Saturday, February 17, 2007

Update on Cowboy Ron

There was outrage in Montana when the Cowboy Ron story first broke. Then the story went international when Jack Blood, Alex Jones, and I discussed it on Jack’s GCN show “Deadline Live” last Tuesday—a show which happens to be carried in Montana on KEGZ-AM, the oldest independently owned radio station in the US. This show threw gasoline on an already burning fire. There was an explosion, a big one, which has now resulted in the Montana legislature drafting legislation that would exempt antiques and toys from confiscation as gambling devices. If passed, the bill would be retroactive and result in the return of the confiscated items to Cowboy Ron.

This would not have happened if Cowboy Ron had complied with the agents’ demand that he stop talking to the media. I made this point on Jack Blood’s show, that the thugs of the American Police State are afraid of publicity. Therefore, should you ever find yourself the victim of police brutality, or a police shakedown, or whatever, do not be afraid to go public. Tell the media, send out emails, scream about it to the High Heavens. You will be safer if you do, and if enough people do it we will be able to stop the New World Order dead in its tracks.

And there’s something else you can do. As my friend Brian Roper points out in today’s File 23 blog entry, we can use Big Brother technology to watch Big Brother. Cops use hidden video-cams. So, too, can mom-and-pop antique stores. So, too, can you.

The aforementioned edition of "Deadline Live" is now available as a podcast. Also included in the podcast is a short excerpt from Alex Jones' Wednesday show in which he discussed the Cowboy Ron story. Alex also played a clip from the film "Open Range" which depicts the attitude we as citizens should adapt in dealing with police corruption. To download the podcast click below.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

ARCHIVED: Deadline Live 2-13-07

If you missed my segment on "Deadline Live" last Tuesday, it has now been archived. Go to Real Radio Archives and scroll down to the 2-13-07 show. Select Hour 2 and listen. The host Jack Blood and I discussed the government's thuggish raid on the antique store Cowboy Cabin in Whitefish, Montana (which I wrote about on this blog earlier this week. During the show Alex Jones joined us and added his own insights. It was quite a show. Be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Today's Radio Shows: Deadline Live and the Mack White Show Live

Today (Tuesday, February 13) I'm doing two radio shows. First, I'll be Jack Blood's guest on "Deadline Live" carried on the Genesis Communication Network. The show begins at 2 pm CST / 2000 UTC; my segment begins at 3 pm CST / 2100 UTC. To Listen Live, go HERE and select either Network 1 or 2. The show can also be heard HERE. Then, later tonight there will be a live presentation of my own show on the Anomaly Radio Network. The show starts at 7 pm CST / 0100 and may be heard by going HERE and clicking "Listen" at the top of the page …

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cowboy Ron vs. the Goon Squad

Yesterday I received an email from “Cowboy Ron” Turner describing an outrageous incident that occurred recently in his Old West antique store, the Cowboy Cabin, in Whitefish, Montana. What follows is a brief summary of the incident drawn from newspaper accounts and a phone conversation I had last night with Ron’s son-in-law Clint Walker.

On January 31, the Department of Justice’s Gambling Investigation Division (GID) raided Ron’s store. Two agents (later identified by the Whitefish Police Department as agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [BATF]) confiscated items they said were unlicensed gambling devices.

Ron explained to the agents that the items—two roulette wheels, two punchboards, and a dice cage—were antiques intended for home décor and personal collections. In fact, even if someone wanted to use them as gambling devices, they were too old and fragile for that purpose—also too expensive. The most prized item, for instance, a roulette wheel/table over 100 years old that was used on the set of the television series Gunsmoke, is valued at over $18,000. The total value of the collection is over $77,000.

Ron's explanations fell on deaf ears. The agents began confiscating the antiques. When Ron asked what was going to happen to the antiques, he was told they would be destroyed. Later, however, GID District Supervisor Larry Renman said, “They are historical and I would hate to see them destroyed. They’ll either end up in a museum or they’ll be retained for training purposes.”

Or maybe they’ll end up somewhere else. During the raid, one agent picked up the dice cage and said, “This is going to look great on my desk.”

In addition to the financial loss, Ron is also facing state misdemeanor charges for possession of unlicensed gambling devices and felony charges for transporting the items over state lines. The felony charge is punishable by ten years in federal prison and a $50,000 fine per item.

As Ron’s son-in-law Clint pointed out in our conversation last night, this is a strange way for Montana, a state with innumerable casinos on Indian reservations, to enforce its gambling laws. He notes that the large chain stores, such as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Wal-Mart, sell blackjack tables and other technically illegal gambling devices in large volume--and these devices are brand-new. Why, then, go after one little antique store?

In the days following the raid, the local news media in northwest Montana began covering the story (see links below), which angered the agents who were involved. They returned to the Cowboy Cabin and warned Ron that they would “turn up the heat” if he did not stop talking to the media. However, as evidenced by the email he sent me and others yesterday, Cowboy Ron has not stopped, and is in fact taking this matter beyond the borders of Montana to the rest of the nation.

I believe he is correct in doing so. For one thing, the federal charges and the involvement of the BATF, an agency with a long history of corruption, automatically make this a matter of national interest. Also, this episode is part of a nationwide trend. In every state these days, we encounter an increasing arrogance and abuse of power on the part of police, an overzealousness on the part of bureaucracies that defies common sense, as well as the misapplication of laws in ways that they were never intended when they were written and the criminalization of things that heretofore have been considered quite innocent. Here in Texas last year, for instance, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission was “preventing” drunk driving by slapping public intoxication charges on people sitting in bars who had designated drivers or people in hotel bars who were within a few steps of their rooms. Now, we learn that in Montana valuable pieces of 19th century Americana are considered contraband. The absurdity needs to stop.

State Agents Seize Old West Gambling Items from Antiques Store

Antique Gambling Devices Seized

Montana Dream Suddenly a Nightmare for Owners of Cowboy Cabin