Roaming horses are growing problem

There are many people in Breathitt, Knott and throughout east Kentucky who love horses but have limited space on their own properties to keep them due to the mountainous terrain.

At  the same time, there are many large landowners and coal reclamation sites that could provide lots of grazing area and ideal pastureland.

In the past, there has been a wonderful relationship between local horse owners and large private landowners to free-range one’s horses on someone else’s property.   These horse owners would check on their horses, make sure they were in good health, and either bring them home during the winter months when food was scarce up on the mountain or take both hay, grain and salt blocks to the horses when needed.   And there was an unwritten code that no stallions were to be free-ranged.   But that is no longer the case.

There is a growing number of horses up on reclamation sites.  Some are there with permission, but more and  more are being dropped off without permission by people who may or, in many cases, may not even live in the county.  And these individuals have no intention of checking on their horses, providing health care if they should get hurt or ill,  or for that matter, ever reclaiming them.   These horses have been abandoned.

Some of these horses are old, some are in poor health, but a large majority are in good shape and will live for years.

But it is not just the horses being dropped off that are a problem.  Stallions have been let loose on the reclamation sites and are now impregnating the mares whom, unchecked, may birth colts who grow up into studs and impregnate more mares — and the numbers just keep growing.  If one questions this, go to Mill Creek, Raven, Jones Fork or a number of other reclamation sites throughout the county and count the number of pregnant mares and the growing number of yearlings.   This unchecked growing population of horses has now put into jeopardy the relationship the responsible horse owners once had with the landowners.

A group of people are attempting to inventory all the free–ranging horses in Knott, Breathitt and surrounding counties to determine which horses are owned and which ones have been abandoned.  That way, if horses have already been identified and they end up somewhere they shouldn’t be, like the seven horses last week that ended up down on Ky. 80, six horses noted in the article on this page, or have ventured on still bonded reclamation sites, they could quickly be identified and their owners contacted before any permanent damage is done.  If the horses causing problems have been identified as abandoned then they would be available for immediate adoption to someone that would take responsibility for them.

Find the Troublesome Creek Times at local stores in Knott and surrounding counties or subscribe to the Times at (606)-785-5134


What Is Fracking and Why Should It Be Banned?


The case to ban fracking grows stronger every day. Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It’s a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of fluid — a mix of water, sand, and chemicals, including ones known to cause cancer — are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock surrounding an oil or gas well. This releases extra oil and gas from the rock, so it can flow into the well.

But the process of fracking introduces additional industrial activity into communities beyond the well. Clearing land to build new access roads and new well sites, drilling and encasing the well, fracking the well and generating the waste, trucking in heavy equipment and materials and trucking out the vast amounts of toxic waste — all of these steps contribute to air and water pollution risks and devaluation of land that are turning our communities into sacrifice zones. Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. That’s why over 250 communities in the U.S. have passed resolutions to stop fracking, and why Vermont, France and Bulgaria have stopped it.

Why a Ban? Can Regulations Make Fracking Safe?

Ban Fracking in Your Area

No. Fracking is inherently unsafe and we cannot rely on regulation to protect communities’ water, air and public health. The industry enjoys exemptions from key federal legislation protecting our air and water, thanks to aggressive lobbying and cozy relationships with our federal decision makers (the exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act is often referred to as the Cheney or Halliburton Loophole, because it was negotiated by then-Vice President Dick Cheney with Congress in 2005). Plus, the industry is aggressively clamping down on local and state efforts to regulate fracking by buying influence and even bringing lawsuits to stop them from being implemented. That’s why fracking can’t be made safe through government oversight or regulations. An all out ban on fracking is the only way to protect our communities.

Learn More


Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans | Global Research

Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans | Global Research.

We all know that the radiation from the stricken Fukushima plant has spread around the globe and is poisoning people worldwide. We all know that the West Coast of the United States is being polluted with radioactive debris and that the oceans, the beaches that border them, and even the air is becoming more polluted by radioactivity as time goes on.

You have to ask yourself why the government won’t admit this. It’s not like a disaster half a world away is their fault, is it?

Or is it? Could the United States government have done something to prevent the situation getting to this point?

Nothing in this article is a state secret, everything is in the public domain, but the information is so disseminated that it appears disconnected.

Can Legalizing Marijuana Help Appalachia?

By Michael P. Tremoglie


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Will legalizing marijuana help or hinder some of the poorest of Americans? Appalachia has long been known for intractable poverty, coal and moonshine. But what many do not know is that marijuana is an Appalachian cash crop.

Some say it will only help; after all, Appalachians make quite a bit of dough from grass. “Outdoor cannabis cultivation is common throughout the Appalachia…region,” reads a June 2007 report by the Department of Justice (DOJ). “The number of outdoor plants eradicated from grow operations in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia increased from 1,004,329 in 2005 to 1,252,524 in 2006. Cannabis cultivators deliberately locate outdoor grow sites in remote areas of public and private lands to reduce the chance of discovery by passersby or law enforcement and, more commonly, to protect their crops from theft. Cannabis is cultivated in Kentucky on broad areas of privately owned land, in the Daniel Boone National Forest, and on the Cumberland Plateau.”

Related Articles

What coca leaves are to the mountain people of Peru, marijuana is to the mountain people of America. These growers take their their marijuana cultivation seriously, too. They are not shy about using lethal force to protect it. The DOJ describes some of the efforts to protect crops, “Cannabis cultivators frequently use camouflage, counter surveillance techniques, and booby traps to protect their outdoor grow sites. …These sites are often protected by armed guards who conduct counter surveillance. Moreover, the use of booby traps significantly increased in 2006….some cannabis cultivators used punji sticks, which may be camouflaged by leaves and brush or incorporated into pits and explosive devices, to reduce the risk of crop theft.”


Next » Last

Steward Will Run For Barren County Judge-Executive; Greer Not Running

“When I think that there is something going on that I think is corrupt, or I think that is inappropriate, or I think the taxpayers’ dollars are being wasted, then I will be contentious and I will be somewhat controversial.”

BARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) – Barren County Magistrate Chris Steward is adding his name to the mix to become the next Barren County Judge-Executive.

He said his number one priority is bringing jobs to the county.

“We have the infrastructure, we have the land. We have the work force, and I think economic development is a passion of mine,” said Barren County Judge-Executive Candidate Chris Steward.

Steward joins five other candidates in the race, but will not have to face current Judge-Executive Davie Greer, who officially told WBKO Monday, she won’t seek re-election.

“I just feel like at this time in my life that I want to spend more time with my family. They don’t want me to run either, so that’s mostly the reason,” said Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer.

Steward certainly has not shied away from the spotlight.

As a magistrate he was out in front of an investigation of the jail.

“When I think that there is something going on that I think is corrupt, or I think that is inappropriate, or I think the taxpayers’ dollars are being wasted, then I will be contentious and I will be somewhat controversial.”

However, Steward does think he could have handled it better.

“I think I owe some apologies to some people in which I voiced my opinion, perhaps I wasn’t as diplomatic as I should have been in certain areas,” said Steward.

WBKO asked, who are some of those people?

“Jailer Mutter, Judge Greer and others, I’m sure I could have worked with them better. I’m sure they could have worked with me better,” said Steward.

Steward announced recently but he said he will officially file Tuesday.

None of the other candidates in the race are current Magistrates, but the list includes democrats Brian Scott Taylor and W.R. Bud Tarry. Republicans in the race include David Honeycutt, Don “Goose” Gossett and Rob Strickland.



Japanese beverage giant Suntory Holdings has agreed to purchase American spirits maker Jim Beam.



DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An iconic Kentucky original is being sold to a foreign company.

Japanese beverage giant Suntory Holdings has agreed to purchase American spirits maker Jim Beam. The all-cash deal is valued at $16-billion. Beam stock shot up in premarket trading today after the deal was announced.

Suntory is known for Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies and Midori liqueur, as well as beers, wines, and soft drinks.

Beam is produced in Clermont, Kentucky, and is known for its brand-name products including Jim Beam bourbon, Maker’s Mark whisky, and Courvoisier cognac.

Suntory already distributes Beam’s products in Japan. Beam distributes Suntory’s products in Singapore and other Asian markets. Both companies’ boards unanimously approved the transaction, which is targeted to close in the second quarter. It needs approval from Beam Inc. stockholders.


Suntory Holdings To Acquire Beam In $16 Billion Transaction

OSAKA, JAPAN and DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS – JANUARY 13, 2014 – Suntory Holdings Limited and Beam Inc. (NYSE: BEAM) today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Suntory will acquire all outstanding shares of Beam for US$83.50 per share in cash or total consideration of approximately US$16 billion, including the assumption of Beam’s outstanding net debt.


Hunters Killed 20 Bears in Kentucky During Season


FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State Fish and Wildlife officials say hunters in Kentucky claimed 20 black bears during the season that ended in December.

It was the first season with a new expanded bear hunting zone and an archery and crossbow season.

Hunters can now hunt bears in 16 Kentucky counties, up from four counties in 2012.

In the recent season, hunters harvested eight male and two female bears during the firearms season. They took six males and four females during the archery and crossbow season.

Seven were killed in Letcher County, and three bears each were taken in Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties.

Modern-day bear hunting in Kentucky began in 2009.


Cave City eyes work on strategic plan in ’14


Cave City 9.28.13 140

By JUSTIN STORY The Daily News

When it comes to planning for the future, Cave City officials are taking the long view.

Cave City’s City Council plans to hold a special meeting with the Kentucky League of Cities soon after the holidays on a date to be determined to learn about the work that will be involved in drafting a strategic plan that will guide the city’s development during the next several years.

The city’s proximity to Mammoth Cave National Park and its location along Interstate 65 have given Cave City a built-in advantage in attracting tourists, but Mayor Dwayne Hatcher hopes a strategic plan developed in consultation with the League of Cities will shine a light on Cave City’s other attractive qualities.

“We can’t put all our eggs in one basket, so to speak,” Hatcher said. “Tourism is a major factor here with our location, but we can’t just build solely on that. We’re working hard on infrastructure and industry here. … We can no longer be so dependent on tourism, although it is one of the major factors. We have so much more to offer, too.”

Two KLC advisers spoke at a recent council meeting about the benefits of a strategic plan and how the process of creating a plan can draw in the involvement of community members.

The KLC has been active as a consultant with other communities in the state that have drafted their own plans.

In 2011, Williamstown developed a strategic plan with input from community leaders, high school students and others that addressed a number of topics thought to be important to that city’s development, including restoration of downtown and diversification of the local economy.

Hatcher said Cave City’s process of putting together its own plan will involve extensive input and could take several months, if not longer.

“It’s a rather slow process, but it’s well worth doing,” Hatcher said. “With something this important, you don’t want to just rush into it. We want input from all of our citizens. … Hopefully, one thing we’ll create will be more involvement. We want people to feel that they are part of the community.”

Though not a member of Cave City government, Jeff Lawson wears many hats in the community as the owner of Cave Country RV Campground and the president of the Cave City Chamber of Commerce.

Lawson said he was aware the Cave City Convention and Tourism Commission has surveyed visitors for the past several months about their impressions of the area.

“Local people say things like they want more restaurants and more things to do, and visitors comment about empty buildings,” Lawson said. “That’s a real detraction because people come in and, instead of people, they see a dying town, and we don’t see it that way. We have a lot to offer, but for people driving in off the interstate they get the opposite impression.”

Lawson came to Cave City from Pennsylvania more than five years ago, leaving the restaurant business there to operate an RV park in the area. When deciding where to relocate, he centered on Cave City for its small-town atmosphere and its convenience to Mammoth Cave.

Lawson said he believes it’s important for as many people to be involved in the process as possible, and he hopes that the different segments of the community can agree on some common goals for the city’s long-term future.

“For the future, if we have a clear direction of who we are and what we want to accomplish, we can achieve it,” Lawson said.

— Follow reporter Justin Story on Twitter at or visit

Kentucky has more lakes suspected of having toxic algae




LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Kentucky has seven lakes suspected of having excessive levels of toxic algae, but state officials aren’t revealing which bodies of water are being targeted for a second round of tests.

Kentucky environmental regulators are drawing water from the lakes for a second time for more rigorous laboratory analysis after initial samples showed concentrations of blue-green algae worthy of health advisories.

Kentucky Division of Water official Clark Dorman said the lakes involved in the most recent advisory aren’t run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Five Corps-run lakes were the subject of a recent advisory.

Even though the state’s initial tests suggested health risks to the public, dogs and farm animals, state officials are declining to identify those water bodies.


Read more:

Furry intruder caught on camera (HERE’S THE BEARS!)


OHIO COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – A furry intruder was caught on camera in Western Kentucky.

A family went outside and found a black bear raiding their deer-feeder.

Wildlife officials suspect the young bear was either forced out of its territory in eastern Kentucky or Tennessee by another black bear and is wandering around trying to find a girlfriend.

In June, there was a bear sighting near Mammoth Cave and on July 12 five people in Daviess County reported they saw a bear near Masonville.

Experts said the bear appears to be a small and estimate he weighs between 100 and 150 pounds.


Malnourished Veteran Pleads For Help From VA

By: Kayla VanoverEmail

Kayla Vanover

BOWLING GREEN, Ky (WBKO) An Army veteran, living right here in Bowling Green, is being denied full benefits while suffering from a surgery that he says was performed in error.

Frank Coursey has not eaten solid food in nearly three years. As if this is not enough strain on his body, he goes to bed each night worried about the future of his family, if something were to happen to him.

“This picture is on 07-07-2007. I was 286 pounds. This picture was Father’s Day of this year,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

Frank Coursey is currently 133 pounds, losing on average five pounds per week. His weight loss is the result of a gastric bypass surgery performed by a doctor in West Virginia, whom he was referred to by a his local VA physician.

Coursey says immediately following his surgery, he knew something did not feel right.

“Dr. Canterbury was there with about eight or nine students discussing the operations of the job and all that. I remember him looking at me and saying this is the worst case scenario of this surgery that we’ve had,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

Months into his recovery, Coursey claims his nausea never ceased. The same West Virginia VA hospital repeatedly told him he was experiencing typical side effects from the surgery. Coursey says he visited local emergency rooms weekly.

“I would go in a coma state and have to be hooked back up to IV’s. The doctor looked at me and said, why did you receive this surgery again? You didn’t need it,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

Coursey eventually had one VA doctor agree to put him back on the surgery table for an examination.

“His first words were, my God they didn’t tell me it was this bad,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

After the doctor ballooned his stomach, Coursey claims his vomiting continued. Even then, the doctor sent him on is way, claiming it was simply and irritation of his esophagus.

After exhausting all regional VA outlets suggested to him, Coursey finally found a Nashville doctor who agreed to see him.

“The doctor said, the man who performed your surgery did a rookie mistake. He put the staples to close. The staples aren’t wide enough, that is why you’re not holding solid food,” said Frank Coursey, veteran.

The doctor assured Coursey he could perform a corrective surgery, but the business manager said it was not possible until they received their payment from the VA. Coursey already expected this to be paid, prior to the appointment.

Three months later, the doctor contacted Coursey to perform it, knowing the intentions of the VAs payment. However, Coursey experienced yet another issue.

“He had a hernia at the top of his esophagus. It already pulled half the sleeve up in it. from all the puking and coughing and everything,” said Kathy Coursey, spouse.

Due to the hernia growing since the last appointment, the doctor could not perform the surgery without approval from the VA.

Since this appointment, Coursey has undergone surgery on his neck as well. Due to being malnurished, his head is too heavy for his brittle bones to hold it up.

Once he has fully recovered from his neck surgery, Coursey is scheduled to receive his corrective bariatric surgery.

Through all of this, Frank Coursey’s major concern is the well being of his family.

Coursey says the chances of him surviving his upcoming surgery are limited and he still is not receiving full VA benefits to cover his medical bills.

He says if something does not change, his biggest fear is not living through the surgery. He fears his family becoming homeless, due to a current lien placed on his home by an unpaid medical bill.

Coursey has contacted local political offices, but is told it will be at least 30 days before his case is even reviewed.



Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) has been illegally pouring toxic coal ash into the Ohio River,


Liked · May 29 · Edited

BRAZEN: For years, Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) has been illegally pouring toxic coal ash into the Ohio River, unbeknownst to neighboring communities. Now thanks to a hidden camera and satellite imagery, the utility has been caught and faces a lawsuit from Earthjustice along with huge fines.
LG&E could be fined up to $68 million along with $37.5K for each day that goes forward until the dumping is stopped. Coal ash contains a toxic brew of pollutants, including mercury and arsenic, which can cause cancer. It’s the waste product left over from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. Here’s great information on coal ash >>
Help SPREAD this post and TELL US >> Do you think the fines are harsh enough for LG&E’s years of illegal dumping?


Kentucky sees decrease in farms; experts point to a variety of contributing factors

By Greg Kocher: :   June 28, 2014

Kentucky has dramatically fewer farms and much less land devoted to farming, according to the latest snapshot by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Between 2007 and 2012, the Bluegrass State had the greatest percentage decrease in farmland of any state in the country, the Census of Agriculture says.

Farmland — which the government counts as privately owned or leased cropland, pastures and woodlands — declined in Kentucky by 943,000 acres, or 6.7 percent.

That’s an area larger than the combined acreage of Daniel Boone National Forest in Eastern Kentucky (707,000 acres) and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Western Kentucky (170,000 acres).

Other states with the largest percentage declines in farmland were Alaska (5.4 percent), Georgia (5.2 percent), Mississippi (4.6 percent) and Wisconsin (4.1 percent).

The number of farms in Kentucky also declined, from 85,260 in 2007 to 77,064 in 2012.

These numbers are contained in the 2012 Census of Agriculture that USDA released in May. The census is conducted every five years to record a snapshot of business activity on farms, but it doesn’t track how much land was lost to development. Nor does it tell what happened to other land in the decline that wasn’t developed.

However, estimates from the latest National Resources Inventory — a nationwide survey of non-federal land conducted by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service — shows that development in Kentucky claimed 41,000 acres of the state’s rural land base between 2007 and 2010.

These are figures that Kentuckians should watch, said Jennifer Dempsey, director of the American Farmland Trust’s Information Center. The trust is a leading conservation organization dedicated to farmland protection; it plans to hold a national conference in Lexington in October.

“There’s a growing demand among consumers for locally grown products,” Dempsey said, “and if at the same time you have a significant decline in your land in farms, I would say that’s a problem. You’ve lost almost 944,000 acres almost in one clip. That’s pretty significant.”

Dempsey later acknowledged that “lost” is a stronger verb than necessary, because it suggests a permanency that isn’t really there. Farmland acreage fluctuates from census to census — some years it goes up and some years it goes down — depending on the demand for food and the productivity of agriculture.

But the general trend nationwide and statewide over time is that fewer acres are devoted to farms, said David Knopf, regional director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Louisville. The service is the agency that conducts the census and distributes its results.

“Within any given year, you could have someone in (farming) one year and out the next,” Knopf said. “It tends to be the relatively small farms, either in size or in the value of sales, who report in one census that they are a farm and they report in the next census that they’re not a farm.”

(A farm is defined by the government as “any place that produced and sold, or normally would produce and sell, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the census year.”)

For example, one operation may raise livestock and have 100 acres in one census, “so they get counted as a farm,” Knopf said. “Well, in the next census, they’re not raising any livestock and so there goes 100 acres of land in one farm. So it goes like that from one census to the next.”

There is more land that could be put back into production than is going into development over a five-year period. Knopf said. For this reason, Knopf takes the view that the decline in Kentucky farmland is something to watch, but not something to be overly concerned about.

“To sound alarms because we have dropped 6 percent of our farmland, that I don’t find startling,” Knopf said. “Let’s see what happens in the next five years.”

How did it decrease?

It should be noted that many sources interviewed for this story were skeptical of the figures on farmland decrease. The statistics service says it checks its information against other known data, and have staff in each state to review it as well.

Kentucky probably saw a decline because some land was unproductive and some was intentionally rotated out of production, Daniel Smaldone, a spokesman for Kentucky Farm Bureau, wrote in an email.

“Arable farming acreage lost to residential, industrial and economic development are the pieces we should be most concerned about as they are acres permanently removed from the total land available to grow crops and raise livestock,” Smaldone wrote.

John-Mark Hack of Versailles has another theory about where some of those 943,000 acres went. Hack is executive director of the Local Food Association, a national trade association that works to improve market share and market access to buyers and sellers of local food. He suspects that much of Kentucky’s farm acreage is idle and is not being used to grow anything —so it dropped off the radar of the census.

“It’s a lingering aftereffect of the demise of the tobacco program that no one has taken notice of,” Hack said. “My perception is that we have a tremendous asset in productive farmland in Kentucky that is being underutilized.”

The federal tobacco-quota program ended in 2004. Buyout payments to farmers were started under a 2004 law that ended Depression-era tobacco quotas and were to be made annually for 10 years. The last of those payments will be made this fall.

“That happened to coincide with the exit of a relatively large percentage of our farm population due to age and retirement,” Hack said. “So there were a number of people who literally took the money and retired, and they may still hold their land, but they’re not actively farming it.”

David Appelman, extension agent for agriculture in Bracken County in Northern Kentucky, can see some validity to this theory.

“We have lost operating farms because there’s no longer anyone to do the work,” Appelman said. “With the loss of the tobacco program, those farms are sitting idle. … Without tenant farmers and an older farm ownership with no children to take over, there’s an inability to do the work. They can’t maintain the fences, harvest the hay.”

Jessamine County beef farmer Dan Shearer said he sees farms sitting idle, too, “which is not good because it’s out of production. … People took the buyout money and retired and are using their money for something else other than upkeep on the farm.

“When they pass away, their heirs don’t seem to want to farm, and probably most of them couldn’t if they wanted to because they don’t know how,” Shearer said.

Others question Hack’s theory. Michelle Simon, Scott County’s extension agent for agriculture, said she doesn’t see much idle land. Grain farmers in that county “are picking up as much acreage as they can. And I’ve seen a lot of people rolling hay on places that I haven’t before now,” Simon said.

As for the generational shift, Simon said many younger farmers who have tried to get into beef-cattle farming are getting out because the costs are too high for them to get started.

“The older farmers — who you would expect to be the ones who are retiring, who are in their 60s and 70s — are the ones that are sticking it out and staying in,” Simon said. “People in their 50s and 60s are expanding more now.”

Woodford County hay farmer Larry Johnson falls into this category. Johnson, 65, grew up on a farm in Marion County, pursued a 37-year career with IBM and Lexmark in Lexington, then retired in 2004 to devote time to his first love — farming. He grows hay just south of Versailles and sells it to area horse farms. When Johnson added 33 neighboring acres this year to his existing 22, his accountant shook his head.

“He said, ‘And some people play golf,’” Johnson recalled. “I said, ‘Tom, I’m not some people. I’m just different.’”

Once he fixes some fences, Johnson plans to put beef cattle on his expanded acreage. His youngest son has indicated some interest in farming, but Johnson doesn’t see many others planning to join him.

“You don’t find many young kids any more that have any interest in staying with the farm and fighting it — and it’s a fight every day,” Johnson said. “You fight the rain, you fight disease, you fight insects every day.”

Nationwide and statewide, agriculture is about to see a huge transfer of assets, said Adam Probst, Woodford County extension agent for agriculture. The principal operators of Kentucky farms are getting older. The average age was 53.4 in 1997; in 2012 it was 57.6. Estimates are that up to 70 percent of all farmland in the nation will change hands by 2025.

“There aren’t that many new farmers, and we’ve got the oldest generation of farmers we’ve ever had,” Probst said.

As Hack sees it, Kentucky must be “very deliberative” about its agricultural future.

“Do we embrace our agrarian heritage and societal movement to high-quality food and return the land to its highest and best purpose?” he said. “Or do we surrender it permanently to development that really has a pretty short time frame associated with it? It’s a really important question that needs to be more thoroughly discussed.”

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

Read more here:

The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State


“[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can ‘seize’ and ‘search’ him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country.”--U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The U.S. Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. In the police state being erected around us, the police and other government agents can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts.

Whether it’s police officers breaking through people’s front doors and shooting them dead in their homes or strip searching innocent motorists on the side of the road, these instances of abuse are continually validated by a judicial system that kowtows to virtually every police demand, no matter how unjust, no matter how in opposition to the Constitution.

These are the hallmarks of the emerging American police state: where police officers, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace, are part of an elite ruling class dependent on keeping the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

A review of the Supreme Court’s rulings over the past 10 years, including some critical ones this term, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits. In Plumhoff v. Rickard (2014), the Court declared that police officers who used deadly force to terminate a car chase were immune from a lawsuit. The officers were accused of needlessly resorting to deadly force by shooting multiple times at a man and his passenger in a stopped car, killing both individuals.

Police officers can stop cars based only on “anonymous” tips. In a 5-4 ruling inNavarette v. California (2014), the Court declared that police officers can, under the guise of “reasonable suspicion,” stop cars and question drivers based solely on anonymous tips, no matter how dubious, and whether or not they themselves witnessed any troubling behavior. This ruling came on the heels of a ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Westhoven that driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and having acne are sufficient reasons for a police officer to suspect you of doing something illegal, detain you, search your car, and arrest you–even if you’ve done nothing illegal to warrant the stop in the first place.

Secret Service agents are not accountable for their actions, as long as they’re done in the name of security. In Wood v. Moss (2014), the Court granted “qualified immunity” to Secret Service officials who relocated anti-Bush protesters, despite concerns raised that the protesters’ First Amendment right to freely speak, assemble, and petition their government leaders had been violated. These decisions, part of a recent trend toward granting government officials “qualified immunity”–they are not accountable for their actions–in lawsuits over alleged constitutional violations, merely incentivize government officials to violate constitutional rights without fear of repercussion.

Citizens only have a right to remain silent if they assert it. The Supreme Court ruled inSalinas v. Texas (2013) that persons who are not under arrest must specifically invoke their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in order to avoid having their refusal to answer police questions used against them in a subsequent criminal trial. What this ruling says, essentially, is that citizens had better know what their rights are and understand when those rights are being violated, because the government is no longer going to be held responsible for informing you of those rights before violating them.

Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as “search warrants on leashes,” justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside. In Florida v. Harris (2013), a unanimous Court determined that police officers may use highly unreliable drug-sniffing dogs to conduct warrantless searches of cars during routine traffic stops. In doing so, the justices sided with police by claiming that all that the police need to do to prove probable cause for a search is simply assert that a drug detection dog has received proper training. The ruling turns man’s best friend into an extension of the police state.

Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime. InMaryland v. King (2013), a divided Court determined that a person arrested for a crime who is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty must submit to forcible extraction of their DNA. Once again the Court sided with the guardians of the police state over the defenders of individual liberty in determining that DNA samples may be extracted from people arrested for “serious offenses.” While the Court claims to have made its decision based upon concerns of properly identifying criminal suspects upon arrest, what they actually did is open the door for a nationwide dragnet of suspects targeted via DNA sampling.

Police can stop, search, question and profile citizens and non-citizens alike. The Supreme Court declared in Arizona v. United States (2012) that Arizona police officers have broad authority to stop, search and question individuals–citizen and non-citizen alike. While the law prohibits officers from considering race, color, or national origin, it amounts to little more than a perfunctory nod to discrimination laws on the books, while paving the way for outright racial profiling and destroying the Fourth Amendment.

Police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the “offense.” A divided Supreme Court actually prioritized making life easier for overworked jail officials over the basic right of Americans to be free from debasing strip searches. In its 5-4 ruling in Florence v. Burlington (2012), the Court declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a virtual strip search by police or jail officials, which involves exposing the genitals and the buttocks. This “license to probe” is now being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun performing roadside strip searches–some involving anal and vaginal probes–without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.

Immunity protections for Secret Service agents trump the free speech rights of Americans. The court issued a unanimous decision in Reichle v. Howards (2012), siding with two Secret Service agents who arrested a Colorado man simply for daring to voice critical remarks to Vice President Cheney. However, contrast the Court’s affirmation of the “free speech” rights of corporations and wealthy donors in McCutcheon v. FEC (2014), which does away with established limits on the number of candidates an entity can support with campaign contributions, and Citizens United v. FEC (2010) with its tendency to deny those same rights to average Americans when government interests abound, and you’ll find a noticeable disparity.

Police can break into homes without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home. In an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King (2011), the Supreme Court placed their trust in the discretion of police officers, rather than in the dictates of the Constitution, when they gave police greater leeway to break into homes or apartments without a warrant. Despite the fact that the police in question ended up pursuing the wrong suspect, invaded the wrong apartment and violated just about every tenet that stands between us and a police state, the Court sanctioned the warrantless raid, leaving Americans with little real protection in the face of all manner of abuses by police.

Police can interrogate minors without their parents present. In a devastating ruling that could very well do away with what little Fourth Amendment protections remain to public school students and their families–the Court threw out a lower court ruling in Camreta v. Greene (2011), which required government authorities to secure a warrant, a court order or parental consent before interrogating students at school. The ramifications are far-reaching, rendering public school students as wards of the state. Once again, the courts sided with law enforcement against the rights of the people.

It’s a crime to not identify yourself when a policeman asks your name. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada (2004), a majority of the high court agreed that refusing to answer when a policeman asks “What’s your name?” can rightfully be considered a crime under Nevada’s “stop and identify” statute. No longer will Americans, even those not suspected of or charged with any crime, have the right to remain silent when stopped and questioned by a police officer.

The cases the Supreme Court refuses to hear, allowing lower court judgments to stand, are almost as critical as the ones they rule on. Some of these cases, turned away in recent years alone, have delivered devastating blows to the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Legally owning a firearm is enough to justify a no-knock raid by police. Justices refused to hear Quinn v. Texas (2014) the case of a Texas man who was shot by police through his closed bedroom door and whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household.

The military can arrest and detain American citizens. In refusing to hear Hedges v. Obama (2014), a legal challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), the Supreme Court affirmed that the President and the U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals, including American citizens. In so doing, the high court also passed up an opportunity to overturn its 1944 Korematsu v. United States ruling allowing for the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps.

Students can be subjected to random lockdowns and mass searches at school. The Court refused to hear Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools (2013), a case involving students at a Missouri public school who were subjected to random lockdowns, mass searches and drug-sniffing dogs by police. In so doing, the Court let stand an appeals court ruling that the searches and lockdowns were reasonable in order to maintain the safety and security of students at the school.

Police officers who don’t know their actions violate the law aren’t guilty of breaking the law. The Supreme Court let stand a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Brooks v. City of Seattle (2012) in which police officers who clearly used excessive force when they repeatedly tasered a pregnant woman during a routine traffic stop were granted immunity from prosecution. The Ninth Circuit actually rationalized its ruling by claiming that the officers couldn’t have known beyond a reasonable doubt that their actions–tasering a pregnant woman who was not a threat in any way until she was unconscious–violated the Fourth Amendment.

When all is said and done, what these assorted court rulings add up to is a disconcerting government mindset that interprets the Constitution one way for the elite–government entities, the police, corporations and the wealthy–and uses a second measure altogether for the underclasses–that is, you and me.

Keep in mind that in former regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the complicity of the courts was the final piece to fall into place before the totalitarian beast stepped out of the shadows and into the light. If history is a guide, then the future that awaits us is truly frightening.

Time, as they say, grows short.

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead’s aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom. His concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization in Charlottesville, Va. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson.

Global Research Related Articles


Obama nominates 2 for Kentucky judgeships

Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal; 7:02 p.m. EDT June 19, 2014

President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale and Bowling Green lawyer Greg Stivers, a close friend and supporter of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, to fill federal district judgeships in Kentucky.

Hale, a Democrat, was confirmed as U.S. attorney in 2010 by unanimous consent of the Senate, while Stivers was a registered Democrat until November 2009, when he switched to the Republican Party to support Paul as he was mounting his Senate campaign.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said: “Since these vacancies occurred, I have maintained in my consultations with the White House that they be filled with respected, mainstream Kentucky lawyers who understand that their proper role is to faithfully interpret the law, not re-write it or rule according to their personal preferences. Mr. Hale and Mr. Stivers meet these criteria and will serve our Commonwealth well. I am glad the Administration, Senator Paul, and I were able to work together to fill these important positions.”

Paul also praised Hale and Stivers in a statement: “Both of these nominees understand the role of a judge and will approach the job with the sense of justice expected by those who enter their courts. This announcement is an example of all sides — including Senator McConnell and the White House — coming together for the good of the Commonwealth and the country.”

Hale and Stiver would fill two of the four vacancies on the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky. It was reported in April that Courtney Baxter, the commonwealth’s attorney in Oldham, Henry and Trimble counties, was being vetted for a third vacancy in a seat that serves both the western and eastern districts.

The White House issued a statement Thursday saying that Obama was confident that Hale and Stivers will “serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Federal district judges are paid $199,100 a year and are appointed for life.

Paul and Stivers are neighbors, and Paul’s Bowling Green Senate office is in a building that also houses Stivers’ law firm. Stivers contributed $800 to Paul’s campaign, according to federal records.

Reporter Andrew Wolfson can be reached at (502) 582-7189


Kentucky city to build discounted ‘socialist gas stations’

Greg Newkirk,

6:02 PM, Jun 21, 2014

With gas prices steadily making their way into the $4 range this summer, it’s no surprise that people are getting fed up with how light their wallets feel after fueling up. One Kentucky town has decided to tackle the problem in an unexpected way:  with socialism.

Thanks to a pricing feud between fuel distributors and town officials, gas prices in Somerset, Kentucky, have been averaging about $3.74 a gallon, a price that residents are saying can be a solid fifty cents more expensive than most surrounding areas.

The city’s fueling depot, which is sourced from a local refinery and services all city vehicles, sells its gas for just $3.10. Now Somerset aims to pass their savings on to locals by creating a city-owned fuel depot in the middle of town.

Their goal? To undercut private sellers and drive down prices through heavy competition.

“We will have 10 different nozzles in a kiosk,” the town’s economic development business coordinator, George Wilson, told the Commonwealth Journal. “An attendant will be on duty, probably from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., maybe later, to allow customers to pay by cash or credit card. Gasoline will be available at the pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using credit cards.”

Somerset is currently working on installing the new pumps, which will give buyers discounted gas calculated by averaging gas prices from towns within a 50-mile radius. Officials hope to have the new station up and running this summer.

If you’re going to pay a premium for your gasoline, you might as well enjoy fueling up. Check out the guide to the coolest gas stations across America, where the photo ops are totally worth a little extra at the pump.


2-year DVO issued against Glasgow police sergeant

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:16 am

By the Daily News |

A Metcalfe County judge issued a domestic violence order of protection against Glasgow Police Department Sgt. Jarrod Steele, department spokeswoman Julie Anne Williams said.

The order is in place for two years and prohibits Steele from possession of any guns while not on police duty, Williams said.

Glasgow Police Chief Guy Turcotte put Steele on paid administrative leave until further notice.

This is the second Glasgow officer in two weeks to face domestic violence accusations.

Officer Joseph Ford’s estranged wife, Katja Ford, 38, filed June 10 for an emergency protective order, Barren Circuit Court records show. The following day, she filed for divorce. 

The file containing the protection order is not open for public inspection. Kentucky State Police served a domestic violence summons on Ford earlier.