Medical Marijuana Business Attracts Hedge Funds, Venture Capitalists

Marijuana has been a cash crop for many years in this country. The only problem is that most of that crop had been grown illegally. Now, that medical marijuana is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia, legalized marijuana has quickly become so popular it is attracting attention from hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, not to mention a whole new batch of entrepreneurs.

Doctors still can’t prescribe marijuana because it is categorized as a schedule one drug like LSD. But they can recommend it and that’s all anyone needs to get a medical marijuana license that allows them to buy marijuana legally in those 15 states, with three more states about join them.

Each license sells for around $130 and some clinics selling the licenses have brought in more than a million dollars in just their first year. The once illegal joint is selling like hot cakes throughout middle America to consumers who no longer have to worry about getting arrested for possession, at least by local or state authorities.

The federal government still outlaws marijuana possession but it’s unlikely someone with a medical marijuana license will be busted by an FBI or DEA agent if caught smoking in his or her own home. In fact, just last year U.S. enforcers promised to leave medical marijuana operations alone if they complied with state law.

That prompted a significant increase in interest among entrepreneurs. Today, there are an estimated 2,400 medical marijuana dispensaries from California to Maine. In Colorado, they outnumber Starbucks two to one.

 

Continue reading

Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

Continue reading

Religion as a Tool of Repression

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

Continue reading

In memory of Gary Grossich

InlandPolitics: San Bernardino County retaliates against blogger Sharon Gilbert

San Bernardino County executives have come down hard on one of their own employees who also operates a local political blog.

A blog popular with readers, but not county leaders.

Sharon Gilbert, an almost thirty-year county employee, has taken on county government with great success through her website www.iePolitics.com. A widely-read blog in Southern California’s Inland Empire, which consists primarily of San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

Ms. Gilbert has a network of sources that aid her in routing out issues with local governments and exposing problems. A resource that has contributed to the blogs success.

However, Gilbert has paid a steep price for her crusading.

More than a year ago, at the direction of ousted county administrative officer Mark Uffer, county human resources officers overrode a physicians off-work order and pulled the plug on Gilbert’s disability benefits coverage.

An off-work order, which had the concurrence of a county-approved physician.

Continue reading

Banned marijuana dispensary reopens in Wildomar

A medical marijuana collective engaged in a legal battle against Wildomar re-opened its storefront location Monday in defiance of a citywide ban on dispensaries.

The move by the Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group comes a week after the collective filed a legal petition seeking to block the city from enforcing its ban.

General Manager William Sump said the group believes Wildomar’s ban violates state law, which allows medical marijuana patients access to medication.

“I will only operate until a judge tells us not to,” Sump said.

Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo said the city would likely seek a court order forcing the dispensary to shut down.

“We’re going to enforce the city’s ordinance,” Oviedo said. “There is no other option. We can’t ignore our own laws.”

Continue reading

Anti-US governor wins Okinawa poll

The Japanese on the southern Island of Okinawa have re-elected incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who wants an end to the American military presence.

Nakaima, who wants the US base off Okinawa altogether, beat his opponent who agreed to relocate the base to a less crowded area on the island.

In May, Tokyo and Washington agreed to implement a 2006 plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area in Okinawa.

The move infuriated local residents, who view the base as a source of noise, pollution and serious crime –including rape.
Continue reading

Cuban Rum Steps Up in World Markets

Havana, Nov 26 (ACN-RHC) The worldwide prestige of Cuban rum is reaffirmed by the growing demand of Ron Legendario, whose sales show an annual 10 percent increase.

The trademark’s deputy director of marketing, Carlos Sanchez, stated that Ron Legendario is currently available in more than 15 European countries.

Ron Legendario is produced in six factories across the country, three of them located in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara and one in Havana, Sanchez said. Legendario is distributed in Europe by the Valencian Legendario SL company, which is currently seeking entry into other markets.

The trademark’s leading product is the Legendario Elixir de Cuba 7-year-aged rum, which is the richest, smoothest, sweetest and most delicate rum produced in the island.

Other Legendario spirits commercialized by the Spanish company are
Dorado, Añejo, Añejo Blanco, Carta Blanca Superior and Gran Reserva 15 Years.

 

US contacts allies about WikiLeaks move

The United States has briefed its key allies, including Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia ahead of the mass release of classified documents by WikiLeaks.

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks plans to release around three million leaked documents, including cables sent to Washington from American embassies throughout the world.

The website had previously posted online secret details of US military operations in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan.

United States Department of State Spokesman Philip Crowley says the United States is “gearing up for the worst-case scenario.”

Continue reading

Marine Corps Major accused of taking reconstruction funds

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – A Marine Corps fighter pilot accused of stealing $440,000 in Iraq reconstruction funds turned himself in on Monday, federal officials said.

Maj. Mark R. Fuller, 42, of Yuma, Ariz., is facing 22 counts under an indictment issued by a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. An arrest warrant was issued for Fuller, who appeared before a federal judge Monday and “was released on his own recognizance,” said Special Agent James McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors charge that Fuller took cash earmarked for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, or CERP, and made 91 cash deposits totaling more than $440,000 into bank accounts with Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America and Chase Bank from October 2005 to April 2006. Each deposit was less than $10,000, the threshold at which federal law requires banks to report cash deposits.

While he was in Iraq in 2005, Fuller was assigned as a project purchasing officer with 5th Civil Affairs Group, officials said.

Fuller is an F-5 pilot assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 401, the Corps’ aggressor squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon, an air station spokesman.

The case stems from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction, officials said.

US army captain convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars allocated to humanitarian work

Michael Dung Nguyen, 28, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to theft and money laundering charges in December.

The Oregon man, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, admitted to stealing more than $690,000 from Commander’s Emergency Response Program funds entrusted to him. The currency was intended as payment for security contracts as well as humanitarian relief and reconstruction programs.

US District Judge Ancer Lee Haggerty also ordered Nguyen to undergo mental health treatment and serve three years of supervised release after his term in jail.

The convict is also required to pay back $200,000 he spent on luxurious cars and other items in an attempt to hide the embezzled money.
Continue reading

News videographer at center of media battle after shooting video of abusive cops

Source

A freelance news videographer in Seattle lost his gig with a television station over a police abuse video they rejected after he posted the video on Youtube.

The video showed the customary abuse we expect from the Seattle Police Department; a cop kicking a detained suspect in the head after threatening to beat the “fucking Mexican piss” out of him.

It turned out, the suspect was completely innocent of armed robbery that got him detained.

Police then picked him up, brushed him off and sent him on his way.

The videographer, Jud Morris, ended up getting a video interview with the man, who had a fresh wound on his face from being face down on the ground, possibly from the kick that was caught on video.

The video also shows a female cop stomping on the suspect’s leg.

Morris, who was working for Q13 Fox news at the time, first approached them with the video, but they rejected it, telling him it was not newsworthy to see a cop kick an unarmed suspect in the head who later turns out to be innocent.

Morris, who as a freelancer owns all his work, then posted the video on Youtube.

He was fired the following day.

Continue reading

U.S. Forest Service Employees on “Stand-Down” from Talking to the Media

The Rural Blog brings us this post about the U.S. Forest Service prohibiting its law enforcement and investigations (LEI) employees from speaking to local media without approval from Washington. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility obtained a memo outlining the policy, which critics say stifles access to government records.

“Until further notice all LEI employees are on stand-down from communicating with local and/or national media contacts without clearance from the Director, LEI and Press Office, Media desk in the Washington Office,” wrote David Ferrell, the agency’s LEI director in the Sept. 1, 2009 memo.

US confronts its reputation abroad

Lawmakers want military in Chicago to fight crime

Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis today spoke out against a request for the Illinois National Guard to be to deployed on Chicago’s streets to help tackle gun violence.

Stopping just short of outright rejecting the request from state lawmakers Rep. John Alden Fritchey IV and Rep. LaShawn K. Ford, Weis said “I don’t think the National Guard is the solution.”

At a press conference earlier Sunday, Fritchey and Ford had called on Gov. Patrick Joseph “Pat” Quinn III and Mayor Richard M. Daley to deploy troops. The action, in coordination with Weis, should be taken as soon as possible to help get guns and criminals off the street, they said.

The two Chicago Democrats noted National Guard members are now working side-by-side with U.S. troops to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while another deadly war is taking place in Chicago neighborhoods.

Continue reading

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Captain investigated

See also:   iepolitics: SB County: Update on Sheriff’s training records investigation

Criminal charges are being reviewed for a retired San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department captain accused of falsifying certifications to raise his salary and selling doctored training records to other employees.

Details of the alleged scheme have not been released. The captain, whose wife works at the sheriff’s training academy, has not been identified because it is a personnel matter.

Sheriff Rod Hoops said he launched an investigation after first learning of the allegations in September. When the captain was confronted, he chose to retire and pay back roughly $16,000 rather than be placed on administrative leave.

The possible corruption has shamed many within the department and raised concerns of a cover-up, which Hoops has denied.

Continue reading

Attorney General threatens county supervisors with lawsuit for not waiving attorney-client privileges to assist corruption probe

SAN BERNARDINO • Frustrated that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has not waived attorney-client privileges to aid a far-reaching corruption probe, state Attorney General Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr. sent a letter blasting county supervisors and threatening to take the matter to court. (Click here to read the letter.)

“The appearance of impropriety here is simply inescapable and will be purged only when the board agrees to make this information available to us,” states Brown’s letter, dated Tuesday. “We simply seek the truth … This is a matter of intense public interest that we believe transcends legal advantage.”

Continue reading

Paul Schrader: Transparency- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

The questions asked at most of my events and from people all over the county is, what are they hiding, and why is the sheriff and his command staff not open and available to the public.

As part of my fresh start approach to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, it will be my duty to see that the Department is above reproach in order to restore and retain the respect and trust of the public. My first objective is to make all areas of the Department transparent, especially the jails. There will be an open dialogue maintained with the community and community activists who have questions regarding the Department, including the jails.

In order to bring justice to those wronged and closure to those who have done right, I will have all internal investigations expedited. The community will know the truth, and Deputies will be treated fairly and in accordance with “The Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights”.

This is the right thing to do.  Check out my website at www.sheriffpaul.net and let’s work together for a TRANSPARENT Department.

Paul Schrader: Community Responsibility- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

My name is Paul Schrader, and I am running for the position of Sheriff-Coroner of San Bernardino County. My campaign is based on what we call the Fresh Start Initiative. My goal is to bring a Fresh Start to San Bernardino County that the citizens can be proud of, participate in, and see concrete, forward-looking solutions to the problems we face.

Community Responsibility- A Sheriff’s Department that accepts its responsibility to the community, and works with the community to improve
conditions for all.

The other day I was in Chino Hills. I was talking with a guy by the name of John. He said he would like to see the Department executives reaching out to the community, finding out what needs and concerns they have.  He said when he has tried to reach anyone of any rank, he is directed to a patrol deputy.  He is frustrated.

While in Victor Valley I talked to Helen. She had a few of her friends with her. She said she wanted a group to help bring the Department and community together. She said the Department said she could volunteer. She tried to call the Sheriff’s Office and was redirected to a patrol deputy. She does not want to be a volunteer, she would love to be part of a community group that could partner with the Department. She is frustrated.

I hear this throughout the county. Deputies are being utilized to answer questions that should go through Department executives. Our deputies are trying to provide law enforcement services and need tools to do the job even better.

I will have community groups in every area of the county. We will meet and work together, ensuring they are getting service needed in their area. I will be available to citizens. This is being done in Departments all over the State.

Dennis L. “Pinky” Stout got the message

Today I am announcing my decision not to seek the Office of District Attorney of San Bernardino County.

From a very early age all I dreamed about was being a public prosecutor.  After 17 years as a Deputy District Attorney, I realized my ultimate dream in 1994 when I was elected District Attorney.  I ran unopposed in 1998 and was reelected to a second term. During those eight years we accomplished a complete rebuild of the office from the ground up. We implemented over 50 new programs.

We positioned the office so that it could become the best prosecutorial agency in the state.

Continue reading

Mike Ramos for District Attorney

CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Karl Rove Chased Out of UCSB

Manifesto of Joe Stack

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?”  The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time.  The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken.  Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it.  I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head.  Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy.  Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all.  We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers.  Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”.  I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood.  These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

Continue reading

iePolitics.com back on line

Sharon Gilbert’s iePolitics is back on line
with a new address:

http://www.iePolitics.com

Welcome back!

Jury selection begins in trial of Ohio DEA agent

CLEVELAND — Jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of a federal drug agent charged with framing 17 people in a case that could influence the way confidential informants are handled.

Prospective jurors crowded the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. for the opening of the government’s case against Lee Lucas, 41. Lucas, a 19-year U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration veteran, sat between his two defense attorneys and took notes, watching prospective jurors as they responded to the judge’s questions.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Lucas, whose work included a stint in Bolivia fighting drug traffickers, faces 18 charges including obstruction of justice, making a false statement, perjury and violating civil rights. If convicted, he could face more than five years in prison.

Lucas, who was turned aside interview requests, has pleaded not guilty. He is on administrative leave.

Continue reading

Here comes “Pinky” for his final disgrace

[ Before making a big mistake, insist that "Pinky" Stout debate Mike Ramos in public and make a recording available on the Internet.  This jerk can hardly tie his shoes.  He was put into office by the military/prison-industrial complex mafia bosses, in an era of secrecy and censorship.  He was chosen for his ignorant obedience.  Let's see how he looks when we can really see him. By the way, MID/PID scum:  You don't run this county any more. ]

———————————————————————————————————————
SAN BERNARDINO – Former district attorney Dennis Stout says he’s ‘committed’ to winning back his old job.

Stout is determined to root out government corruption…

“During eight years that I was district attorney, we prosecuted over fifty major corruption cases. By the time I completed my second term, corruption in San Bernardino County was pretty much under control. But, during the last seven years, it has reared its ugly head again.”

Stout did not seek re-election in 2002 and was replaced by Mike Ramos.

Stout expects to make a formal campaign announcement within two weeks. (INT)

Story Date: January 6, 2010

UPDATES: 3 police officers among 5 people indicted in fatal, race-related beating

Luis Ramirez was in a coma on life support
before he died two days after he was beaten.

See updated article on this case, with photos, here.  Then see here.  YouTube here

Five people, including three police officers, have been indicted on charges related to the beating death of a Latino man in rural Pennsylvania in July 2008, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Two indictments charge the five with federal hate crimes, obstruction of justice and conspiracy in what authorities are calling a racially motivated attack.

The indictments come almost six months after a Schuylkill County jury acquitted two teens of aggravated assault and one of murder in the death of Luis Ramirez.

The undocumented Mexican immigrant was beaten into a coma during a street brawl involving the teens and their friends on a residential street in Shenandoah. The incident divided the small, rural mining town along racial lines and became a flash point for racial tensions nationwide.

After the verdict, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Gene “Ed” Rendell denounced the attack as racially motivated and called on the Department of Justice to intervene.

A federal grand jury handed up the indictments last week, and they were unsealed Tuesday. The two young men, Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky, are accused of a hate crime for beating Ramirez while shouting racial epithets at him, according to the department.

If convicted of hate crime charges, Donchak and Piekarsky face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Donchak also faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of obstruction, and an additional five years on the charge of conspiring to obstruct justice.

Continue reading

US to stop funding scandal-prone Colombian spy agency

The US Congress has voted to stop subsidizing Colombia’s soon-to-be dismantled Administrative Department of Security (DAS – Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) intelligence agency.

The Colombian government recently decided to disband DAS, after it was found to have illegally wiretapped the phones of several public figures, including the chief of the Colombian National Police (Policía Nacional de Colombia), the Minister of National Defense, as well as those of former Presidents, Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists, union leaders and human rights campaigners.

Continue reading

Plea Bargains Get Renewed Scrutiny

A surprise twist in the criminal case against Broadcom Corporation co-founder Henry Samueli again raises questions about plea bargains, one of the most important and controversial aspects of the justice system.

In a Santa Ana, California, court last week, federal Judge Cormac J. Carney dismissed the criminal complaint charging Mr. Samueli with lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its investigation of whether Broadcom misstated its earnings by improperly accounting for executive stock options. Judge Carney’s dismissal came even though Mr. Samueli had stood before him in 2008 and pleaded guilty to that very crime.

Mr. Samueli did what lawyers and legal scholars fear a disturbing number of other people have done: pleaded guilty to a crime they didn’t commit or at least believed they didn’t commit. These defendants often end up choosing that route because they feel trapped in a corner, or fear getting stuck with a long prison sentence if they go to trial and lose.

The evolution of the criminal-justice system in recent decades has put many defendants “under all but impossible pressure to plead guilty, even if they’re not,” said Yale Law School Professor John H. Langbein, a critic of the plea-bargain system.

Continue reading

In secret case, court rejects ‘total and permanent’ seal

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) last week rejected a request to permanently seal the entire transcript of a criminal defendant’s sentencing.

The appeal remains shrouded in secrecy, with court documents, the charges, the defendant’s name, and even the defense attorney’s name sealed. Prosecutors declined to provide any information about the case, citing the court’s sealing order.

But the appellate court’s Dec. 14 opinion makes clear that U.S. District Judge John Gleeson denied a criminal defendant’s “motion for total and permanent sealing of his sentencing transcript.” Both the defendant and prosecutors asked the appellate court to overturn the Gleeson’s order, and it appointed separate counsel “to defend the district court judgment so that the appeal could be considered in an adversarial context.”

Continue reading

Lightning-gun tech ‘approaching weaponisation’

[ Scam, scam, scam ]

The Pentagon continues to pour funding into Arizona-based laser plasma lightning blaster-gun firm Applied Energetics, formerly known as Ionatron. The US Army says that the firm’s lightning guns are “approaching the level of maturity needed to begin weaponization”.

The military assessment came as the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) inked a new $3.1m deal with Applied last week.

“Now that the technology is approaching the level of maturity needed to begin weaponization we will be more closely coordinated with Applied Energetics through this contract to fulfill Army mission needs,” said Ben Lagasca, chief of “Advanced Energy Armaments” at ARDEC.

Continue reading

iepolitics: SB County: Update on Sheriff’s training records investigation

From left to right:  Sheriff Rodney Hoops, Captain Bart Gray, Captain Mark Marnati

t came to my attention today that 3 additional people have been identified in that scandal involving San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Captain Bart Gray.

Those named were Captain Mark Marnati, Lieutenant Jerry Davis and Sergeant Bill Zehms.  All are reported to be good friends of Captain Gray.

It is also my understanding that Mrs. Gray has returned back to work from being on administrative leave.  It seems there will be no investigation on this very widespread scam involving what has been reported to be up to two dozen others.  No doubt some of the others who’s names are not known, could possibly be higher ranking Sheriff’s employees.

This fraud or theft which ever you choose to call it is a felony under California law if the amount of money received by those involved exceeds $400.00. It is also a felony to forge training documents such as these, as they are public documents.

These individuals perpetrated their acts by having Mrs. Gray forge training documents which at some point were submitted to Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) in Sacramento.  With these false training documents these individuals were able to obtain Advanced POST and Supervisory POST certificates.

Having these certificates, allowed these individuals to receive a higher percentage of pay each month.  Somewhere between 3 and 5 percent.  Over a period of months and years in could be several hundred or several thousands dollars. This is where the fraud or theft comes in.

Captain Gray is said to have obtained $27,000.00 or $47,000.00 in pay for the certificates he had under false pretenses.  It is not know how much money the others involved, obtained through this scam.

Continue reading

Ex-con congressman James A. Traficant, Jr., might run again

WARREN, Ohio, Dec. 17 (UPI) — Convicted ex-congressman James Anthony Traficant Jr. says he may run for Congress again, possibly in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

Traficant, 68, held a news conference in Canfield, Ohio, to announce he was circulating nominating petitions, the Warren (Ohio) Tribune Chronicle reported Thursday. He isn’t saying which district he would run in if he decides to run.

In 2002, the Ohio Democratic congressman, who was first elected in 1984, was convicted of taking bribes from businessmen, accepting kickbacks from staff members and tax evasion. He was expelled from the House in July that year, the political Web site cqpolitics.com said.

He ran for re-election from federal prison as an independent, winning 15 percent of the vote.

Traficant was released from prison in September after serving seven years. Felony convictions would not bar him from being elected to Congress, the Web site said.

“I’m proud of being an ex-con, by the way,” Traficant said.

Retired Army Major Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Role in Bribery Scheme Involving DOD Contracts in Kuwait

A retired major in the U.S. Army today was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme related to Department of Defense (DOD) contracts awarded in Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer and Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division Christine A. Varney.

Christopher H. Murray, 42, a resident of Cataula, Ga., was also ordered by Judge Clay D. Land of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia – Columbus Division to pay $245,000 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release following the prison term.

Murray pleaded guilty in January 2009 to a five-count criminal information charging him with four counts of bribery and one count of making a false statement. According to the court documents, in 2005 and 2006, then-Major Murray served as a contracting specialist in the small purchases branch of the contracting office at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. As a contracting specialist, Murray was responsible for soliciting bids for military contracts, evaluating the sufficiency of those bids, and then recommending the award of contracts to particular contractors. In this capacity, Murray solicited and received approximately $225,000 in bribes from DOD contractors in exchange for recommending the award of contracts for various goods and services.

See document here.

Continue reading

Former Police Chief Norm Stamper: ‘Let’s Not Stop at Marijuana Legalization’

A new poll shows that most Americans are ready to legalize marijuana, but not drugs like cocaine or heroin. A 34-year police vet says it’s time to legalize them all.

This article is by former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, Ph.D. Read about him here and here.

These days, it seems like everyone is talking in earnest about marijuana legalization, once dismissed as little more than a Cheech and Chong pipe dream. Indeed, a new poll reveals that 53 percent of Americans now support ending marijuana prohibition.

Bolstered by increasing public support for something once considered to be a political third rail, lawmakers from Rhode Island to Washington State have put the issue on the table for consideration. And citizen initiatives (particularly in California) are cropping up faster than ditch weed.

These are welcome developments to a retired police chief like me who oversaw the arrests of countless people for marijuana and other drugs, but saw no positive impact from all the blood, sweat and tears (and money) put into the effort. Soon, it seems, cops may no longer have to waste time and risk lives enforcing pot laws that don’t actually prevent anyone from using marijuana.

Yet, I’m alarmed that the above-mentioned poll showing majority support for marijuana legalization also found that fewer than one in 10 people agree that it’s time to end the prohibition of other drugs.

This no doubt makes sense to some readers at first glance, since more people are familiar with marijuana than other drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth. However, even a cursory study of our drug war policies will reveal that legalizing pot but not other drugs will leave huge social harms unresolved.

Legalizing marijuana only will not:

• Stop gangs from selling other drugs to our kids (since illegal drug dealers rarely check for ID);

• Stop drug dealers from brutally murdering rival traffickers for the purpose of controlling the remaining criminal market for other drugs;

• Stop drug dealers from firing on cops charged with fighting the senseless war on other illicit drugs;

• Stop drug dealers from killing kids caught in crossfire and drive-by shootings;

• Stop overdose deaths of drug users who refrain from calling 911 out of fear of legal repercussions;

• Reduce the spread of infectious diseases like AIDS and hepatitis, since marijuana users don’t inject their drug like heroin users (who sometimes share dirty needles and syringes because prohibition makes it hard to secure clean ones);

• Stop the bloody cartel battles in Mexico that are rapidly expanding over the border into the U.S;

• Stop the Taliban from raking in massive profits from illegal opium cultivation in Afghanistan.

Of course, none of this means that our rapidly growing marijuana legalization movement should slow down.

On the contrary, as the polls show, a majority of Americans understand that legalizing marijuana will produce many benefits. No longer will 800,000 people a year be arrested on pot charges, their lives damaged if not ruined; governments will be able to tax the popular commodity; regulation and revenues will help forge and finance effective programs of drug abuse prevention and treatment; and those vicious cartels will lose as much as half their illicit profits when they can no longer sell marijuana.

Further, once people get used to the idea of allowing legal sales of the previously banned drug we’ll be able to point to successful regulation as a model for similar treatment of all other currently illicit substances.

Marijuana legalization is a great step in the direction of sane and sensible drug policy. But we reformers must remember that we’re working to legalize drugs not because we think they are safe, but because prohibition is far more dangerous to users and nonusers alike.

Recommended draft principles for whistleblowing legislation

Earlier this year, over 30 delegates from 17 countries (including Project on Government Oversight‘s own Danielle Brian) gathered in Prague to develop a list best practices for whistleblower legislation.  The results have just been made available by Transparency International (TI), the corruption-fighting group that organized the gathering, in the form of a document entitled “Recommended draft principles for whistleblowing legislation.”

The document provides recommendations for the scope, disclosure procedures, protection, enforcement, and legislative structure of whistleblower policy.  All told, the group agreed on 27 guiding principles for developing whistleblower legislation.

Accompanying the release of the draft principles is an analysis of the whistleblower legislation in ten European countries.

You can find out more about POGO’s work on whistleblower issues here.

63rd District: You need to know Paul Chabot

Paul Chabot,  who is running for California’s 63rd State Assembly District, recently participated in a debate over drug legalization, which included former judge James “Jim” P. Gray of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Chabot was damaged in childhood by incompetent parenting and by the war on drugs. While compassion and support for the handicapped is honorable, outright patronization and exaggerated, unreal flattery is an insult.

The military, the criminal justice system and many religious cults go a step further and recruit from sources such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where a couple of percent of forced participants who actually are handicaps (euphemistically called “addicts“), buy into the concept of helplessness and are anxious to turn the control of their minds and bodies over to a “higher power.”  Chabot has been a subject of their nurturing since age 12.

These are the people sought by the recruiters.  They will do what rational people will not.  Note that 1 in 8 combat troops needs alcohol counseling.  Note the escalated activity by law enforcement to round them up during “wartime.”

Chabot has already proven his helplessness and mindless obedience to both the prison- and military-industrial complexes.  The next step for such victims is abandonment – or “promotion” to public office for one final round of exploitation.

If he is abandoned now, further damage to himself and his family might be avoided.  Even if this was not the case, society cannot accept the threat he will represent to all of us if he is patronized into a political career as a windfall cut-out for his handlers.

Do you want another “leader” who cannot handle his alcohol and/or drugs?  A leader whose goal is to punish all normal, healthy people for his disease and weakness?  It is time to take control of government away from the vulgar, self-serving military- and prison-industrial complexes and put them back under our control where they belong.  Have they not disgraced us all enough?  Listen to the debate…

Listen to the debate here.

His “testimonial-fired” personal website is here.

His political website is here.

His “bio” is here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers