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Breitbart: Supreme Court Second Amendment Case Could …

Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER WASHINGTONFor the first time in U.S. history, a federal appeals court on Friday struck down a federal gun-control law for violating the Second Amendment, meaning that next year the Supreme Court will hear a case that includes the opportunity to abolish citizens right to bear arms by overruling the Courts famous Heller precedent.

Clifford Tyler is a law-abiding and peaceful citizen living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1985, his wife of 23 years was having an adulterous affair. She ran off with the other man and took all of Cliffords money with her. His daughters found him so upset and depressed, banging his head on the floor, that they called the authorities, fearing he might harm himself.

Tyler was taken before a Michigan judge, who ruled there was sufficient reason to be concerned about the distraught man to commit him to a facility for psychiatric evaluation. A couple weeks later the doctors released him with a clean bill of health, saying that he was a perfectly normal person who had a really horrible day. Tyler continued to be a good citizen, a good employee, got remarried, has been a good father, and eventually even repaired his relationship with his unfaithful ex-wife.

Hes now age 74, and wanted to buy a handgun to keep at home for self-defense. But the government told him that federal law bars him from ever owning a gun, so he went to court to assert his Second Amendment rights.

In 2008, the Supreme Court inDistrict of Columbia v. Hellerone of the most famous decisions ever written by Justice Antonin Scaliaheld that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and as such does not allow the federal government to bar law-abiding and peaceable American citizens from keeping a handgun in their home. Heller was a 5-4 decision, and left other gun-rights questions for future cases.

Heller specified that it was not weighing in on certain issues, including laws that prohibit certain people from owning guns. Federal law in 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4) is one of these gun-control laws, providing that no one who has been committed to a mental institution can own firearms.

In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed an NRA-supported law advancing Second Amendment rights, including 18 U.S.C. 925(c), which empowers the Justice Department to restore gun rights if the attorney general finds a particular person to be safe and sane. But Congress stopped funding that program in 1992, canceling out that Reagan-era protection for Americas 90 million gun owners.

So in 2007 Congress passed a new law empowering states to set up their own review process to restore gun rights. Most states have established such a program, but some statesincluding Michigan, where Tyler liveshave not.

The federal district court in Michigan ruled against Tyler, but a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. The Obama administration petitioned the Sixth Circuit to rehear the case en banc, meaning all the judges on the courtin this case, 16 judgeswould reconsider the case.

The petition was granted, and on Sept. 15, by a 10-6 vote in Tyler v. Hillsdale County Sheriffs Department the full Sixth Circuit struck down 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4) as a violation of the Second Amendment, and remanded the case back down to the district court for more hearings. The court noted that Heller said laws that kept mentally ill people from getting guns were allowed under the Second Amendment, but held that Section 922(g)(4) went too far by mandating that any person who has ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institutioneven for a single daycan never own a gun for the rest of his or her life.

Writing the lead opinion for six judges of the en banc court (which is less than a majority, but still the controlling opinion in this case), Judge Julia Gibbons explained that similar to several other appeals courts, the Sixth Circuit had recently adopted a two-step process for Second Amendment cases. The first step asks whether the challenged law burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment right, as historically understood, she wrote. If it does, then the government bears the burden of justifying the constitutionality of the law under a heightened form of scrutiny.

Specifically, these judges decided that intermediate scrutinya term invented decades ago by the Supreme Courtshould apply to this type of gun-control law. As Judge Gibbons wrote, intermediate scrutiny requires (1) the governments stated objective to be important and (2) a reasonable fit between the challenged regulation and the asserted objective. This standard is less stringent than strict scrutiny, which is another judge-made test.

The lead opinion noted that the Justice Department in this case failed to cite historical material or other evidence supporting Section 922(g)(4). In the absence of such evidence, it would be odd to rely solely on Heller to rubber stamp the legislatures power to permanently exclude individuals from a fundamental right based solely on a past involuntary commitment.

Judge Gibbons continued, Some sort of showing must be made to support Congresss adoption of prior involuntary commitments as a basis for a categorical, permanent limitation on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The judges thought this principle applied with special force in this case. Tylers [lawsuit and evidence] suggest that Tyler is thirty years removed from a brief depressive episode and that he has no intervening mental health or substance abuse problems since that time.

None of the governments evidence squarely answers the key question at the heart of this case: Is it necessary to forever bar all previously institutionalized persons from owning a firearm?, the court reasoned. Then noting Congresss own restoration program in Section925(c) and the 2007 law allowing for state restoration programs, added, But the biggest problem for the government is Congresss most recent answer to this very question: No, it is not.

Thus, the court concluded that since the Obama administration presented no evidence supporting this statute, There is no indication of the continued risk presented by people who were involuntarily committed many years ago and who have no history of intervening mental illness, criminal activity, or substance abuse.

The Sixth Circuit thereby invalidated this federal law, holding, As we see it, the government may justify 922(g)(4) in one of two ways: (1) with additional evidence explaining the necessity of 922(g)(4)s lifetime ban or (2) with evidence showing that 922(g)(4) is constitutional as applied to Tyler because he would be a risk to himself or others were he allowed to possess a firearm.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote a separate opinion, joined by several judges, as to why this federal law must be struck down.

Keep in mind that Tyler is not demanding a gun today, he wrote. He is demanding only what Congress used to permit and what most States still permit: an opportunity to show that he is not a risk to himself or others.

After a lengthy discussion, Judge Sutton continued, If there is one thing clear in American law today, it is that the government may not deny an individual a benefit, least of all a constitutional right, based on a sky-high generalization and a skin-deep assumption stemming from a long-ago diagnosis or a long-ago institutionalization.

Tyler has presented plenty of evidence that he is just fine, Judge Sutton concluded.

Judge Karen Moorea Clinton-appointed liberal who is a perfect example of the sort of judge Hillary Clinton would be expected to nominate to the Supreme Courtwrote an energetic dissent, joined by several other liberal judges. In it, she argued that Tyler should never be allowed to own a gun, and that Congress has all the power it needs to ban gun ownership by many other types of Americans as well.

Judge Moore also argued for the dissenting judges that Heller should be interpreted as saying that the Second Amendment does nothing to block federal gun-control power here, a reading that is utterly incompatible with what Justice Scalia actually wrote.

Although the Cincinnati-based appeals court reached the right result, it did not do so for the right reasons.

In fact, the only judge who followed Justice Scalias famous originalist approach in Hellerthe method of interpreting the Constitution and all laws according to the original meaning of their words, a method always followed by Justice Clarence Thomas, and often followed by Justice Samuel Alito as wellwas Judge Alice Batchelder.

Judge Batchelder faulted both the lead opinion and the dissenting opinion for failing to give adequate attention to the Second Amendments original public meaning in defining the contours of the mental health exception. And it is that meaning, informed as it is by the history and tradition surrounding the right, that counts.

She continued that the other opinions debate over strict and intermediate scrutiny gives little more than a nod to the originalist inquiry. This shortchanging of the Supreme Courts approach in Heller (and many other cases) thereby radically marginalizes the role played by the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment, and it replaces them with a thoroughly modern (and judge empowering) regime of heightened-scrutiny review.

The appeals courts taking such a course here is a forbidden peregrination from the actual meaning of the Constitution into the realm of judicial policymaking. Instead of fixating on strict or intermediate scrutiny with only a glance at history, the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald put the historical inquiry at the center of the analysis, not at the margin.

Judge Batchelder then explored sources from the time of the Constitutions writing, examining what they said about mental illness, including the relevant factor here of when a person is unable to distinguish good from evil, and could be deprived by the law of certain rights.

She then noted that such deprivations were not once-for-all, and cited numerous sources from the time the Second Amendment was adopted to show that if a person regained their reason and sense of morality, they were no longer regarded as mentally ill.

Judge Batchelder then concluded:

As has been mentioned many times today, the dangers presented by guns are real, frightening, and obvious. Those realities will continue to factor heavily in the scrutiny analysis. Less obvious to the contemporary judicial mind are the Founding-era fears of tyranny and defenselessness that provided the impetus behind the Second Amendment. Whether the Founding generation struck a wise balance in ratifying that amendment is perhaps debatable. What is not debatable is that we federal judgesare neither philosopher kings empowered to fix things according to the dictates of what we fancy is our superior insight, nor rubber stamps, approving whatever laws the legislatures of this country happen to pass. We are bound, rather, by our oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and we must therefore show restraint when that document restrains us and be active when it commands action.

As important as the Sixth Circuits Tyler decision is, that is not the most newsworthy aspect of this case. Because now a federal appeals court has struck down an Act of Congress on constitutional grounds.

That means the Obama administrations solicitor general will now petition the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari to review this case. Under these rare circumstances, it is virtually 100 percent certain that the justices will grant review and hear the case.

That means that the Second Amendment will be back before the Supreme Court in 2017, after a ninth justice has been confirmed to replace Scalia. The Second Amendment has survived twice at the Supreme Court over the past decade, both by only 5-4 votes.

One of the ways that the justices could rule in favor of the federal government would be to overrule Heller, and hold that the Second Amendment does not apply at all to private citizens. [The leftist view of the Second Amendment is that its only meaning is that the federal government cannot stop state governments from arming their National Guard (i.e., militia) units with guns.]

So declarations from Donald Trump and Mike Pence that gun rights are in danger is no longer hypothetical. It is now certain. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the Second Amendment can be effectively erased from the U.S. Constitution.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

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History of the War on Drugs – About.com News & Issues

Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:34 am

By Tom Head

At the turn of the 20th century, the drug market went mostly unregulated. Medical remedies, which often contained cocaine or heroin derivatives, were freely distributed without prescription–and without much consumer awareness of which drugs were potent and which were not. A caveat emptor attitude towards medical tonics could have meant the difference between life and death.

The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 targeted toxic drugs, and was expanded to address misleading drug labels in 1912. But the piece of legislation most relevant to the War on Drugs was the Harrison Tax Act of 1914, which restricted the sale of heroin and was quickly used to restrict the sale of cocaine as well.

And into this new national enforcement framework came the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which attempted to tax marijuana into oblivion Marijuana had not been shown to be dangerous, but the perception that it might be a “gateway drug” for heroin users–and its alleged popularity among Mexican-American immigrants–made it an easy target. More

Not that it did so alone. The Boggs Act of 1951 had already established mandatory minimum federal sentences for possession of marijuana, cocaine, and opiates, and a committee led by Senator Price Daniel (D-TX, shown left) called that the federal penalties be increased further, as they were with the Narcotic Control Act of 1956.

But it was Eisenhower’s establishment of the U.S. Interdepartmental Committee on Narcotics, in 1954, in which a sitting president first literally called for a war on drugs.

So when the Nixon administration looked for ways to block the import of marijuana from Mexico, it took the advice of radical nativists: close the border. Operation Intercept imposed strict, punitive searches of traffic along on the U.S.-Mexican border in an effort to force Mexico to crack down on marijuana. The civil liberties implications of this policy are obvious, and it was an unmitigated foreign policy failure, but it demonstrated how far the Nixon administration was prepared to go.

Nixon also targeted the trendy, psychedelic image of illegal drugs, asking celebrities such as Elvis Presley (shown left) to help him send the message that drug abuse is unacceptable. Seven years later, Presley himself fell to drug abuse; toxicologists found as many as fourteen legally prescribed drugs, including narcotics, in his system at the time of his death.

The addition of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the federal law enforcement apparatus in 1973 was a significant step in the direction of a criminal justice approach to drug enforcement. If the federal reforms of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 represented the formal declaration of the War on Drugs, the Drug Enforcement Administration became its foot soldiers.

It is not insignificant that the policy also came with political benefits. By portraying drugs as a threat to children, the administration was able to pursue more aggressive federal antidrug legislation.

Then along came crack, cocaine processed into little rocks at a price non-yuppies could afford. Newspapers printed breathless accounts of black urban “crack fiends” and the drug of rock stars suddenly grew more sinister to white middle America.

Congress and the Reagan administration responded with the Antidrug Act of 1986, which established a 100:1 ratio for mandatory minimums associated with cocaine. It would take 5,000 grams of powdered “yuppie” cocaine to land you in prison for a minimum 10 years–but only 50 grams of crack.

So when Senator Joe Biden’s 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill included a provision allowing for the federal execution of drug kingpins, it indicated that the War on Drugs had ultimately reached such a level that drug-related offenses were regarded by the federal government as equivalent to, or worse than, murder and treason.

What is confusing is the issue of what happens when a state declares that a drug can be made legal with a prescription, and the federal government bullheadedly insists on targeting it as an illegal drug anyway. This happened in 1996 when California legalized marijuana for medical use. The Bush and Obama administrations have arrested California medical marijuana distributors anyway.

So far, the Obama administration’s actual drug policy enforcement has not differed significantly from that of the Bush administration. But the War on Drugs has always been a rhetorical convention–you can’t declare war on inanimate objects, social phenomena, moods, or abstractions–and it’s a rhetorical convention that has determined the way our country views drug policy enforcement. Acknowledging that this is a policy initiative, not a war, is a good step.

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Were Russians Involved in NSA Hack? – NBC News

Posted: August 19, 2016 at 4:08 am

Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he delivers a speech during the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark, June 28 2016. Mathias Loevgreen Bojesen / Scanpix Denmark via Reuters

In clumsily worded English, the Shadow Brokers also boasted online that they were saving their best stolen material for a public auction, to be sold to the highest bidder.

Since then, many cybersecurity experts — including some former NSA officials — have come to believe the material posted by the Shadow Brokers is indeed “exploits” and other specially constructed pieces of malware created by the NSA to break into the computers and communications devices of governments like Iran and China, as well as companies and individuals, and to either steal or manipulate the data they contain.

Snowden, the self-described superhacker spy, took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he thinks the public posting of what he described as NSA cybertools may be part of a broader influence operation by Russia.

The U.S. intelligence community believes Russia is behind numerous hacks of entities and people associated with the Democratic Party over the past year, and federal authorities are investigating them and the subsequent release of information via WikiLeaks and other outlets. Many U.S. officials believe those hacks are part of an effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to help his favored candidate, Republican Donald Trump, and hinder his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

But so far, the Obama administration hasn’t formally accused Russia or taken steps to publicly confront it or issue sanctions. And Snowden speculated that Russia may be using the weekend disclosures to warn the White House against taking such actions.

In one tweet, Snowden noted that the “undetected hacker squatting on this NSA server lost access in June 2013,” suggesting the hackers have been sitting on the material for three years.

“Why did they do it? No one knows, but I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack,” Snowden tweeted. He also said the weekend postings “may be an effort to influence the calculus of decision-makers wondering how sharply to respond to the DNC hacks. This leak looks like a somebody [sic] sending a message that an escalation in the attribution game could get messy fast.”

The NSA leaker also said any U..S. action against Russia could result in the public disclosure of embarrassing information about cyber-operations of its own: “Here’s why that is significant,” Snowden said. “This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server.”

Such a disclosure could have huge foreign policy consequences, Snowden said, especially if it shows that NSA hackers were targeting U.S. allies. “Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections,” he said.

The NSA did not respond to requests for comment, but when asked if the agency had been hacked, one NSA official told NBC News that, “I don’t have anything for you on that.”

NSA expert James Bamford said the hack appeared to be significant, but he cautioned against pointing the finger at Russia, especially the government, given how many different groups of hackers routinely target NSA servers.

“There are so many unknowns here, and a lot of people in the hacking community don’t think this is the Russian government,” said Bamford, the author of three books about the NSA who has also visited Snowden in Russia and interviewed him there.

“I don’t know how Snowden would have any idea who did this, sitting there in an apartment in Moscow,” Bamford said. “Even the NSA probably doesn’t know who did this.”

In recent days, other security experts also have come to believe that the computer code comes from the NSA and that Russia is behind its theft and release.

Former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker told NBC News that “there is a lot of consensus among technical experts” that the cybertools were indeed stolen from the NSA, most likely from an external command and control server created to launch hacking operations that couldn’t be traced back to the U.S.

“The more disastrous and less likely scenario is that someone has hacked U.S. infrastructure and extracted large files,” said Baker, a prominent international cybersecurity lawyer.

Either way, the weekend postings are cause for dismay, Baker said, noting that “the assumption that it is Russian intelligence is a good first estimate, as it’s one of a half dozen leaks of information directly hostile to the U.S. government and U.S. institutions.”

“It shows how very sophisticated the spy-vs-spy game in cyberspace has become,” he said. “What we are now seeing is an example of one spy agency trying to compromise the infrastructure of another spy agency and how that it is happening at an almost unfathomably sophisticated level.”

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Latinos For Tennessee | Faith, Family, Freedom, and Fiscal …

Posted: July 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Donate Supreme Court Affirms Rule of Law; Separation of Powers in DAPA Ruling

June 23, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 23, 2016 Supreme Court Affirms Rule of Law; Separation of Powers in DAPA Ruling Nashville, Tennessee The Supreme Court of the United States handed down President Barack Obama a major defeat by deadlocking on the United States v Texas, No. 15-674, a case concerning the legality of an

March 29, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 29, 2016 Latinos for Tennessee Urges Passage of HB2414 Nashville, Tennessee Today, Raul Lopez, Executive Director for Latinos for Tennessee, a statewide organization dedicated to promoting and defending faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility to the Latino community in Tennessee issued a statement concerning Tennessee House Bill 2414,

March 23, 2016

President Barack Obama made history this week by becoming the first sitting United States President in nearly nine decades to visit the communist island of Cuba. As a Cuban that fled to the United States seeking refuge from Communism, it has been tough to watch images of the president shaking hands with Cuban President Raul

March 17, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 17, 2016 Media contact: Israel Ortega izzy.ortega@gmail.com (202) 345-9130 Latinos for Tennessee Salutes Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey Nashville, Tennessee For over two decades, Tennesseans have been able to rely on Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey as a tireless advocate for freedom, limited government and the free enterprise system. Latinos

February 27, 2016

Even as the number of Latinos in Nashville and elsewhere around the country grows, misinformation abounds about the fastest and youngest growing demographic community. The biggest misconception is that Latinos all speak in one voice. This is patently false and does a great deal of disservice to the millions of individuals who are unique and

February 11, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2016 Media contact: Israel Ortega izzy.ortega@gmail.com (202) 345-9130 Tennessee House Honors Tommy Vallejos, Latinos for Tennessee Board Chairman Nashville, Tennessee Today, the Tennessee House honored Clarksville, TN County Commissioner Tommy Vallejos, a gang-member turned U.S. Army Gulf War Veteran and now Pastor, for his contributions to the

October 12, 2015

September 16, 2015

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 16, 2015 Media contact: Israel Ortega iortega@crispcomm.com (202) 345-9130 Latinos for Tennessee Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month Makes Appeal to Policymakers for Greater School Choice to Help Close Educational Achievement Gap Nashville, Tennessee Latinos for Tennessee, an organization dedicated to providing the Hispanic community in the state with information

August 24, 2015

When the job numbers came out early this month, they were not pretty especially for the Latino community. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate for the Latino community had risen to 6.8% well above the national average of 5.3%. These numbers suggest that in spite of claims that

July 14, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14, 2015 Media contact: Israel Ortega iortega@crispcomm.com (202) 345-9130 Latinos for Tennessee Co-Hosts Nashville Mayoral Forum on Tuesday Six candidates for Mayor confirmed to attend; Metro Council Candidates also confirmed Nashville, Tennessee Six of the seven candidates vying to become the next mayor of Nashville are set to appear before

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Immigration’s Human Cost – human consequences of open …

Posted: July 23, 2016 at 4:26 am

Welcome to Immigrations Human Cost, a website that focuses on the fact that illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.

You can view archives from our original site by following the link in the navigation panel to the right.

Houston mother of five, Tina Davila (picured), was stabbed to death in 2008 when Timoteo Rios tried to hijack her SUV, but she refused to give up the keys because her 4-month-old baby was in the vehicle. The killer was identified by the surveillance tapes from the store near the crime and he quickly fled to Mexico.

He had been arrested earlier for marijuana possession but had not been deported. See my blog from the time, Whyd They Let Him Go? Previously Arrested Illegal Alien Kills Woman In Carjacking Attempt.

Now, more than two years later, the Mexican government has extradited Rios to be tried in Houston. Unfortunately, the extradition come with the usual Mexican requirement that the death penalty not be pursued by the prosecution.

The murder deprived five children of their loving mom, and that kind of pain never goes away. The kids are relieved that some justice may be at hand, but terrible memories are returning. The clip following is from KIAH-TV in Houston, Murder Suspect Faces Extradition.

Illegal immigrant extradited in Houston moms death, Houston Chronicle Blog, December 13, 2010

Tina Davilas youngest child, Kaylynn, was just 4 months old, a chubby-cheeked baby strapped snugly into a car seat, when her mother was stabbed to death fighting off a carjacker in the spring of 2008.

On Saturday, Davilas family will get together to celebrate Kaylynns third birthday. For Davilas older children, the birthday is a reminder of how much time has passed since their mother was buried at a cemetery on the citys east side.

Finally this weekend, her family members saw the main suspect in her murder, 26-year-old Timoteo Rios, extradited to Houston. And as grateful as they are that Rios will have to answer for Davilas death, the extradition has reopened old wounds.

I guess it just brings back too much pain and memories. I think my kids were having a hard time, said Eric Matt, 43, Davilas ex-husband and father of her three eldest children. Each one of them, it makes them angry. It makes them wonder why. With the holidays and everything, it just makes it really hard.

Davilas eldest daughter, 20-year-old Patricia Matt, said the extradition one year and four months after Rios arrest in Mexico brings some relief, but also has dredged up difficult memories. She said she recently saw the video of her mothers April 2008 murder, captured on a surveillance camera outside a Harris County cell phone store, on the news again.

The video shows Davila struggling with a suspect for her car keys before shes stabbed. Witnesses said she screamed, My baby, my baby! before stumbling into the store and collapsing. The carjackers left without taking the SUV, and Kaylynn was unharmed.

We have to go through all of these feelings again, said Patricia Matt, a nursing student who attends San Jacinto Community College. Were pretty much reliving what we first felt.

After Rios was charged with capital murder and fled to Mexico, his case became a high-profile example of problems with Immigration and Customs Enforcement screening at Harris Countys jails.

Rios, an illegal immigrant with a criminal record, had admitted to local law enforcement twice before the slaying that he was in the country illegally, but had not been deported, according to arrest and immigration records.

I just dont think its fair that you can come here without papers and get all of these tickets but not be deported, Eric Matt said. I dont understand why they didnt do anything way back then.

Since spring 2008, the Harris County Sheriffs Office and ICE have taken steps to increase screening at the local jail, which was the first site in the nation to participate in Secure Communities, a federal program that automatically checks inmates fingerprints against an immigration database. The county also participates in ICEs controversial 287(g) program, which deputizes local law enforcement to help ICE agents identify and detain suspected illegal immigrants in detention. Continue reading this article

In August 2007, three college students who were hanging out in a schoolyard were brutally attacked and shot to death by six MS-13 gangsters. Another young woman managed to survive, despite her terrible injuries, which have left her with facial paralysis to this day. The two women were raped and hacked with machetes.

See my report on the first trial First Newark Schoolyard Trial Gets Conviction.

One man, Melvin Jovel, confessed to being the only shooter, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Admitted triggerman in Newark schoolyard slayings receives three consecutive life terms plus 20 years, Newark Star-Ledger, November 4, 2010

Of the six young men who authorities say set upon a group of college friends behind a Newark schoolyard, fatally shooting three execution-style and leaving the fourth badly hurt, only one pulled the trigger.

The admitted gunman, Melvin Jovel, 21, was sentenced this morning to three consecutive life terms in prison plus 20 years.

Jovel had pleaded guilty in September to three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and weapons charges in the Aug. 4, 2007 attack behind Mount Vernon School.

Jovel said he alone shot in the head Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harve. Moments later, he walked over to Natasha Aeriel, Terrances sister, and shot her in the head. Only Natasha Aeriel survived.

He tried to take my life. I dont even know what to say, Natasha Aeriel said in court, before Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin imposed his sentence. Aeriel, now 22, made several prayer readings and said she even thanked Jovel for allowing me to get closer to Christ.

She added, he tried to take my life. I dont even know what to say.

Jovel, who listened through a Spanish translator, said little except to tell the judge that one of the other co-defendants, Rodolfo Godinez, sentenced in July to identical counts, had nothing to do with the killings.

While noting that by pleading guilty Jovel spared the victims families another trial, Judge Ravin said he did not believe that was the defendants motivation. Ravin said of the defendant, He was the slaughterer. He was the executioner.

The brutality of the killings Hightower and Natasha Aeriel were sexually assaulted and attacked with a machete shocked the city and became a rallying cry for community groups and Mayor Cory Booker to end the gun violence that has plagued Newark for years.

The six defendants are said to be affiliated with MS 13, a violent Central American street gang.

Jovel is the second defendant to be convicted in the killing. Ravin had sentenced Godinez on the same counts, which under New Jersey law, adds up to 245 years in prison. A jury found Godinez guilty on all charges at his trial in May.

The remaining defendants, Jose Carranza, 31, Shahid Baskerville, 18, Gerardo Gomez, 18, and 20-year-old Alexander Alfaro who is Godinezs half-brother will be tried separately.

The current AP story about the sentencing notes that Jovel is an illegal alien, a fact that was strongly hinted in his first court appearance where he swore innocence:

Newark slay suspect pleads not guilty, Newark Star-Ledger, August 21, 2007

Jovel, who is from Honduras, told the judge he does not have a Social Security number or a green card, but his immigration status remains unclear, prosecutors said. A U.S. passport was found among his belongings when he was arrested Sunday night, but officials are still trying to determine whether the passport is valid, Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Thomas A. McTigue said. Federal authorities have placed a detainer on Jovel because his status is uncertain, McTigue said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials participated in Jovels arrest, and a spokesman for the agency said it becomes involved when they suspect a person is in the county illegally.

Below, criminals Melvin Jovel, Jose Carranza and Rodolfo Godinez.

There are many tragic stories about the victims of illegal alien criminals, but it doesnt get much worse than the deaths of Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19. The couple died in a fiery crash in April 2009 when their car burst into flames after being struck by illegal alien Felix Ortega, who was drunk at three times the legal limit for Alabama.

The prosecutor put together a deal where Ortega pleaded guilty to two murders in return for a 15 year sentence and eligibility for parole in 12.5 years. It was acceptable to both families who presumably didnt want to go through a trial where the horrific details of their kids deaths would be brought out. Even so, the plea agreement seems weak punishment indeed for the preventable deaths of two young people with their whole lives ahead of them.

Tad Mattles mother to Felix Ortega: I hope every day you will think about them, Huntsville Times Blog, August 30, 2010

HUNTSVILLE, AL The mother of one of two Huntsville teens killed when illegal immigrant Felix Ortega slammed into their car in 2009 told him in court today that she hopes he thinks about their deaths every day.

Felix Ortega pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of murder for the traffic deaths of Tad Mattle and Leigh Anna Jimmerson and received a 15-year sentence as part of a plea agreement. Ortega entered the plea before Circuit Judge Dennis ODell for the April 17, 2009, crash that killed Grissom High School sophomore Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19, a 2008 Grissom graduate.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Whitesburg Drive and Airport Road, after Ortega had fled in his truck from a Huntsville police officer whod been called after Ortega hit another car in his apartment building parking lot.

Mattles Toyota burst into flames after the accident, but police have said the collision caused their deaths before the fire started. Prosecutors said Ortegas blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

After he was sentenced, Ortega, who had an interpreter in court helping translate the proceedings from English to Spanish, asked to address the teens families. The parents of both teens were in the courtroom and Ortega spoke to them in English.

I just want to say I never meant for this to happen, he said. I am really sorry for the pain I caused your family and my family. I just pray to God that you find it in your heart, so you can forgive me. I wish I could change it. Thats all.

Tad Mattles mother, Terri Mattle, then addressed Ortega, questioning whether he was breathing a sigh of relief when the teens parents would never see their children breathe again. She told him that both teens were beautiful and had their whole lives in front of them when he took them away. She questioned whether when he took that first drink that day he realized what would happen.

I hope everyday you will think about them, she said. Its not fair. We hurt everyday. It doesnt bring them back and it never will. [. . .]

[District Attorney Rob] Broussard said hes not concerned about public criticism of the plea agreement, given that the difference in Alabama law between reckless murder and reckless manslaughter can be a somewhat fuzzy standard for juries.

I dont worry about that as long as I know Im doing my duty and the most competent job I can in this county, Broussard said. With a guy like Felix Ortega, under these facts, its my duty to keep him off the streets for as long as I am able.

Broussard was asked how the sentence might affect the families and their suffering.

It is my experience that the families will always suffer the loss, no matter what the sentence, even if the defendant gets the death penalty, which was not an option in this case, he said. They will always have a hole in their hearts for that lost loved one. The plea agreement allowed us to avoid having to relive the horrible facts in this case.

Below is a remembrance video of Tad and Leigh Anna, celebrating their brief lives. Why didnt their country protect them from foreign criminals?

A stiff sentence was handed down to Jaime Alvarado, a serial drunk-driving twice-deported illegal alien, who killed Nashville businessman Robert Benn shortly after he arrived in Austin for a new job.

Benn was driving from the airport when his car was struck by the inebriated Alvarado as the Guatemalan was fleeing police because he feared being deported.

In a cruel coincidence for the family, Benns granddaughter was born a few hours before he was killed, so he never got to meet her. Robert Benn was 64 and had three children.

Repeat drunken driver gets 50 years for fatal wreck , Austin Statesman, September 15, 2010

A drunken driver who caused a fatal accident while fleeing police in East Austin last year was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by a Travis County jury.

Jaime Bonilla Alvarado, 24, had pleaded guilty earlier in the week to murder in the death of Robert Benn, 64, an information technology consultant from Nashville, Tenn., who was in Austin on business.

Alvarado is a construction worker from Honduras who prior to the Aug. 31, 2009, crash had been convicted of drunken driving three times and deported twice. Some of Alvarados family members cried when the verdict was read in state District Judge Jim Coronados court.

After the verdict, Benns daughter Andrea McKee took the witness stand and told Alvarado that she often thinks of her fathers last moments, alone in a strange city. She told Alvarado that her daughter was born earlier the day of Benns death.

Benns wife, Sherrie Benn, said: I wanted justice for Bob. I think we got justice.

Alvarado faced from five years to life in prison. During closing arguments, his lawyer, Brad Urrutia, asked for 25 years.

He is remorseful, and he is repentant.

Prosecutor Erika Sipiora asked for 50 years. She noted that according to Alvarados testimony, he was warned four times the night of the crash not to drive drunk: by two store clerks, a friend and his wife.

For the second time in the trial, she showed video of the smoky crash, taken by a police officers dashboard camera.

Where on this video does it show that Jaime Alvarado was taking into consideration anyone but himself? she asked.

Earlier in the day, Alvarado took the stand and told the jury about his life. He said he grew up poor and received only an elementary school education in the small Honduran town of Santa Rita Yoro.

He said he first came to the United States in 2005, when he was 19, but was caught on his way to Houston and deported. He said he returned soon after and settled with his twin sister and two brothers in Austin.

All three of his DWI arrests were in East Austin in 2006 and 2007. He did not show up for court each time, and when he was finally arrested, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 days in jail. He was later convicted in federal court of illegal re-entry by a deported alien and was deported again.

Alvarado said he returned to the U.S. within a month of his deportation and worked as a construction worker. He testified that he worked on a house near Loop 360 on the day of the crash a Monday. He said that after work, he bought a 24-ounce Dos Equis beer, a 12-pack of Corona beer and a six-pack of Dos Equis. He drank most of the beer, he said, in a park and in his Lincoln Navigator near a disco on East Riverside Drive.

He was heading home when he drove north on Pleasant Valley Road past a police car and the officer noticed him speeding and playing loud music, according to testimony.

Alvarado did not stop, even though officer Christopher Geck turned on his lights and sirens attempting to make a traffic stop. Alvarado said he was afraid of being deported and ultimately decided he would try to drive home before being arrested so his SUV would not be impounded. [. . .]

Alvarado, who had a 0.20 blood alcohol level, 21/2 times the legal limit, suffered only minor injuries.

On August 1, a previously arrested drunk-driving illegal alien killed a nun, Denise Mosier (pictured left), and seriously injured two others. The alien, Carlos Martinelly Montano (pictured right), had twice been handed over to ICE for deportation, but had instead been released into the community pending a deportation hearing (occasions which have notably poor attendance among those invited).

A few days later, the Chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, Corey Stewart requested information from ICE that would reveal how many illegal aliens are being released by the agency into the county and their crimes.

The rather surprising news is that ICE has agreed:

ICE Agrees to Release Illegal Immigrant Data to Virginia Official, Fox News, August 7, 2010

ICE contacted me this morning, with great news for Prince William County citizens. They have agreed to release to Prince William County the identities and final disposition of every convicted criminal illegal alien apprehended in Prince William County, Virginia and turned over to ICE through the countys 287(g) partnership, Stewart said in a statement.

Stewart said his countys police referred Carlos Martinelly Montano for deportation twice in the past after he served sentences for drunk driving convictions. But immigration officials released Montano, who allegedly killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns in the Aug. 1 accident, on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing.

Regardless of which side of the aisle youre on, or on this issue, we can all agree that if you are an illegal alien and youve committed a crime, that you should be deported afterward, Stewart told Fox News on Friday. But this guy had been twice handed over to immigration officials and twice released back into the community even though there was an immigration detainer on him. And of course hes gone right back out and committed the same crime and killed a nun.

This is good news if true. Dependable illegal alien crime statistics are normally hard to find and squishy. The government has routinely covered up, lied about and obfuscated the degree to which predatory foreign criminals have had their way in easy-going America. Authorities like to say they are pursuing the real bad guys, but recent history is replete with multiple cases of dangerous aliens arrested and released without being deported, with tragic results. (One crime that comes to mind is the preventable deaths of Tennesseeans Sean and Donna Wilson at the hands of a drunk-driving illegal who had been arrested 14 times without being deported.)

Some information about illegal alien crime is available, but mostly in limited quantities for local jurisdictions. For example in 2008 the Houston Chronicle did a fine investigative series on alien crime from researching the Harris County records of arrests and releases. The use of 287(g) which checks the status of arrested persons makes the number of aliens arrested available.

A recently released stat from ICEs home office is that 120,000 criminal aliens have been deported in the last three years,/a>. That number is only 40,000 per year, and doesnt count the crimes or classify them regarding violence and deaths. Whats needed is a true picture of the mayhem resulting from open borders and inadequate immigration law enforcement. Of course, all working aliens are job thieves (and may use a stolen Social Security number, a felony), which is not an insignificant crime during this employment depression.

Statistics are lifeless artifacts, which is why I have focused on the individual stories of crime victims for ImmigrationsHumanCost.org, but numeric information is required to develop adequate enforcement policy.

Anyway, the video below has more about Supervisor Stewarts success in getting ICE to reveal local statistics, particularly the number of dangerous foreigners released instead of deported. Obviously the death of Sister Denise Mosier indicates the Obama gang is no more serious about criminal alien enforcement than previous administrations.

From the sanctuary city of Houston: Shatavia Anderson, a 14-year-old girl, was shot in the back and killed by a Salvadoran illegal alien and his Honduran associate, apparently just to rob her.

Suspect in fatal shooting of teen was deported twice, Houston Chronicle, August 12, 2010

The suspect in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Houston girl was an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who previously was deported twice by immigration officials, authorities said.

Melvin Alvarado, 22, was convicted of two separate intoxicated driving offenses in Harris County in 2006 and 2007, criminal records show. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail in connection with the last arrest in November 2007.

Gregory Palmore, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said immigration officials removed Alvarado from the country in April 2008 and again in May 2009.

Palmore said it was unclear from his records whether Alvarado was picked up directly from Harris County Jail after the last intoxicated driving conviction.

The second suspect in the fatal shooting of Shatavia Anderson on Saturday, Jonathan Lopez-Torres, 18, was a lawful permanent resident from Honduras, Palmore said. Harris County records show Lopez-Torres was arrested and accused of auto theft in February 2009. That charge was later dismissed.

The two suspects allegedly saw Anderson as merely a target of opportunity for an armed robbery, Houston police homicide detectives said Wednesday.

Read the rest here:

Immigration’s Human Cost – human consequences of open …

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U.S. Mission to NATO

Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:09 am

11 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Warsaw Declaration on Transatlantic Security Warsaw Summit Communiqu NATO-EU Joint Declaration Commitment to Enhance Resilience Cyber Defense Pledge NATO Policy for the Protection of Civilians

10 July | Fact Sheets, U.S. & NATO

FACT SHEET: U.S. and NATO Efforts in Support of NATO Partners, including Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova From The White House The United States strongly

10 July | Fact Sheets, U.S. & NATO

FACT SHEET: U.S. Contributions to Enhancing Allied Resilience From The White House At the NATO Warsaw Summit, heads of state and government will commit their

9 July | NATO Summits, President Barack Obama, Speeches, Transcripts

Remarks by President Obama at Press Conference After NATO Summit July 9,2016 PRESIDENT OBAMA:Good evening, everybody. Once again, I want to thank the government and

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the Level of Heads of State and Government We, the Heads of State and Government of the

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

The Warsaw Declaration on Transatlantic Security Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Endorsed by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016 I. INTRODUCTION 1.

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016 1. We, the

9 July | Fact Sheets

FACT SHEET: NATOs Enduring Commitment to Afghanistan From The White House NATOs mission in Afghanistan has been the Alliances largest and one of its

9 July | NATO Summits, Speeches

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Opening Remarks Following the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the Level of Heads of State and Government in

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Alliesand their Resolute Support Operational Partners We, the Heads of State and Government of

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Cyber Defence Pledge 1. In recognition of the new realities of security threats to NATO, we, the Allied Heads of State and Government, pledge to

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw, 8-9 July 2016 We, the Heads

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Joint statement of the NATO-Georgia Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers We, Allied Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Minister of Georgia, met today in

8 July | NATO Summits, Speeches, Transcripts

Press Statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Signing Ceremony of the EU-NATO Joint Declaration Followed by Statements by President Tuskand PresidentJuncker July

8 July | NATO Summits, President Barack Obama, Speeches

Remarks by President Obama, President Tusk of the European Council, and President Juncker of the European Commission After U.S.-EU Meeting July 8, 2016 PRESIDENT OBAMA:

8 July | Cooperative Security, Fact Sheets, U.S. & NATO

FACT SHEET: U.S. Assurance and Deterrence Efforts in Support of NATO Allies From The White House In the last 18 months, the United States

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Joint Declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

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U.S. Mission to NATO

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Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

Posted: July 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Latest Articles

The rules fell short of many environmentalists demands to cut off such drilling entirely, but oil companies complained that they would stymie exploration.


The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.


Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.


The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.


The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.


The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.


The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.


The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.


Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.


Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.


Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.


The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.


Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.


The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.


The rules fell short of many environmentalists demands to cut off such drilling entirely, but oil companies complained that they would stymie exploration.


The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.


Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.


The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.


The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.


The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.


The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.


The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.


Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.


Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.


Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.


The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.


Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.


The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.


Continued here:

Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

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Is this the dawn of bake-me-a-cake libertarianism …

Posted: June 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

The Libertarian Party just nominated two former governors, New Mexico’s Gary Johnson for president and Massachusetts’ Bill Weld for vice president, in a year when more voters than ever may look for a third choice.

But Johnson and Weld at times seem to be working hard to push away one particularly homeless voting bloc that could ally with Libertarians this year: social conservatives. From their rhetoric to their policy proposals, the Libertarian nominees seem to be running against conservatives more than for liberty.

Weld and Johnson held their first post-nomination joint interview on Tuesday, on liberal network MSNBC. “We’ve never bought into this anti-choice, anti-gaysense of the Republican Party,” Weld said, as his first comment to the national television audience.

The message was clear: We don’t need those backward Christian Right bozos as much we need as you MSNBCers.

Johnson has sent similar signals, suggesting that his love of liberty is second to his revulsion to religion. In January, for instance, Johnson said he would make it a federal crime for women to wear the Burqa, the full-body covering worn by women in certain strains of Islam. Johnson recanted a day later, while continuing his warnings about the threat of Sharia Islamic law in the U.S.

This spring, Johnson pushed aside freedom of conscience. When asked in an Oregon debate about laws and lawsuits requiring caterers to participate in gay weddings, Johnson took the big-government side for coerced baking in the name of gay rights. When later asked about this anti-liberty view, Johnson made the standard liberal conflation between selling off-the-shelf cupcakes to a gay customer (which is straight-up discrimination against a person) and refusal to participate in a ceremony (which is a freedom of conscience issue, a freedom of association issue, and often a free speech issue).

The dress-code libertarianism and bake-me-a-cake libertarianism Johnson has embraced isn’t libertarianism at all it’s left-wing social engineering enforced at gunpoint. Coming from Johnson and Weld, it reeks of raw identity politics. The only consistent theme is that religious people are bad.

Johnson’s quick reversal on his Burqa ban, and his logical fallacies and weird arguments on coerced baking suggest that he doesn’t hold libertarianism as a principle he is really just a social liberal and economic conservative, as he says. This is the heart of Weld’s campaigning, too.

Maybe Weld and Johnson haven’t been paying attention since they left office, and that’s why they conflate “socially liberal” with libertarian. These days, it’s not the conservatives trying to use government to enforce their morality. The Obama administration is trying to compel nuns to provide contraception for their staff. The ACLU is suing to force Catholic hospitals to abort babies. Gary Johnson’s own state fined a Christian wedding photographer for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.

Also from the Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton is back to her April level lead over Donald Trump.

06/29/16 6:07 PM

The “anti-choice” side in America today is usually the cultural Left.

At the very moment when social conservatives would be most open to libertarianism, though, the libertarian nominees are running against conservatives.

This puts Johnson and Weld at odds with the rest of libertarianism. The Cato Institute and the Reason Foundation both filed amicus briefs on behalf of Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned store that objected to Obama’s contraception mandate.

Even on abortion, Johnson and Weld could find common ground with social conservatives. The most libertarian GOP candidates in recent cycles Rand Paul and Ron Paul were both pro-lifers who pointed out that libertarianism doesn’t preclude protecting babies from homicide. In fact, all the most free-market lawmakers are staunch pro-lifers. For instance, the three senators with the highest 2015 Club for Growth scores are Mike Lee, Ben Sasse and Marco Rubio. You have to go down to No. 48 on the Club’s ranking to find a senator who’s a legitimate moderate pro-lifer all the top 47 are strong pro-lifers.

Social conservatives are homeless this election. They are also increasingly the victim of big-government culture wars. It won’t come naturally to Johnson and Weld, but they could reach out to social conservatives this election. Such outreach would expand the coalition, and maybe help persuade some social conservatives that the fight today is mostly about limiting government’s role in our lives.

Also from the Washington Examiner

House lawmakers said that the payments are illegal and the admin. has stonewalled attempts to get docs.

06/29/16 5:57 PM

Johnson and Weld just need to decide whether they are more dedicated to liberty or to identity politics.

Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

Top Story

Abedin testified that only she, Clinton and Chelsea used accounts hosted by the “clintonemail.com” server.

06/29/16 2:58 PM

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Is this the dawn of bake-me-a-cake libertarianism …

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Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

Posted: June 28, 2016 at 2:57 am

For millennia, people have considered what events might transpire at the end of the age. The ancient prophet Isaiah predicted, very explicitly, events at the end of human history, as we know it, when he wrote Isaiah 24:1-23. Most of that passage speaks of the eventual laying waste and devastation of the earth. God will not do this because He is cruel, ruthless, or evil. Rather, He will do this because of the following:

However, there always was one essential ingredient missing: a seven-year agreement, involving Israel. Encompassed within the final seven years of this age, also known as the 70th Week, will be the events that will alter human history as we know it. The prophecy, making a reference to this unique perioda week of seven yearswas given by the angel Gabriel to the Israeli prophet Daniel:

Never before, in history, has Israel engaged in a seven-year agreement with anyone, much less one that reinforced a previous accordthat is, until the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was established and funded in October 2006. Not only is the ENP scheduled to run specifically for seven years (2007 through 2013), but it confirms and strengthens a prior accord: the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EuroMed) of 1995, of which Israel also is a member.

Furthermore, included in the collection of ENP documents, involving Israel, is the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument: Israel. This document contains language affirming a goal, by the European Union (EU), to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians:

Now, if the ENP is the prophesied seven-year agreement, we would expect to see an increase in instability around the globe, not only in nature, but also socio-economically as well, during the first half of the seven years. Jesus referred to this time as the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8).

Indeed, such things have been occurring, especially during 2008 and 2009. Besides record-breaking floods, droughts, and tornadoes in the USA, as well as a marked escalation in the frequency of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines, and plagues worldwide, there also has been a severe financial breakdown globally.

Today (March 1, 2009), the stock market dropped 299.64 points; it is down to a 12-year low of 6,763.29. There may be some short-term improvement; but, in the long run, there probably is no bottom in sight. As such, I look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus, at the end of the 70th Week, to rule and reign. Jesus, alone, is the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

So what is next? Well, according to the Daniel 9:27 prophecy, in the middle of the seven-year period, an end will be put to sacrifice and offering , and the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)in Jerusalem. On my proposed time scale, sacrifice and offering should cease during the first week of April 2010, which happens to be Passover Week 2010.

I feel that at the midpoint of the 70th Week, the Fourth Seal (Revelation 6:7,8) of the heavenly scroll will be opened. This will commence the darkest period of human history up to that point, the Great Tribulation, described by Jesus in Matthew 24:21. (In Jesus narrative, some Bible versions use the phrase great distress; other versions read great tribulation.)

This is how John described the events to take place at that time:

As such, if my time frame is correct, I anticipate the following things to take place after Passover Week of 2010:

To make things worse, I predict that there will be huge power outages, phone and internet service interruptions, food riots, bridge and building collapses, escalating unemployment and homelessness, bankruptcies, foreclosures, drug abuse, crime, murders, widespread civil unrest and revolts, declaration of martial law, and other related occurrences. The widespread denial that any of this is going to happen will make it be a great deal worse when it actually does happen.

Aside from an increase in catastrophic natural events, causing a great deal of death on the earth, there will be a global socio-economic and financial collapse, not to mention horrendous tax increases and skyrocketing hyperinflation. It may be that once the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 fails (see my Feb. 17, 2009 entry), President Obama will be forced to tell the American public that their problems, economic and otherwise, are insurmountable.

Possibly the North American Union (Canada, USA, Mexico) will be formed, with the Amero, worth a small fraction of the dollar, as the common currency. The NAU will be immersed in a much greater global crisis, and this will require global solutionsby a global leader. As such, it may be that Obama, identifying this leader as the only one who can help us, will become the False Prophet: the second beast of Revelation 13:11-17 (see Barack Obama: False Prophet?).

After entering the holy place in Jerusalem, and setting up the abomination that causes desolation inside, the first beast or Antichrist will set himself up in the temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2Thessalonians 2:4). He also will exercise his authority for 42 months [3 years] and blaspheme [the true] God (Revelation 13:5,6). Many people will be taken into captivity, and many will be killed (13:10). I also believe that during the final half (3 years) of the seven years, there will be escalating conflicts between the Antichrist and Gog (see Gog vs. Antichrist).

Once the Seventh Seal is opened, the earth and much of the life on it will be utterly devastated by the supernatural Trumpet Judgmentsthe initial wave of Gods wrath being blown out upon the earth. It is at this time that most of Isaiah 24:1-23 will come to pass. I place the opening of the Seventh Seal, most likely, in September 2012. (See an email question and response, If we have entered the 70th Week, do you see any special significance to the year 2012?)

With all of this great tribulation, suffering, and tremendous devastation of the earth to take place within less than a handful of years, what can people do to prepare for, or perhaps to avoid, most or even all of it? I am convinced that it is imperative to develop an intensely close and strong relationship with our Sovereign Lord and Master, Jehovah-Adonai. This is done mainly through prayer and obedience.

Learning as much as possible about God and Jesus (see Who Is God?, Was Jesus God?, and My Beliefs and Faith) will be critically important. For those who have not read the Bible from cover to cover, this would
be a good time to do it, to understand whom God truly is and how He works (see Chronological Reading of the Bible in One Year). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Just as He protected and delivered the ancient Israelites who loved and obeyed Him, He also will protect and deliver those believers, during the worst of times, who do the same.

A Rapture is an event in which believers (in Jesus/Yeshua as Lord and Messiah) will be caught up and away from the earth, prior to the worst destruction and desolation that is to take place. Most likely, there will be multiple Raptures events (see secondary rapture events), removing true believers, at successive times, who have developed a real and intimate relationship with God. However, those who have allowed themselves to embrace the notion of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, to take place prior to the beginning of the 70th Week, have set themselves up for a gigantic disillusionment. This view of the Rapture is a bogus, pie-in-the-sky fantasy, with no valid basis in Scripture.

Potentially, Matthew 25:1-13could be indicative of a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, to occur midway through the final seven years, since the Bridegroom (Jesus) is seen to come at midnight (25:6) for half of the waiting virgins (Perhaps these are the believers who will have acquired their oil by properly utilizing, rather than wasting, the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has provided them.) On my proposed time scale, this would be during the first week of April 2010. Interestingly, the exact midpoint is April 4, 2010, which just happens to be Resurrection Day (Easter). I believe it is possible that as many as half of believers could be caught up and away at that time.

If so, the majority of remaining believers would have to wait for the Pre-Wrath Rapture event to take place, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, but prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal (initiating Gods wrath). In any case, anyone who is present on the earth during the Great Tribulation period might wish to read repentance, endurance, and overcoming in my Chronology of Revelation commentary.

I also recommend that, besides becoming spiritually prepared for the dark tunnel ahead, people also should become psychologically and emotionally prepared as well. The world, as we know it, is going to change radically and drastically. Many of our comforts of daily life, and many of the things that we take for granted, will be compromised, or even eliminated altogether. Prices of common necessities, such as food and gasoline, will skyrocket, due to scarcity and hyperinflation. Sadly, multitudes of people will not be able to cope; unfortunately, the rates of insanity and suicide will soar.

It is advisable to stock up on items on my Adversity Supplies Basic Check List. This will provide at least some buffer when massive shortages (scarcity) and enormous price increases (hyperinflation) occur. It also is a good idea to recommend to friends, neighbors, and other family members that they do the same. Otherwise, when shortages occur, these people may come to you for help, and you will not be able to supply everybody that you know.

Know always that the Lord God is in charge. Nothing is too difficult for God. He provided, miraculously, for the ancient Israelites, drifting through the desert for forty years. Likewise, He can provide for those who acknowledge Him as Lord and God and follow His commandments.

Those who take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18) will be forever sorry that they have done so (14:9-11, 16:2). At the same time that satanic miracles will be abounding, to deceive those who are lost (2Thessalonians 2:9),Jehovah-Jireh will be performing miracles of provision and deliverance for those who have refused the mark and who willingly and faithfully pledge their allegiance and devotion to Him. And those believers who die during this horrific time in history will have the blessed assurance and comfort that they will be with their God for eternity.

So if my seven-year hypothesis is correct, here is a summary of the things that can be expected to take place, beginning a few months into 2010:

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Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

Posted: at 2:57 am

The Early Stages of Drug Prohibition

Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws, in the South in the early 1900s, were directed at black men. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed crack. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that casual drug users should be taken out and shot, founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, health secretary Donna Shalalas advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation describing it as the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.

The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.

Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently that was the point.”

The assault on American citizens, however, has persisted. President Obama, despite advocating for reforms such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and supporting state medical marijuana laws has yet to shift the majority of drug control funding to a health-based approach.

Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Can
ada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy. Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.

Progress is inevitably slow but there is unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform right now. We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

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