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House Roll Call VOTE ON $700billion

MASSPEOPLE: The Power of the Paradigm


It’s been 17 months since Michael C. Kelley’s arrest made headlines in the Van Buren County Democrat. Hometown newspaper to a close-knit Arkansas community of 17,000, publication of the article was alleged by some as a ‘parting shot’ of the soon-to-retire editor.

Motivation aside, what made the article’s appearance in print and front page placement distinguishable was the vantage-point of the journalism. The perspective it took -- looking at circumstances through an inverse lens; seeing things unfold through the eyes of the person alleged to have committed a crime – told the routinely untold side of a redundantly repetitious story that daily plays out across the pages of hometown papers everywhere throughout the U.S.A.

That first article, published in April of 2007, opened with an assortment of facts about the U.S. prison system and inmates thereto, asserting that the 2 million Americans in prison and jails, with 14,000 of them right here in Arkansas, costs our current justice system over $190 BILLION per year and is incalculably compounded by the exponential costs of wasted lives, wrecked families and dysfunctional children.

This follow-up report reaffirms the position of that previous article and concurs with a rising tide of voices that the adverse cultural consequences of diminished opportunities for economic self-sustainability, weakened communities and social disenfranchisement reverberate far beyond jailhouse walls. Also that contrary to popular perception, the wave of violent crime and adverse social behavior which falls under the purview of our national/global War On Drugs, is of our own making; a consequence of brutal, discriminatory, segregationist hierarchies which determine the scope of (by virtue of their power to enforce) dictatorial policies on those who vehemently object to such unjust, inequitable and abusive treatment.

Resultant of this, as reported in a recent study, one-in-one-hundred Americans is now in jail and roughly 23 out of every 100 inmates has been incarcerated resultant of actions defined by drug war policy as ‘crime’. And in March of 2007, Michael C. Kelley of Shirley, Arkansas, a 62-year-old, newly retired Social Security beneficiary and part-time musician, became another one of these stats.

"Never, when I wrote that article, did I imagine things would take such a convoluted course," Christine L. Beems, also author of this news release and now Chairwoman of The Committee for Honest Law Enforcement, recollected about the long chain of events that strain comprehension and have Kelley, Beems and her daughter, Shalom Weiss at odds with virtually every person of import in their community.

"I grew up here. I was barely one when we arrived," said Weiss who turns 20 this year. "This is my home, and now the things that have happened give me the creeps. I feel violated by the people we are all supposed to trust."

Kelley writes from jail: "A year ago my close friend and confidant, Christine Beems and I founded the Van Buren County Arkansas ad hoc Committee for Honest Law Enforcement. It started as an act of protest over a sinister confidential informant long known in the community for entrapments, ballooned into The Committee’s investigations of the entrapments, burst forth (for a few months) in the local press as huge sums of missing monies in the Sheriff’s Department and a wild and rancorous primary election, and came to the shameful conclusion of my arrest. An arrest for only one purpose – to remove me and quiet The Committee so these criminals would not lose the honey pot they have controlled for the past fifteen years in our county."

Facts pertinent to proving Kelley’s case will come to light as evidence when Kelley, who has spent the last 4 months behind bars resultant of his attempted citizen’s arrest of Joseph Daniel Watts on allegations of drug dealing, comes to trial the this month.

Working in support of Kelley’s vindication, Beems, Weiss, other members of their family and supporters of The Committee have been helping with research, amassing the data and documentation necessary to constitute the ‘preponderance of evidence’ which, according to Kelley’s private council, Kent Tester, factually exists but must be demonstrated to the court in order to secure Kelley’s freedom. "The law is on our side," Tester said. ~~~

For more on this, visit The Committee for Honest Law Enforcement