August 26, 2016

California Paves the Way to a National Carbon Trading Scheme or Tax

Building on top of some of the strictest existing environmental laws in the nation, the legislature of California has voted to implement a measure to cut greenhouse gases in the state a further 40 percent beyond the current target by the year 2030.

The state currently is on track to meet its current goal, which seeks to reduce emissions that can hold in heat to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The new bill, approved by the state Senate on Wednesday, would lower greenhouse gases a further 40 percent below that in the following decade. A linked bill in the state Assembly was approved several hours earlier; Governor Jerry Brown has stated that he will sign both bills when they land on his desk.
"It's about the world in which we live becoming decarbonized and sustainable," Brown said during a press conference, according to Reuters. "These regulations will work to achieve that goal."
The bills will give the state legislature additional control over the California Air Resources Board, which, among other duties, sets emissions limits for vehicles sold in the state. In spite of being a state agency, it exerts a national influence; 11 other states have chosen to abide by CARB’s aggressive pollution controls, and the agency has been known to work with the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation on fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards.

The new legislation builds upon the 2006 law that set the aggressive 2020 goal the state is currently working towards, which sought to cut down on the greenhouse emissions flowing from automobiles and industry alike. That law imposed a cap-and-trade program on pollutants in the state; in spite of the governor’s enthusiastic support for such measures, however, the system has reportedly not lived up to expectations, with only 34 percent of available credits being sold this month.

The new bills do not state if they would use cap-and-trade to controlling carbon emissions and the like, or if the state should seek out an alternate means of enforcing the standards.

The new guideline is likely to place even more pressure on automakers to push towards electric vehicles and other zero-emissions powertrains to lower their total carbon footprint. Between the long list of countries in Europe seeking to ban new gas-powered cars between 2025 and 2030 and this new California measure, it seems as though the next decade may prove to be the era when electric cars finally achieve dominance in the marketplace.

August 16, 2016

WikiLeaks, Hillary-Gulen Intimate Ties & How the Clintons Gave Birth to Mullah Gulen’s Terrorist Network

August 12, 2016

- In this episode of Spotlight with Sibel and Spiro we discuss the notorious USA-based Mullah Fethullah Gulen and Operation Gladio B in light of Wikileaks’ recent announcement that they plan to release a new batch of e-mails exposing the intimate ties between Hillary Clinton and Gulen’s 25+ Billion shady network. Sibel Edmonds explains how Fethullah Gulen was brought into the United States during the Clinton Administration, and how Bill Clinton’s White House, the State Department and the Justice Department’s Janet Reno provided the infamous mullah and his terrorism-heroin operations with blanket immunity and protection. We also take a look at Clinton’s hand-picked handlers, Graham Fuller and Mark Grossman, selected to manage and direct Gulen’s cells in the U.S. and abroad.

August 15, 2016

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent stands guard at the DEA Headquarters in Miami in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Bill Cooke)

Both the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prevent the seizure of property without the due process of law. 

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." - Article Six of the Bill of Rights of the United Police States of America

August 15, 2016

The Daily Signal - Well-meaning laws designed to nab high-level criminals have been twisted to siphon off money from law-abiding American citizens. The latest abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws involves air and rail travelers being targeted and fleeced by a federal agency.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is pulling Americans’ travel data en masse from airline and Amtrak records, profiling individuals with “suspicious” travel habits, and targeting them for searches as part of the nation’s drug interdiction efforts. But, according to a damning article last week in USA Today, the goal of this massive operation is neither to confiscate drugs nor to make arrests–it’s to seize and forfeit cash via civil asset forfeiture laws.

Seize, they have. Over ten years, DEA agents deployed at 15 airports across the country have brought in $209 million in alleged drug funds, money that the DEA and its local agency partners spent with little oversight or accountability. But while agents generated a mountain of cash, they produced hardly any arrests, indictments, or convictions.

Such is the power of civil forfeiture laws, which enable the seizure of property and currency suspected of being connected with a criminal act, to distort the priorities of law enforcement towards the seizure of property at the expense of other traditional, and critical, law enforcement functions.

There are documented instances where local and state agents allow drugs to enter America’s cities so that they can then seize the money generated from drug sales. In other cases (such as this one captured on dashboard footage), drug task force agents refused to arrest or even question truck drivers smuggling half a million dollars in suspected drug money. All they wanted was the cash.

Last week’s USA Today article makes clear that some federal law enforcement officials are equally susceptible to the pressures of forfeiture’s perverse profit incentives as some state law enforcement officers have been in the past.

Over a span of ten years, DEA agents at 15 of the nation’s largest and busiest airports–including local law enforcement officers deputized as DEA agents–targeted individuals whose travel patterns were deemed “suspicious.” Something as innocuous as same-day round trip airfare, one-way airfare, paying cash for tickets, and checking a bag qualify as “suspicious” behavior.

Armed with a traveler’s flight information, DEA agents would then intercept him at the gate, inquire as to his travel plans, and, if he did not consent to a search, use drug-sniffing dogs to inspect his luggage.

The officers would deem a dog’s “alert” sufficient to justify searching the person’s luggage. Any cash found would then be seized as “drug money,” even if authorities found no drugs or testable amounts of drug residue. That is what happened to 24-year-old Charles Clarke, who had $11,000 seized at the Cincinnati airport in 2013. He is still fighting the forfeiture.

Another man, a nail salon owner named Vu Do, had $44,000 seized by DEA agents at JFK airport in New York, despite the lack of any apparent evidence tying the money to any crime. He attempted to challenge the seizure, but because his challenge was filed late, his cash was forfeited automatically in a process known as “administrative forfeiture.”

One might wonder what becomes of the suspected criminals whose alleged drug proceeds have just been seized. In most cases, they go free. In the world of civil forfeiture, no criminal charges are necessary, and the DEA seemed to be entirely uninterested in building criminal cases against the vast majority of the property owners whose money was seized.

August 9, 2016

Boudia and Johnson Proclaim Christ on National TV After Winning Olympic Silver

Boudia, left, and Johnson.

August 8, 2016

Christian Examiner – David Boudia and Steele Johnson won a silver medal for the United States Monday – and then proclaimed the name of Christ to a national television audience.

Boudia and Johnson won silver in men's synchronized 10-meter platform, giving Johnson his first and Boudia his third all-time Olympic medal (in 2012, he unexpectedly won Olympic gold in the men's 10-meter platform event, plus he and Nick McCrory won bronze in the men's 10-meter synchronized diving event).

Boudia's faith has been well-known to the sports world – he co-wrote a book, Greater Than Gold, about his faith – although many viewers likely didn't know much about Johnson, who was in tears after the duo learned they were second.
"There's been an enormous amount of pressure. I've felt it," Boudia, who still will compete in the individual platform, told an NBC national audience. "It's just an identity crisis. When my mind is on this [diving], and I'm thinking I'm defined by this, then my mind goes crazy. But we both know that our identity is in Christ, and we're thankful for this opportunity to be able to dive in front of Brazil and in front of the United States. It's been an absolutely thrilling moment for us."
Johnson agreed.
"The way David just described it was flawless – the fact that I was going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not what the result of this competition is just gave me peace ... and it let me enjoy the contest," Johnson told NBC. "If something went great, I was happy. If something didn't go great, I could still find joy because I'm at the Olympics competing with the best person, the best mentor – just one of the best people to be around. God's given us a cool opportunity, and I'm glad I could come away with an Olympic silver medal in my first-ever event."
Boudia's Twitter feed reads simply: "Follower of Christ, Psalm 115:1. Husband. Father. Olympic Champion Diver." He won a gold and bronze at his first Olympics in 2012.

Johnson's feed reads: "Christ Follower. 2016 Olympian. Cinematographer."

Boudia's book was published by Thomas Nelson and co-written with Tim Ellsworth.