Tag Archives: Legal

Cell Phone Carrier Guilty of Bogus Charges, Forced to Pay Millions in Refunds

Cell Phone Carrier Guilty of Bogus Charges, Forced to Pay Millions in Refunds

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The U.S. government has won a lawsuit that accused a cell phone provider of issuing illegal charges on its customers’ bills.

The Federal Trade Commission accused AT&T Mobility LLC of billing millions of customers for charges from third-party companies for services the customers never asked for or were otherwise tricked into subscribing for, otherwise known as “cramming,” according toMashable. Such charges included horoscope texts and flirting tips, and the fees were small in most cases, around $9.99 a month, but they were buried on the bills so they weren’t easily found.

Major Cell Phone Carrier Guilty of Bogus Charges, Forced to Pay Millions in Refunds

Now AT&T is being forced to pay a $105 million settlement, including $80 million to the FTC for consumer refunds, after it was found the company kept at least 35 percent of the unauthorized fees imposed on customers. A total of $5 million of the settlement is set to go to the Federal Communications Commission, while the remaining $20 million will go to the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“I am very pleased that this settlement will put tens of millions of dollars back in the pockets of consumers harmed by AT&T’s cramming of its mobile customers,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “This case underscores the important fact that basic consumer protections – including that consumers should not be billed for charges they did not authorize – are fully applicable in the mobile environment.”

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The sneaky way AT&T billed their customers for the services is part of the reason they were illegal. Rather than itemizing the fees so they could be easily seen, the company placed the third-party charges on their bills as “AT&T Monthly Subscriptions,” which the FTC said led customers to believe they were paying for services provided by the cell phone carrier and not an outside company.

Major Cell Phone Carrier Guilty of Bogus Charges, Forced to Pay Millions in Refunds

Mashable has more on how you might become a victim of these third-party charges:

Sometimes the third-party companies would randomly pick phone numbers of people to sign up for their ringtones or texts without their knowledge or consent. Other times, the third-party vendors might offer gift cards, telling would-be recipients that they need to enter a contest for the card by providing their cell number and then texting back a certain pin number. The vendors then began charging customers’ phone accounts for recurring charges unrelated to the gift-card offer.

From this point on, AT&T is required to acquire consent from customers to charge them for third-party fees.

Customers who think they were fraudulently charged — or who want to find out if they’re eligible for a refund — can visit ftc.gov/att.

It’s not often that we can congratulate the government for something, but it would seem as if this case was well warranted. All of us have been suspicious of a cell phone company at one time or another, and it looks like those suspicions weren’t unfounded after all.

Former DOJ Attorney: Obama Could Be Deported Using Fraudulent Birth Certificate

Former DOJ Attorney: Obama Could Be Deported Using Fraudulent Birth Certificate

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Obama.Looking.Down

Larry Klayman, a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney, who also founded Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, as well as being the first attorney in history to have obtained a court ruling that a President of the United States (Bill Clinton) had committed a crime, is suing to get Barack Obama deported from the United States.

obama birth certificate
Click to See Story: Four Simple Reason Obama’s Birth Certificate Is a Forgery

“Barack Hussein Obama has relied upon a birth certificate from the State of Hawaii which is clearly a forgery — that is, not a valid birth certificate — and indeed also a rather sloppy forgery with easily-detected, unmistakable errors and defects,” says the petition from Klayman, written on Freedom Watch letterhead and dated October, 2, 2014, and addressed to top people at the Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, all which fall under the Department of Homeland Security.

Larry Klayman is no slouch when it comes to successful lawsuits, as evidenced by his winning a federal court ruling against the Obama NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records in December of 2013.

Klayman contends that Obama has paid over $1 million in legal costs, all which could be avoided if he had simply provided his real, legal birth certificate.

The former Department of Justice lawyer goes on to assert that even if a real, unforged birth certificate is available, it has not been provided and “repeated use of a clearly forged birth certificate is still a crime.”

Barack Hussein Obama’s legal name was officially changed in Indonesia to “Barry Soetoro,” the petition reads. “However, upon re-entering the United States of America, he falsely represented himself to be a U.S. citizen. He did not apply for naturalization at that time nor upon turning 18 years old, Klayman contends.

In 2012, Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona, also released evidence from an investigation led by Mike Zullo that concluded that Obama’s birth certificate is “definitely fraudulent.”

In June, Arpaio told the Washington Times  that he was close to finding out who forged Obama’s birth certificate, saying, “I’m concerned about a forged, fraudulent government document; from day one I’ve been investigating that. Now we have to find out who’s behind that: I’m getting close to that. But I’m looking at a fraudulent document. Anybody else would go to jail.”

“In sum, deportation proceedings should be immediately commenced, an investigation undertaken, a full evidentiary hearing held, and Barack Hussein Obama should be removed from the United States,” Klayman summarized in the petition.

Klayman was a Department of Justice prosecutor during the Reagan administration and worked on the team that successfully broke up the AT&T telephone monopoly.

Federal Judge Rules Certain Firearms NOT Protected Under Constitution

Federal Judge Rules Certain Firearms NOT Protected Under Constitution

AR15 Colt assault rifle gunResidents in one state were just dealt a huge blow to their Second Amendment rights, as a Federal Judge ruled that AR-15’s, AK’s, and other semi-automatic and machine-fed weaponsfall outside of the protection of the Second Amendment.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings, the governor of Maryland signed into law the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which banned certain automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines (“LCMs”).

See: Sandy Hook School Shooting Confirmed a Hoax by Gov’t

Armed Isaeli school teacher gun
In Israel, children are much safer in school due to armed teachers and security guards

 

Following the ruling, local residents appealed the new law, stating that it was in direct violation of the Constitution. Plaintiffs in the case Kolbe et al v. O’Malley et al  included Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

The judge reviewing the case,  U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake, ruled in her 47 page opinion that these certain weapons “fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual arms.”

Blake’s Ruling:

Upon review of all the parties’ evidence, the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual.

First, the court is not persuaded that assault weapons are commonly possessed based on the absolute number of those weapons owned by the public. Even accepting that there are 8.2 million assault weapons in the civilian gun stock, as the plaintiffs claim, assault weapons represent no more than 3% of the current civilian gun stock, and ownership of those weapons is highly concentrated in less than 1% of the U.S. population.

The court is also not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ claims that assault weapons are used infrequently in mass shootings and murders of law enforcement officers. The available statistics indicate that assault weapons are used disproportionately to their ownership in the general public and, furthermore, cause more injuries and more fatalities when they are used.

As for their claims that assault weapons are well-suited for self-defense, the plaintiffs proffer no evidence beyond their desire to possess assault weapons for self-defense in the home that they are in fact commonly used, or possessed, for that purpose.

Finally, despite the plaintiffs’ claims that they would like to use assault weapons for defensive purposes, assault weapons are military-style weapons designed for offensive use, and are equally, or possibly even more effective, in functioning and killing capacity as their fully automatic versions.

It seems as a federal judge she would have a pretty solid grasp on the Constitution. But like many who are paid to interpret laws, it seems like the scare tactics and anti-gun rhetoric are clouding her vision. What part of “shall not be infringed” does Catherine C. Blake not understand? Making it harder for law-abiding citizens to own and possess firearms will certainly not prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook from occurring.

Sandy Hook school shooting
Sandy Hook: Everyone must check-in! (story)

Is it the ‘Beginning of the End’ For Obamacare?

Is it the ‘Beginning of the End’ For Obamacare?

Court gives conservatives fresh hope and new ammo

by Garth Kant, wnd.com

obama-angry

WASHINGTON – Conservatives appeared to smell blood in the water after a big ruling by a federal court against Obamacare, and they unleashed a fresh torrent of scathing indictments of the beleaguered law.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said the adverse ruling exposed Obamacare as a “bureaucratic nightmare” that “has been a disaster since Day 1,” and it is clear “Americans do not want this socialistic-driven agenda.”

Obamacare actually scored both a win and a loss Tuesday, with two federal appeals courts reaching opposite conclusions after looking at one set of facts.

But that makes the glass half-full for many conservatives, and a cause for celebration, because the contrary rulings mean the health-care law is now almost certain to go to the Supreme Court for another big showdown.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., zeroed in on the significance of the discrepancy, saying, “The very fact that we could have two contradictory outcomes on the same day is testament to how overly complicated and convoluted the Obamacare law is.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also saw the divided opinion as a sign the law cannot stand, saying the conflicting rulings “reaffirm my belief that this law ultimately will fall apart.”

As do many conservatives, Rubio believes the law is doomed because it “was poorly conceived, poorly written, and has been poorly executed by an Obama administration that believes it can just make up and change the rules as it goes.”

The stage was set today when, first, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that the federal government can give subsidies only to people enrolled in the state run health-care exchanges, not the federal health-care exchanges.

Just hour later, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, came to the opposite conclusion, ruling the subsides are legal.

A full 4.7 million of the 8 million people the administration claims have signed up for Obamacare are using the federal exchange and receiving billions in subsidies. But the appeals court ruling wouldn’t just affect them; it would also prevent tens of millions from being able to afford Obamacare under the employer mandate when it kicks in at the end of this year.

Bachmann called it a “bombshell day for Obamacare” because the appeals court ruling showed it was “written by a lawless president for politically desired outcomes,” and she expressed hope that the day would mark “the beginning of the end of this unworkable, unaffordable law.”

Also calling the law unworkable, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said the ruling was “a clear reminder of why legislation should never be shoved through Congress without input from both parties and a clear understanding of what exactly is in the bill.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said, “With today’s rulings the courts have dealt yet another blow to Obamacare – this time relating to federal subsidies. The Obama administration’s double-speak on enforcing this law might finally be coming to an end. This law is coming apart at the seams. The D.C. Circuit Court was clear in its determination that the IRS rule making went beyond their authority and it is looking more and more like this will go to the Supreme Court, where we believe that opinion will prevail.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

A broad front of GOP lawmakers, from the House to the Senate, focused like a laser on what they saw as the law’s shoddy design.

“Democrats did an awful job writing this law – and have done an even worse job implementing it … The court rightfully refused to allow the president to continue ignoring and redefining his signature law,” opined Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

He added, “The president and Democrats in Congress have no one but themselves to blame for the ongoing legal implications of their decision to force this unpopular and unworkable law upon the American people. ”

The D.C. Appeals Court did “exactly what our judicial system is meant to do,” according to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz, because, “Their ruling highlights the sloppy drafting that went into crafting the law.

“The Obamacare ‘death spiral’ will continue to get worse until this law is replaced with a free-market, patient centered health care system free of government overreach,” he added.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was thrilled, calling the decision “a repudiation of Obamacare and all the lawlessness that has come with it.”

“This decision restores power to Congress and to the people and if properly enforced, should shield citizens from Obamacare’s insidious penalties, mandates, and subsidies,” he added.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the ruling is another instance of the courts holding the Obama administration accountable for ignoring the rule of law, because the president has “has demonstrated time after time his desire to unilaterally change the laws passed by Congress.”

“We need to set politics aside” and scrap this law, said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., noting that, “Just weeks ago we learned the government awarded billions of dollars in subsidies without any way to verify eligibility.”

“It is time for the nonsense to stop. This administration is too busy doling out dollars to see the train wreck ahead for American families.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the ruling exposed just another example, in which, “As it has on so many occasions, the Obama administration simply ignored the law and implemented its own policy instead.”

Also focusing on the president’s penchant to act without Congress, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said the ruling meant, “The Obama administration cannot unilaterally ignore or change the plain wording of laws passed by Congress.”

House Speaker John Boehner focused on the big picture, calling the ruling “further proof that President Obama’s health-care law is completely unworkable. It cannot be fixed.”

Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin
Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, made a unique legal argument, stating it was critical to understand the purpose of the challenge.

“[T]he plaintiffs sued to prevent an illegal tax from being collected. In order to prevent the illegal tax from being collected, the illegal subsidies had to end. By ruling that the subsidies are illegal, the Court is simultaneously ruling that the taxes are illegal.”

If the Supreme Court were to tackle that argument, it could give Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts an opportunity to revisit his pivotal opinion, reviled by conservatives, that Obamacare imposes a tax, not a penalty.

It was Roberts’ decision to call the penalty imposed by those who do not sign up for Obamacare a tax, and that allowed him to join the liberals on the high court in finding the individual mandate in the health-care law to be constitutional.

In an interview with Radio America’s Greg Corombos, Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, said, “This is a hugely important decision. The government has now lost a case that really addresses the heart and soul of what this law is supposed to do.”

She added, “The law specifically says, at least seven times, that the subsidies are only allowed through an exchange established by a state. It was part of Congress’ coercion to try to get the states to set up their own exchanges. The states basically called their bluff and said, ‘Nope, we’re not doing this.’ So when the law says seven times that tax credits for health insurance can only be distributed through an exchange created by a state, the court said, ‘The law must mean what it says and we’re going to rule that way.’ Congratulations to them for upholding the rule of law.”

The administration is appealing the decision of the three-judge panel to the full D.C. Circuit, which includes seven Democratic appointees and four selections by GOP presidents. According to Turner, precedent suggests the full, or en banc, court will not be interested in second-guessing three of their colleagues, but she said there is a tinge of politics on the bench that did not exist until recently.

“The judges really respect each other. They don’t want to overrule one another, although the Obama administration has been stacking this court with several new appointees. They very likely would have the votes to overrule the three-judge panel, but it would look very, very political and would likely discredit future decisions,” said Turner, who noted it is vital for one full appeals court to rule in line with the three judges.

“It is consequential, because in order for this to go to the Supreme Court, you would then have to have different rulings in the different appeals courts. There are four similar cases going through the courts. So you’d have to have another court decide the same as the D.C. Circuit Court panel has today for the Supreme Court to hear it. If there are no conflicts in the appeals courts’ decisions, then the Supreme Court would less likely take it up,” Turner said.

If the Supreme Court were to declare subsidies obtained through the federal exchange illegal, Turner said it would give great incentive for lawmakers to take a smarter approach to health-care reform.

“Congress would then have to go back to the drawing board. I think people that opposed this law all along would actually have more bargaining power now to be able to move to a place where we can actually get subsidies that are structured the right way, not this ‘mother may I,’ 159 new government rules and commissions that are basically running our health sector,” Turner said.

She said urgent action would be needed to help people trapped in a system where they had to buy health insurance but could not get any help in paying a much higher than expected price tag.

“They’re not going to leave the millions of people who’ve been thrown out of their coverage out in the cold,” she said. “They’re going to try to figure out how to come up with a better solution, but one that gives people and doctors choices, not government bureaucrats and politicians.”

State of Washington becomes second state to sell recreational marijuana legally

State of Washington becomes second state to sell recreational marijuana legally


By: Zach McAuliffe

Marijuana joint pot

After being voted through by citizens almost two years ago, the state of Washington has become the second state in the U.S. to sell marijuana legally and without a doctor’s note.

Some shops opened on Monday while many shops opened for the first time this morning.  Some shops today had lines of customers waiting in anticipation to enjoy marijuana legally.  Some customers drove as far as from Kansas to wait in line, according to ABC13.

Deb Green is a 65-year-old Washington resident who voted for legalization two years ago, and was one of those who waited in line.  “I voted for it,” Green tells Oregon Live.  “I’m not a heavy user; I’m just proud of our state for giving this a try.”

Prices for legal marijuana are expected to start off around $25 a gram, and this price is double what people would pay at medical dispensaries.  The reason for the relatively high prices is the state of Washington’s medical system is unregulated, meaning there were not many people legally producing marijuana in the first place for medical dispensaries.

Washington has approved less than 100 legal growers to help kick start the marijuana market, but this is far less than the 2,600 people who applied for licenses to grow marijuana.  This has created an initial shortage of marijuana throughout the state, but as more growers receive their licenses, the laws of supply and demand say prices should fall.

Sales are also restricted in Washington, according to FOX News.  Shops can only sell to adults over the age of 21, and selling amounts are specific as well.

Customers can buy one ounce of dried marijuana, one pound of marijuana-infused solids like foods, four pounds of marijuana-infused liquids, or seven grams of concentrated marijuana at one time.

Obama: Our ‘First Gay President’ Says Newsweek

Obama: Our ‘First Gay President’ Says Newsweek

by WND.com

Newsweek cover Obama Gay President
Newsweek cover Obama First Gay President

Despite the fact Barack Obama is married with two children, Newsweek magazine is dubbing him “The First Gay President” on its latest cover, crowning him with a rainbow-colored halo.

The cover comes in the wake of Obama’s newly declared support for homosexual marriage in America.

The edition, which hits newsstands Monday, features a column by Andrew Sullivan, an openly homosexual self-titled conservative political pundit.

Related: In midst of MANY crisis, Obama Focus:  Gay/Transgender Executive Order 

“When you step back a little and assess the record of Obama on gay rights, you see, in fact, that this was not an aberration. It was an inevitable culmination of three years of work,” Sullivan said in a statement about his article.

“He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family,” he wrote, discussing similarities between the president and the homosexual community.

Obama’s declaration that he’s now backing same-sex marriages is the first time a sitting president has expressed such an opinion.

Related: Obama Using Embassies To Promote Gay Rights Abroad

“It’s easy to write off President Obama’s announcement of his support for gay marriage as a political ploy during an election year. But don’t believe the cynics,” representatives from Newsweek told Politico.

Obama’s announcement came just days after Vice President Joe Biden indicated he was “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and men and women marrying are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”

Chris Beck Kristin Seal Team 6 transgender gay
Chris/Kristin Beck, Seal Team 6

Related: Obama Using Seal Team 6 Member to Promote Transgender

Newsweek has a history of controversial covers.

On Dec. 15, 2008, it featured a Holy Bible with a rainbow-colored bookmark, with an associated article titled, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.”

This week’s cover is prompting a lot of reaction online already.

“This is the best,” said Wilder Napalm of Louisville, Ky. “The left wing media is doing everything in their power to portray this as a good thing for Obama when in fact this is a disaster. He never had any intention of openly supporting gay marriage, if he did he would have done it long ago. But good old Joe stepped in it again. He left Obama no choice but to support gay unions or risk losing the support of the gay community. I’ll bet Obama could kill Biden about now.”

“I am surprised,” says John Wolf of St. Louis. “Newsweek has six subscribers? I dropped them when they made up stuff for Obama during the election.”

And Larry in California noted: “Clinton was our first black president, according to author Toni Morrison. And Chris Matthews says we can’t vote Obama out because he’s our first black president. I’m confused. Is Obama our first black president, or our first gay president, or our first affirmative-action president?”

‘In God We Trust’ Motto Catching Fire Nationwide

‘In God We Trust’ Motto Catching Fire Nationwide

Local governments point to God as solution to problems

by Bob Unruh, WND.com

In God We Trust

In the wake of Michael Newdow’s famous failed legal attempts to remove “In God We Trust” from the public square, local governments increasingly are moving to display the national motto to acknowledge government isn’t the ultimate source of the nation’s prosperity nor the solution to its problems.

More than 370 local governments in 15 states have voted to display the motto, according to an activist group.

Just last week, the Green County Commission in Missouri approved a plan to display “In God We Trust” in commission chambers in the county courthouse. While some citizens urged commissioners to reject the proposal because it did not “respect religious diversity,” presiding commissioner Jim Viebrock argued the commission couldn’t satisfy everyone; but everyone, regardless of religious belief, is welcome in the county chambers.

A few days earlier, officials in Mobile, Alabama, were asked by community members to display “In God We Trust” in council chambers.

Making the request was Gulf Shores resident Jon Butler, who said similar resolutions already have been approved in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Summerdale, Silverhill, Elberta, Robertsdale and Foley.

And in Greenville County, the council voted unanimously to display the motto inside council chambers.

Councilman Fred Payne said he proposed the idea after getting an email newsletter from “In God We Trust America,” a group started by Jacquie Sullivan of the Bakersfield, California, City Council.

Sullivan explained she set up the organization in 2004 to spread “the mission of patriotism across America” shortly after she “led the Bakersfield City Council in their historic ‘Yes Vote’ to proudly and prominently display the national motto of the United States of America, ‘In God We Trust’ in the council chambers at city hall.”

Her group has posted online a number of stories. They include how Evans, Colorado, got the movement going in that state, how leaders in Camanche, Iowa, joined the movement, and how St. Peters, a St. Louis suburb, is taking part.

The organization has samples of resolutions to promote the motto, school board policies that can be adopted and even a proposal to add the motto to a display of historical documents.

The Mississippi legislature wrote: “The governing authorities of every political subdivision in the state are authorized, in their discretion, to display the Ten Commandments and our national motto, of ‘In God We Trust,’ and the Beatitudes as stated in the Gospel of Mathew on an appropriately framed background in any public building.”

Just weeks ago, Pennsylvania House members adopted a bill endorsing the posting of “In God We Trust.”

The First Amendment Center has followed the conflict over “In God We Trust”  since the case brought by Newdow to remove the motto from U.S. currency.

The slogan first was put on U.S. coins in 1864 and on paper currency in 1957.

The federal government says the motto was placed on coins “largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War.”.

One request came from Rev. M. Watkinson of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, who said he wanted “succeeding centuries” to know of America’s Christian faith.

Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase then instructed U.S. Mint officials to “cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.”

“The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins,” he said.

It was been in use since then, with occasional lapses that Congress quickly ordered corrected. When the new $621 million Capitol Visitor Center was being opened in Washington a few years ago, members of Congress noticed the motto was absent and ordered it installed immediate. The House vote was 410-8.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., threatened to hold up the center’s opening, saying that its displays failed to honor the country’s religious heritage and conveyed the message that the answer to society’s problems is government.

There also have been proposals to put the slogan on customized automobile license plates.

A sheriff in Louisiana has announced a July 4 celebration called “In God We Trust,” describing it as a public prayer event and holiday celebration.

“Not only am I elected to serve the people of Bossier Parish, but I live here and my family lives here. I think Bossier Parish is a better place with Christianity and Christian values involved in it,” Sheriff Julian Whittington told the Shreveport Times. “I am an elected official. I’m also a citizen here. I think this is what’s best for us. I don’t work for anybody in Washington. What they do, what they say, I couldn’t really care less.”

‘Enlightened approach’: Jamaica relaxes ban on marijuana possession

‘Enlightened approach’: Jamaica relaxes ban on marijuana possession

Reuters/Gilbert Bellamy

Jamaica’s government has approved legislation to ease a ban on the possession of small amounts of weed. Hailed as a more “enlightened approach,” the bill will also decriminalize the use of the drug for religious, medical and scientific ends.

Jamaican lawmakers approved the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act which will legalize the possession of small amounts of pot, or ganja as it’s locally known, in certain cases.

“Cabinet has approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to the possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes,”
 said Justice Minister Mark Golding.

The amendment is likely to be made law in September when the Jamaican parliament return from their summer break. The new regulations will drastically scale down the punishment for carrying up to 57 grams of the drug. Citizens caught in possession of weed will no longer be arrested. Instead they will be issued with a ticket and asked to pay a fine.

In addition, the amendment decriminalizes the use of the drug for scientific, religious and medical purposes. The cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial ends will also be permitted under the amendment.

Golding said the new legislation was not intended in any way to promote the consumption of marijuana.

“The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities,”
he said, stressing the drug will still be illegal to smoke in public.

“Smoking of ganja should be absorbed into the general non-smoking regime, with the same penalty structure, except that the smoking of ganja will be permitted in private places,” he said.

Jamaica’s Rastafarian movement, which views cannabis as sacred, has long called for the legalization of the drug. They will now be able to use the drug in special places designated for religious worship.

The legalization of marijuana in Uruguay and Colorado has prompted many governments to reassess their policies on marijuana.

Last December Uruguayan President Jose Mujica signed a law decriminalizing the consumption, cultivation and sale of the drug. In doing so he hopes to undercut the illegal drugs industry in the country.

California Senators Introduce Gun Confiscation Bill

California Senators Introduce Gun Confiscation Bill

TruthAndAction.org

In the wake of the recent shooting in the Isla Vista community near Santa Barbara, CA, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein introduced “The Pause for Safety Act.”

This is nothing short of a gun confiscation bill. What it basically does is allow anyone at any time to seek a “firearms restraining order” against anyone else, which would not only prevent them from purchasing a gun, but would also allow law enforcement to confiscate whatever guns they might have.

John C. Fields, director of the California Rifles and Pistols Association, states, “In other words, if there was somebody you couldn’t stand, and they were a firearms owner, you could in effect call the authorities to them and say, ‘Hey, this guy is a nutcase and you need to come over and confiscate his guns,’ and there would be little or no protection against that.”

The new legislation – The Pause for Safety Act – will include the following provisions:

• One, it would help ensure that families and others can go to court and seek a gun violence prevention order to temporarily stop someone close to them who poses a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm.
• Two, it would help ensure that families and others can also seek a gun violence prevention warrant that would allow law enforcement to take temporary possession of firearms that have already been purchased if a court determines that the individual poses a threat to themselves or others.
• Three, it would help ensure that law enforcement makes full use of all existing gun registries when assessing a tip, warning or request from a concerned family member or other close associate.

Believing that the first line of defense against violence by unstable individuals lies with those that know them best, California lawmakers introduced a gun control bill before Congress Thursday that would permit family members to confiscate weapons from people posing a threat.

Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Lois Capps co-authored the Pause for Safety Act, which would establish a federal grant program for states to fund a system where family members who are concerned about a person’s mental stability could petition the court for a gun-violence prevention warrant.

The warrant could prevent the person from buying a gun and would empower the police to confiscate guns already owned by the person if they’re deemed a threat by the court.

“We must do everything in our power to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or to others,” Feinstein said in a statement released by Boxer’s office.

“The bill would allow those who know the most about the condition of someone who poses a risk of committing violence to take steps to remove firearms from that individual’s possession.”

The bill was inspired by the May 23 mass shooting and stabbing spree by former 22-year-old Santa Barbara City College student Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and himself in Isla Vista, Calif. Before the shooting, Rodger’s mother had called police and asked them to check on her son after seeing a disturbing video he posted online, but authorities said the man didn’t meet the criteria for an involuntary hold, despite having a history of mental illness.

“It is haunting that the family of the gunman who committed this massacre in Isla Vista was desperate to stop a tragedy, and yet they lacked the tools to do so,”Boxer said. “My bill would give families and associates who fear someone close to them could commit violence new tools to help prevent these tragedies.”

The Pause for Safety Act would make checking gun registries a mandatory and universal practice in states that have them, instead of a discretionary resource for law enforcement officers.

“No one is safe in America anymore. Not in their schools, not in a movie theater, not in their workplace, not their home, and not on a beautiful college campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean,” Boxer said in introducing the measure. “We have a function here, not to allow someone who’s unstable or violent, not to allow that person to get a weapon.”