. Escape any world that doesn’t allow you to be free. A clear sign that you are not free is that you are being deceived. The question is: are you okay with being deceived? As Chris Hedges warns, “We live in imaginary, virtual worlds created by corporations that profit from our deception,” It is precisely these virtual worlds that we need to turn the tables on. Virtual worlds are tools. We need to go from being irresponsible tools succumbing to a deceptive system, to using our tools responsibly and empathically so as to transform the system into a healthier version of itself.

There is a war going on between manipulative liars and compassionate truth tellers, between psychopaths and empaths. Which side are you on? This also begs the question: are you lying to yourself, which happens to be one of the most difficult questions to answer honestly, but ask it you must, lest you fall too easily into the hands of the nearest con artist or snake-oil salesman. Beware the tyranny of habit. Be not inflexible. The more elastic and fluid you are, the more you’ll stay afloat when the crushing waters of vicissitude come crashing through, and the more you’ll be prepared to be a beacon of hope for others. Change is not easy, it never has been. But change is inevitable. We either wreck ourselves and the world trying to prevent it, or we adapt and overcome in order to evolve with it.

One of my duties as a periphery keeper in this world is to penetrate deception, turn over rocks, awaken people to concealed truths, and to create deep awareness. I say, instead of trying to possess Truth; let yourself be possessed by it. So it goes: I am not a victim of the world, I am the world. But that wasn’t always the case. I used to work for the NSA via the US Navy as a cryptoanalyst. Yes, I was naïve. I, like many innocent sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines, was duped into believing that I was honorably fighting and spying to protect the lives of the innocent people of the world. I was wrong. I was bamboozled. We were bamboozled. That was all just doublespeak. We were actually there to fight and spy on behalf of an immoral plutocratic corporate regime that is still in power today. We were there to be pawns in a giant game of chess over oil and power. We were conditioned cogs in an immoral clock of systematic propaganda and unethical orders. They used fear tactics to keep us paranoid. They used false titles and fake rank to play upon our passions. They used those same false titles to play upon our pride, by giving us empty ribbons, flashy medals of nothing, and rank that meant nothing more than that you were a good little obedient sheep to an immoral juggernaut of well-deceived men. Well screw that! War is not peace. Ignorance is not strength. Freedom is not slavery.

“If you would be a real seeker after truth,” wrote Rene Descartes, “it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” And so I did exactly that. I decided to undeceive myself, using a ruthless self-interrogation process and a humor of the most high to reveal the truth hidden behind the smoke and mirrors of mass deception. What I learned rocked my world, as it has many others. But my liberation was my salvation. The pain that came from knowledge was exceptionally more rewarding than the bliss that came from ignorance. My fall was profound, but when I hit the ground, I relearned how to fall in love. Like Sogyal Rinpoche said, “Each time the losses and deceptions of life teach us about impermanence, they bring us closer to the truth. When you fall from a great height, there is only one possible place to land: on the ground — the ground of truth. And if you have the understanding that comes from spiritual practice, then falling is in no way a disaster, but the discovery of an inner refuge.”

The only way that deception is moral is through the artistic process. Like Marco Tempest said, “Art is a deception that creates real emotions — a lie that creates a truth. And when you give yourself over to that deception, it becomes magic.” We need more of this magic, especially in a world more and more devoid of magic. It is magic precisely because it transforms deception into truth, and so has the power to transform psychopaths into empaths, by planting seeds like tiny, packaged beacons of hope.

Whether it is Charlie Hebdo comic strips or articles like this one, art can literally change the world. Our audacious art is like swordplay in the brain, proving that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. With it we can cut the yoke of deception that has been passed down from an unethical power structure made up of psychopathic men hell-bent on maintaining their power to the extent that it is destroying the world.

Like Arno Gruen said, “No matter how much lip service those committed to power (psychopaths) may pay to the principle of equality (empaths), they can never approach their fellow human beings on an equal footing; their relationships with others are defined solely in terms of power and weakness. Therefore, they must accumulate as much power as possible, with the aim of becoming invulnerable and proving this invulnerability.” It is the duty of artistic empaths the world over to meet this false invulnerability with the truer power of absolute vulnerability, and art will be our vehicle. Courage is not being invulnerable, like a machine. Courage is not an unwavering hardness, like a tank. It is a soft plasticity, like water. I beseech you, you who would dare greatly, look not for what’s solid within you, look instead for what is soft and malleable. The courage will come. Like Bruce Lee pouring water in and out of a cup, saying “Be water, my friend,” your softness will take shape and assume the form of empathy which has the power to crush all forms of psychopathology, and its shape will be an adventure of the most high.

People often ask me, baffled, “Why do you go against the laws of men?” And I say to them, “Because your swords will never be as sharp as my pen.”

See Article here: http://www.zengardner.com/psychopath-vs-empath-the-war-between-truth-and-deception/

The Liberty Beacon recommends that you read more great/pertinent articles at: http://www.zengardner.com/

TPP

January 23, 2015 | By Maira Sutton

The next round of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations begins this Monday, January 26, and runs through the following week at the Sheraton New York Time Square Hotel in downtown Manhattan. As with many previous TPP meetings, the public will be shut out of talks as negotiators convene behind closed doors to decide binding rules that could impact how our lawmakers set digital policy in the decades to come. Big content industry interests have been given privileged access to negotiating texts and have driven the US Trade Representative’s mandate when it comes to copyright—which is why the TPP carries extreme copyright measures that ignore users’ rights.

Some claim that this could be the final official round of TPP negotiations. The White House and Congressional lawmakers are now hard at work to pass a law to fast track this agreement and other secretive deals through Congress to ratification. Fast Track, also known as trade promotion authority (TPA) would transfer Congress’ power over trade policy to the President, by preventing them from debating or modifying the terms of trade deals after international negotiations are finalized. The countries negotiating TPP with the US are willing to give in and agree to bad copyright rules as long as they get the other gains they were promised—things like market access and lowered tariffs so they can sell their products to US consumers. But those other countries will not budge without a guarantee that the overwhelming public opposition to the agreement won’t prevent its adoption in the United States. Fast Track offers that guarantee; that’s one reason the White House is now desperate to pass it.

Several public interest groups are organizing a protest outside the luxury Sheraton Hotel this Monday, January 26 at noon. Many of those demonstrating will be there to oppose other provisions in the TPP, but we encourage people to be there to represent all the users around the world who will be impacted by this massive agreement’s draconian policies.

If you are not in the New York area, take action now by signing this petition to Sen. Ron Wyden, calling on him to stand up for digital rights and oppose any new Fast Track bill. You can also give him your message directly by phoning his office at (202) 224-5244(202) 224-5244.

If you have already signed the petition, contact your elected representatives and let them know that you want them to oppose Fast Track for TPP and any other secret deals that put users’ rights at risk.

Original Article Here

TLB recommends you visit Electronic Frontier Foundation for more great/pertinent articles.

outrageous conspiracy theories

“I once predicted that any form of political protest would be demonized and used as the basis for the labeling of mental illness based upon anyone who disagrees with the government.”

24Jan, 2015 by: 

The Obama administration has a new partner in crime and it is the American Psychiatric Association (APA).  The APA created the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (5th Edition) which was recently adopted. DSM 5 is highly controversial and has sparked outrage from the mental health practitioners. As many of these practitioners point out, the new DSM-V makes a pathology out of simple and normal behaviors such as grieving for the loss of a loved one.

This constitutes a new subjective approach in diagnosing of mental illness in that it promises to end free speech and any form of political dissent. The federal government has already declared anyone who opposes its unconstitutional policies as having “political paranoia,”  which is now diagnosed as a type of mental illness.

Particularly disturbing is that the new manual targets internet users and conspiracy theorists. If someone is judged, by some vague set of criteria, to spend too much time on the internet, they could be judged to be mentally ill and ineligible to own a gun. How are you receiving this information? The chances are that you are, at least according to Obama and Biden, giving in to your internet addiction and reading this article. Under the new Obama guidelines this would be grounds for gun confiscation. The alternative media is predicated on internet readership and listenership. These groups would be among the first groups to oppose a martial law crackdown, and now they are the first to be targeted.

Subsequently, this is just another backdoor method to disarm citizens who would oppose the abject tyranny being imposed upon America. And these facts sum up what is truly behind the Obama administration’s latest attack upon gun ownership because they want to prey upon a defenseless nation by disarming as many of us as possible before the purges can begin in earnest.

Under Obama’s new proposed gun regulations, anyone who has a diagnosable, or is potentially diagnosable (i.e. pre-crime) for being mentally ill, can have their gun confiscated. Vice President Biden even feels that they can violate HIPPA privacy regulations in requiring the states to report who has been treated for a mental illness. Therefore, in the name of confiscating your gun, this administration thinks it is acceptable to violate federal privacy laws.

What is interesting to me is that the Obama administration is not even trying to distinguish between mental illnesses in terms of who should, or should not own a gun. In the eyes of the Obama administration, all mental illnesses are created equal. A person with a phobia is just as dangerous as a sociopath. One in six Americans have a “diagnosable anxiety disorder”. This is completely understandable given the economic and political times that we live in. However, under the new proposed guidelines, all of these people would be ineligible to have a gun in their possession even though there is not a shred of research which indicates this population would be inclined towards gun violence any more than any other population.

I once predicted that any form of political protest would be demonized and used as the basis for the labeling of mental illness based upon anyone who disagrees with the government.

Political Schizophrenia

This is the new  Soviet style political schizophrenia. We will see confinements among the alternative media and the veterans for things like ADHD, grieving, normal anxiety, bad eating habits, etc. All of these behaviors and more have been categorized as pathologies under the Obama administration and a supportive American Psychiatric Association.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Is the Newest Weapon Against Political Dissent

When I went through my clinical training, the Bible of mental illness, The Statistical and Diagnostic Manual (DSM-4r) defined Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) as a highly controversial mental illness used to describe children and teens as mentally ill if they exhibited disobedience and defiance. When I was first nationally credentialed, most practitioners did not take this diagnosis seriously and we mistakenly believed that it would fade away. We uniformly believed this to be true because defiance and oppositional behaviors are hallmark traits of healthy rebellion exhibited by children and teens as they seek independence. Rather than ODD fading away, the diagnosis has become the tool of the ruling elite.

The new DSM (5) has expanded the definition of ODD to include adults who exemplify “paranoid ideation” about the government and frequently express these delusional ideations on the internet.

Conclusion

In its analysis of the political abuse of psychiatry in both the Soviet Union and China, The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Lawstated that “Psychiatric incarceration of mentally healthy people is uniformly understood to be a particularly pernicious form of repression, because it uses the powerful modalities of medicine as tools of punishment, and it compounds a deep affront to human rights with deception and fraud…” In psychiatric terms, we have become the old Soviet Union where we can be incarcerated and stripped of our rights for having the illness of “political schizophrenia”.

What do you want to bet that Christians are next?

To read more, click here.

See article here:
http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2015/01/24/new-psychiatric-diagnosis-targets-internet-conspiracy-theorists/

The Liberty Beacon recommends that you read more great/pertinent articles at: http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/

agenda21mod

by | Jan 22, 2015

BOWLING GREEN, OH – The average planning and zoning meeting consists of the planning and zoning commissioners, a room, and very little else. They are often dry meetings dealing with rules and regulations for business and home licensing, property lines, and nuisance ordinances.

So when the Borough of Kodiak, AK (Pop. 13,600) chose to attempt to entirely revamp the zoning code and place greater restrictions on property owners, including a $1,000 fine per violation, they expected there to be little opposition, and little knowledge of the change.

Instead, the Solutions Institute assisted local resident Jamie Fagan, and he along with a team of people rallied over 300 residents to attend the meeting.

Even though many residents could not attend due to flooded roads and driving rain, there were over 69 speeches, nearly all in opposition to the new code, totaling over 4 hours of testimony against it (The first hour was deleted, but we have a copy here).

The zoning code in question, drafted by Bob Pederson, enforces many of the suggestions of the United Nations’ 1992 “Agenda 21” treaty, including making it easier for local officials to seize private property.

Jamie was excited to have some assistance defending his home:

“I can’t thank the Solutions Institute enough. From helping us to choose an appropriate name for our organization to setting up Facebook groups, editing videos, to helping in ways that one might describe as “unorthodox” but are breathtakingly effective, it really is a joy to work with these guys and there is no doubt in my mind that our group would not have been nearly as effective without their help.”

Though the code has not been defeated yet, Jamie has no doubt that with the amount of people who came out to try and stop it, it is only a matter of time before the new code is scrapped.

While SI does not take a position on the issue, we were pleased to help get more citizens involved in their local governance, and happy to help ensure that the new zoning regulations faced the public debate and transparency that are the hallmarks of a free society.

The Solutions Institute is a collection of activists and professionals from across the political spectrum, and we are always looking for new projects. Submit yours here: http://solutions-institute.org/get-help/

Don’t miss the first-ever ActCon, an Online Activist Training Conference on February 7th, 2015. Click here to find out more. 

Read article here: http://solutions-institute.org/blog/victory-300-people-stand-agenda-21-alaska/

TLB recommends you visit Solutions Institute for more great/pertinent articles.

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Freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a libertarian Republican known for criticizing drug laws, offered one of his harshest critiques yet on Wednesday, September 18, to a packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

By: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

If I told you that one out of three African-American males is forbidden by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years agoYet today, a third of African-American males are still prevented from voting because of the war on drugs.

The War on Drugs has disproportionately affected young black males. The ACLU reports that blacks are 4-5 times more likely to be convicted for drug possession although surveys indicate that blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates. The majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, but three-fourths of all people in prison for drug offenses are African American or Latino.

Why are the arrest rates so lopsided? Because it is easier to go into urban areas and make arrests than suburban areas.

Because we literally subsidize the arrest and incarceration of people. Federal grant money is based on convictions. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that it’s easier to round up, arrest and convict poor kids than it is to convict rich kids. If law enforcement is expected, or pressured, to meet some quota due to the federal dollars their department might receive, they are more likely to go looking in urban areas than the suburbs.

The San Jose Mercury News reviewed 700,000 criminal cases that were matched by crime and criminal history of the defendant. The analysis revealed that similarly situated whites were far more successful than African Americans and Latinos in the plea bargaining process; in fact, “at virtually every stage of pretrial negotiation, whites are more successful than non-whites.”

I know a guy about my age in Kentucky who grew marijuana plants in his apartment closet in college. Thirty years later, he still can’t vote, can’t own a gun, and when he looks for work, he must check the box, the box that basically says, ‘I’m a convicted felon, and I guess I’ll always be one.’

He hasn’t been arrested or convicted for 30 years—but still can’t vote or have his 2nd Amendment rights. Getting a job is very difficult for him.

Today, I’m here to ask you to create a comprehensive sentencing safety valve for all federal mandatory minimums, which have been a major culprit in our unbalanced and often unjust drug laws.

Mandatory sentencing is the automatic imposition of a minimum number of years in prison for specific crimes — usually related to drugs. By design, mandatory sentencing laws take discretion away from prosecutors and judges so as to impose harsh sentences, regardless of circumstances.

Since mandatory sentencing began, America’s prison population has quadrupled, to 2.4 million. America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.

Chairman Leahy and I introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. We have been joined by Senators Levin, King, and Gillibrand.

The legislation is short and simple. It amends current law to provide “authority to impose a sentence below a statutory mandatory minimum.” In other words, we are not repealing mandatory minimums on the books–we are merely allowing a judge to sentence below a mandatory minimum if certain requirements are met.

There is an existing safety valve in current law, yet it is very limited. It has a strict 5 part test and only about 23% of all drug offenders qualified for the safety valve.

The injustice of mandatory minimum sentences is impossible to ignore when you hear the stories of the victims:

John Horner was a 46-year-old father of three when he sold some of his prescription painkillers to a friend. He had been prescribed painkillers for years after losing his eye in an accident, and agreed to sell his friend four unused bottles.

After the pills exchanged hands, Horner discovered that his friend was in fact a police informant, and he was charged with dealing drugs. Horner pleaded guilty, and was later sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 25 years in jail.

The informant, who turned out to have a long history of drug offenses, was more fortunate—he received a reduced sentence of just 18 months after informing on Horner, and is now free.

Edward Clay was an 18 year old and first time offender when he was caught with less than 2 ounces of cocaine. He received 10 years in jail from a mandatory minimum sentence.

Weldon Angelos was a 24 year old who was sentenced to life in prison for 3 marijuana sales.

Federal Judge Timothy Lewis recalls a case where he had to send a 19-year-old to prison for 10 years for conspiracy. What was the “conspiracy?” This young man had been in a car where drugs were found. I don’t know where many of you in this chamber went to high school, but I’m pretty sure one of us might have been in a car in our youth where someone might’ve had drugs.

As this young man was sentenced to a decade behind bars, he turned and screamed for his mother as he was escorted away. Before the arrest, this young man was going to be the first in his family to go to college.

Each case should be judged on its own merits. Mandatory minimums prevent this from happening. Mandatory minimum sentencing has done little to address the very real problem of drug abuse while also doing great damage by destroying so many lives.

See article here: http://genius.com/Senator-rand-paul-on-war-on-drugs-race-annotated

The Liberty Beacon recommends that you read more great/pertinent articles at: http://genius.com/

marijuana-money-cash

Attorney General Eric Holder responds to 2104 legislature by Senator Rand Paul (KY), issues new policy prohibiting civil asset forfeiture.

Posted by  at 1:22 PM on January 16, 2015

Asset forfeiture has been a major issue in the marijuana world. I have had many friends have run ins with law enforcement, just to see all of their money and some of their assets taken even though charges were never filed. Marijuana supporters have pushed for asset forfeiture reform for a long time, and I’m happy to say that today there was some significant movement at the federal level. Of course, state laws still allow for asset forfeiture, but this move is still significant and will no doubt have an impact on unfair marijuana enforcement. Below are press releases about today’s change in federal policy, courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance (linked) and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (sent to me via e-mail):

Today, Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order establishing a new policy prohibiting federal agencies from accepting civil asset forfeiture assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies unless the owner is convicted of a crime. The U.S. Treasury Department, which has its own forfeiture program, is issuing a similar policy.  The Department of Justice becomes involved after a state or local law enforcement agency seizes property pursuant to state law and requests that a federal agency take the seized asset and forfeit it under federal law.

For years, advocates have criticized the Department of Justice practice of accepting and processing seized assets such as cash, cars and other property from state and local law enforcement agencies through its Equitable Sharing Program, which retains 20 percent of the proceeds from the seizure received from a state or local law enforcement agency and returns 80 percent of the proceeds to the state or local law enforcement agency that initiated the seizure. The practice has enabled some state and local law enforcement to bypass state laws that prohibit police departments from keeping the proceeds from civil asset forfeiture or impose a stricter legal standard for seizing property.  The Washington Post has recently documented widespread abuse of this practice, usually as part of carrying out the war on drugs.

Bipartisan support for civil asset forfeiture reform is growing in Congress. Last week, key congressional leaders including Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Lee (R-UT), signed a letter calling on Holder to end the Equitable Sharing program that was the subject of the policy change today.  Sen. Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Equitable Sharing Program, has named civil asset forfeiture as one of his top legislative priorities for this year. In 2014, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced legislation to reform asset forfeiture and is expected to soon reintroduce this legislation with bipartisan support. Advocates applaud Attorney General Holder’s decision to prohibit state and local law enforcement from utilizing the Equitable Sharing program for most civil asset forfeiture seizures but urge Congress to pass legislation that makes this reform permanent and fixes federal forfeiture more broadly.

“First, sentencing reform, then marijuana reform, and now asset forfeiture reform,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Eric Holder will go down in history for his pivotal role in addressing the excesses and abuses of law enforcement in America.”

Attorney General Eric Holder’s legacy will be his work on criminal justice reform. His accomplishments include:

  • Calling on policymakers at all levels to find ways to reduce the number of people behind bars.
  • Supporting efforts in Congress and the U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce punitive sentencing.
  • Supporting policies that made the sentences of thousands of prisoners shorter and fairer.
  • Changing how the Justice Department charges people to reduce the application of draconian mandatory minimum sentencing.
  • Establishing guidance allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana with less federal interference.
  • Establishing guidance to make it easier for banks to deal with state-legalized marijuana businesses.
  • Promoting efforts to re-integrate formerly incarcerated individuals into society and eliminate barriers to successful re-entry.
  • Working to end the “school-to-prison pipeline”, including working with the Departments of Education to scale back “zero tolerance” school discipline policies.
  • Advocating for the restoration of voting rights for the formerly incarcerated.
  • Urging federal law enforcement agencies to identify, train and equip personnel who may interact with a victim of a heroin overdose with the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

***

Today Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new policy, effective immediately, that will greatly restrict the ability of state and local police forces to use federal law to seize goods without charging an individual with a crime. Civil asset forfeiture is a process by which authorities seize property alleged to have been involved in a crime, charge the property directly, since goods do not have the same constitutional protections as their owners, and then keep most of the proceeds for departmental use.

For years, this practice has been a major incentive for police to make false charges and seize assets without having to prove “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” and instead only meet the lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard of civil cases. Today’s announcement means police departments will still be permitted to make seizures under state and local laws, but they will no longer be able to use the DOJ Equitable Sharing Program to use federal law to do so.

“Civil asset forfeiture laws turn many fundamental concepts of democracy upside down, creating an assumption of ‘guilty until proven innocent,’” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Before today, anyone could have their money or assets taken by police without ever being charged with a crime and with little chance of ever getting it back. Today is a major victory for anyone who cares about due process and the rule of law.”

Drug charges are among the most commonly used to justify such seizures. They are particularly appealing because a court may permit the seizure of cash related to drug sales as well as any property associated with the alleged crime. This may include personal property such as boats, cars, airplanes or land owned by the alleged wrongdoer. The department is then free to use these most of these assets as they see fit.

In most cases, property owners are unable to retrieve their property because of onerous appeals procedures and because the burden of proof shifted to owners to prove their innocence rather than the burden being on the state to prove their guilt.Because the amount seized is often less than the cost of contesting the case in court, 5 out of 6 people never challenge the case.

A September 2014 Washington Post report found that since 9/11, nearly 62,000 cash seizures totaling more than $2.5 billion were conducted without search warrants.

The announcement comes one week after Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations; Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.); and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent Holder a letter urging him to rein in asset forfeiture practices.

There are a few exceptions to the new policy, including “illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography, a small fraction of the total. This would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the program.”

LEAP is a nonprofit of criminal justice professionals who know the war on drugs has created a public safety nightmare of increased gang violence, police militarization and the fueling of dangerous underground markets.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any cconcerns.

See article here: http://www.theweedblog.com/new-federal-asset-forfeiture-changes-will-impact-marijuana-enforcement/

The Liberty Beacon recommends that you read more great/pertinent articles at: http://www.theweedblog.com/

 

 

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C4L Chairman Ron Paul recorded his own State of the Union response to President Obama’s speech last night. Watch the video below!

POSTED BY Megan Stiles January 21, 2015

See Article here: http://www.campaignforliberty.org/ron-pauls-state-liberty-2015
The Liberty Beacon recommends that read more great/pertinent articles at: http://www.campaignforliberty.org/

nsa_eye11

Thu, 1/22/2015 – by OffNow

Just two weeks into this year’s legislative season, and with many legislatures not even in session yet, lawmakers in four states have already introduced bills to ban material support or resources to any federal agency engaged in warrantless spying.

These bills not only support efforts to turn off the NSA’s water in Utah, but would also have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

Legislators in South Carolina, Missouri, Alaska and Indiana have all filed versions of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, and representatives in eight other states have committed to introduce similar bills this year. Sources close to OffNow suggest even more bills will get introduced before the legislative season ends in the spring.

“To have four bills already filed, and commitments from eight more legislators – on top of having a bill in Utah set to move forward that would set the stage to turn of the water at the Bluffdale data center – this is really beyond our expectations this early in the session,” OffNow executive director Mike Maharrey said. “I think Americans are sick of being spied on, and they are sick of empty reform talk by D.C. politicians. I think this movement at the state level is indicative of the American people saying, ‘Fine! If you can’t get things fixed in Washington, we’ll fix it through our states.’”

Following model language drafted by OffNow, the Fourth Amendment Protection Act legislation supports actions in Utah and would have a practical effect in any state that passes it.

The original definition of “material support or resources” included providing tangible support such as money, goods, and materials and also less concrete support, such as “personnel” and “training.” Section 805 of the Patriot Act expanded the definition to include “expert advice or assistance.”

Practically-speaking, the legislation would almost certainly stop the NSA from ever setting up a new facility in a state with this law.

But the legislation isn’t just meant to keep the NSA out. It could have practical ramifications in the here and now.

The bill includes a prohibition on participation in the illegal collection and use of electronic data and metadata by the state. That would stop the practical effect of what former NSA Chief Technical Director William Binney called the country’s “greatest threat since the Civil War.”

Reuters revealed the extent of NSA data sharing with state and local law enforcement in an August 2013 article. According to documents obtained by the news agency, the NSA passes information to police through a formerly secret DEA unit known as Special Operations Divisions, and the cases “rarely involve national security issues.” Almost all of the information involves regular criminal investigations, not terror-related investigations.

In other words, not only does the NSA collect and store this data, using it to build profiles, but the agency encourages state and local law enforcement to violate the Fourth Amendment by making use of this information in their day-to-day investigations. This is “the most threatening situation to our constitutional republic since the Civil War,” Binney said.

The bill would ban the state from obtaining or making use of electronic data or metadata obtained by the NSA without a warrant, and make such information inadmissible in state court proceedings. And altogether, the bills would also set the stage to end partnerships between the NSA and state universities.

The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. The Supreme Court consistently held that the federal government cannot force states to assist or provide assets for the implementation or enforcement of federal acts or programs.

Maharrey said he was thrilled with the early momentum and extremely excited about the future of the movement.

“Forty years ago, U.S. Sen. Frank Church warned us about the NSA, saying that the surveillance state had the potential for imposing ‘total tyranny.’ This was before cell phones, before the proliferation of email and before widespread use of the Internet. If the NSA was dangerous in 1975, imagine what it is today,” Maharrey said.

“In 40 years, Congress has done nothing to rein in the NSA. In fact, it has just made it stronger. We can’t count on D.C. to fix a problem it created. That’s why this action at the state level is so important and exciting.”

Read Original Article Here

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NDAA

RICHMOND, Va.- (Jan. 19, 2015)  A bill introduced in the Virginia assembly would take the next step in stopping illegal federal kidnapping under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

Virginia stood alone and passed the first bill in the country addressing detention provisions written into the NDAA  in 2012. That law forbids state agencies, in some situations, from cooperating with any federal attempts to exercise the indefinite detention provisions written into sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

HB2144, sponsored by Del. Benjamin L. Cline (R – House District 24), takes things two steps beyond simply refusing to cooperate with the federal agents in the event of indefinite detention in Virginia. This bill turns the tables and systematically creates the type of leverage and attention D.C. would not want public if it refuses to cooperate with the state of Virginia.

This legislation would require two things from the feds if it detains a U.S. citizen in the state of Virginia.

One:

“the U.S.Secretary of Defense shall provide notification within 24 hours of the detention to both the Secretary of Public Safety and the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality in which the citizen is detained…

Two:

the U.S. Secretary of Defense or his designee shall seek authorization from the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality in which the citizen is detained prior to removal of the citizen from the locality”

A series of events is triggered upon detainment of any person in the state of Virginia by the DoD. The state of Virginia will gather and publish Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). These are essentially partnerships with state funds attached to them. These agreements are not necessarily legally binding, but usually offer some privacy between state, private enterprises (contractors), and federal partnerships. Much of this kind of information usually remains hidden from the general public.

“The Secretary of Finance shall obtain from each cabinet secretary and submit to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees, to be published in some manner on an annual basis, a list and description of all memoranda of understanding (MOUs) entered into between the Commonwealth and agencies of the federal government.”

This provision in and of itself provides a great service to the people of Virginia, allowing them to see exactly what types of agreements exist between the state and various federal agencies.

The legislation then adds a final provision that would go into effect if the federal government detains somebody under Section 1021 and 1022 of NDAA 2012 and fails to provide the requirements in sections one and two.

“…funds appropriated for implementation or continuation of such MOUs shall be contingent upon authorization by an act of the General Assembly in a subsequent year. The Governor may also order termination of any MOU at any time for noncompliance with this section.

“This is a brilliant approach,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “First, it shines some sunlight on what’s going on between the state and federal government. That provision alone is a win for Virginians. Then it creates significant consequences for the feds if they kidnap somebody on Virginia soil. It would allow the state to deny important resources to the federal government if its agents snatch up somebody in the night and hold them without due process. I love seeing this kind of boldness and creativity from state legislators.”

Virginia is one of DC’s (specifically the DoD’s) prime real estate providers. It serves as home to many government, private security, and intelligence contractors, particularly in the Northern Virginia area. HB2144 demands the feds comply or creates a climate where the state can end those contracts of cooperation that the DoD relies on through either the legislature or the governor.

ACTION ITEMS

In Virginia, support this bill by following all the steps at THIS LINK

All other states, take action to stop indefinite detention at this link

Original Article Here

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SOTU Compilation

Chris Carrington, January 21,2015

Like an aging rock star on a comeback tour, Obama threw in a few new tunes and revisited a lot of old ones in his State Of The Union address. With odd lines from old speeches thrown into the mix, and a good deal of personal back-patting in the form of “I did this” and “I did that”, his speech was more aspirational than practical. Given that both houses of Congress are controlled by the Republicans, most of what he proposed is unlikely to become legislative reality.

So why bother?

Point scoring and one-upmanship is what politicians do for a living. Political gamesmanship where the rich elite makes decisions that affect the lives of millions. We are merely pawns in their game.

In an ideal world, the Republicans would pass the Presidents proposals without question, but we don’t live in an ideal world. They will reject and vote down his plans, including the proposal that would see higher taxes for the top 1% richest Americans. This allows the Democrats to lay claim that they are the political party that is on the side of the 99%. A trap that will snag the Republicans whichever way they go.

In reality, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans give a rats ass about the 99%. Politics is about the old boys network. It’s about having enough money and knowing enough influential people to make it to the White House. Once ensconced, the plan is simple, increase the stranglehold the rich have over the populace and make the rich even richer and more powerful in the process.

Power is the ultimate goal of politicians across the globe and the United States is no exception. Politicians can call themselves whatever they like, GOP, Democrats, Conservative, Liberal, Communist or Ba’ath but the facts are always the same, the ruling party uses its position to generate even more wealth and power for themselves and their elitist cohorts.

The next President of the United States, regardless of their political affiliation, will be no different.

You can watch the speech in full here.

Original Article Here

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