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After The 'Syriza Shock' - Now Comes The Hard Choice Of Escape Or Merely Re-setting The Terms of Greece’s EU Servitude
We can heartily praise Alexis Tsirpras for calling bull on the destructive puzzle palace economics thrust on his country by the hypocrites and liars who rule from Brussels. And his finance minister designate, economist Yanis Varoufakis, is surely on the right track when he targets the rent-seeking bankers, big businesses and media operators who have plundered the Greek state for decades.

26 January 2015read on...

Education is Too Important Not to Leave to the Marketplace
This week, events around the country will highlight the importance of parental control of education as part of National School Choice Week. This year’s events should attract more attention than prior years because of the growing rebellion against centralized education sparked by the federal Common Core curriculum.

25 January 2015read on...

Adios Cuba!
It’s taken over half a century for the US to finally figure out how to neutralize pesky Communist Cuba. Invasions, air raids, crushing sanctions, attempts to murder the Castro leadership by exploding cigars and poisons, diplomatic isolation, poisoning crops – all failed.

25 January 2015read on...

Beware a New Cold War
The notion of a New Cold War with Russia first arrived in 2008 with the publication of Edward Lucas' book The New Cold War: The Future of Russia and the Threat to the West. It received some attention at the time, but the cold war construct in its title gained little traction until the 2014. Since the Ukraine has been in crisis the phrase "a New Cold War" has become fairly commonplace in the media. Part of the reason for this is that the emotional memory of the Cold War is still strong and 'cold war' remains an easy, ready and convenient trope for media commentators in need of dramatic content. However, we should be concerned with more than rhetorical overreach by writers of headlines, book titles and opinion pieces.

23 January 2015read on...

A Second Even More Unjustifiable Episode of Government Collection of Phone Records
In the rush to sensationalize the Paris terrorist attacks and minimize all other news (for example, even more horrendous terrorist attacks in Nigeria), the American media has conveniently overlooked one major ill effect of the public hysteria it is helping to foment.

23 January 2015read on...

The Ambiguity of Charlie Hebdo: France Under the Influence
The Charlie Hebdo terrorist assassinations struck France at a moment when it has an unpopular government and a weak President, when factories are closing and jobs are being lost, when French economic policy is determined by Germany via the European Union and its foreign policy is determined by the United States via NATO. Except for the therapeutic moment of togetherness on January 11, the country feels buffeted by winds of conflict it cannot resist.

21 January 2015read on...

Ron Paul: The Real State of Liberty 2015
Watch Ron Paul deliver his new speech on the state of liberty in the US. You can find the complete text of his speech here.

20 January 2015read on...

The Danger of an MH-17 ‘Cold Case’
Now more than six months after the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, the refusal of the Obama administration to make public what intelligence evidence it has about who was responsible has created fertile ground for conspiracy theories to take root while reducing hopes for holding the guilty parties accountable.

20 January 2015read on...

Why Should Charlie Hebdo Deaths Mean More Than Those in E.Ukraine?
The Western public justly condemns the murders at Charlie Hebdo, but continues to behave as if Kiev's terror victims in Donetsk are “subhuman.”

19 January 2015read on...

If the Fed Has Nothing to Hide, It Has Nothing to Fear
Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the dollar has lost over 97 percent of its purchasing power, the US economy has been subjected to a series of painful Federal Reserve-created recessions and depressions, and government has grown to dangerous levels thanks to the Fed’s policy of monetizing the debt. Yet the Federal Reserve still operates under a congressionally-created shroud of secrecy.

18 January 2015read on...

Featured Articles

Adam Kokesh and the Drugs and Guns Prosecution Trap


Drugs And Guns
photo: Daveybot

Podcast host Adam Kokesh appears to have joined the long list of victims of the US government's drugs and guns prosecution trap. After a US Park Police raid on his Virginia residence last week, media reported Monday that Kokesh was charged with possession of a Schedule I or II drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act while in possession of a gun. After his arrest, a judge ruled that Kokesh is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm through the end of his prosecution.

In the drugs and guns prosecution trap, when a defendant merely possesses a gun while allegedly in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, the government seeks to impose additional penalties for the gun possession. These penalties may be imposed even if the defendant did not use a gun in any violent activity or even in any activity related to drugs.

The drugs and guns prosecution trap can be used to pressure a defendant to plead guilty in return for a reduced penalty instead of exercising his right to a trial. As explained by Eric Stern, counsel to former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, the top US government prosecutor in Montana used gun possession charges "pervasively" as part of a strategy to intimidate Montanans who possessed marijuana in compliance with state medical marijuana laws into pleading guilty in plea-bargains. Stern elaborates:
And some of the government’s tactics in Montana were simply over the top. Charges were piled on high and thick, basic federal items like “possession with intent to distribute” or “conspiracy to manufacture,” carrying enormous penalties and designed to give the defendant little choice but to say “uncle,” and plea-bargain for a lesser sentence.

And one charge, used pervasively, was almost laughable if you know anything about Montana: “use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime,” by which was meant that a defendant kept a shotgun in his greenhouse, or in his truck that he used to transport seed and fertilizer, or that he carried a sidearm. Montanans commonly keep guns on their person, in their vehicles, at their homes, at their ranches, and at their place of business and especially if they have valuable wares on the premises. They require no permits. But the gun charge gave prosecutors powerful leverage because it carries mandatory prison time under federal rules.
Chris Williams is one of the few Montana medical marijuana defendants who went to trial instead of taking a plea deal. Reason.com writer Jacob Sullum relates how Williams, a partner in Montana Cannabis, was found guilty at a trial in which he was not allowed to even mention the state's medical marijuana law. Sullum explains how the gun charges accounted for 80 years of Williams's effective life sentence:
What explains this astonishing range of penalties, from zero prison time to nearly a century? Mandatory minimums. Specifically, prosecutors charged Williams, after he turned down a series of plea deals, with four counts of using firearms in furtherance of a drug crime, based on pistols and shotguns kept at the Helena grow operation where he worked. Federal law prescribes a five-year mandatory minimum penalty for the first such offense and 25 years for each subsequent offense. Furthermore, the sentences must be served consecutively. Hence Williams, who was convicted of all four gun charges, will get at least 80 years when he is sentenced in January, even though he was not charged with wielding the guns, let alone hurting anyone with them. In fact, having the guns around would have been perfectly legal had he not been growing marijuana.
After Williams's arrest, incarceration, and rigged trial for trying to provide people with medial marijuana in compliance with state law, Williams was offered a second chance at a plea-bargain. This time, Williams agreed to drop his appeal in return for the prosecutor dropping three of Williams's four gun charges and three of his four drug charges. As a result, the judge sentenced Williams to five years in prison for the first gun charge and 130 days of time already served for the remaining drug charge. Stern suggests that the prosecutor's willingness to offer Williams a second chance at a plea-bargain was due to Williams having become "something of a cause célèbre" with "websites devoted to freeing him." Williams explains that the primary factor behind his acceptance of the "very rare post-verdict compromise" was that the top US prosecutor in Montana "threatened to use legal maneuvering" to take away Williams's ability to appeal.

The accounts of Kokesh's housemates and colleagues in various news reports and on his podcast website relate a brutal, SWAT-style raid on their home and uncomfortable conditions in jail for Kokesh. This may be just the beginning of Kokesh’s problems now, as he is facing effectively limitless prosecution resources while caught in the drugs and guns prosecution trap.

Copyright © 2013, The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted provided full credit is given and a live link provided.
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