The Truth Is Vault 7 Is Empty! Government Is Totally Incompetent!

In this video, Vin Armani takes a deep dive into Vault 7 and discovers that the CIA’s technology isn’t nearly as scary as media reports have made out. Most of their “hacking” tools require a tech-savvy agent to be physically in the same room as the target device in order to install malware. And most of their malware is wiped out by the next routine software update by the device maker.

Watch the full broadcast here.

(For more from the author of “The Truth Is Vault 7 Is Empty! Government Is Totally Incompetent!” please click HERE)

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When Is It Time to Revolt? The 50 States vs. The Gigantic Vampiric Bureaucracy Known as the Federal Government

People who can wake up care.

There are 50 countries in the US. They’re called states.

All right, that’s an exaggeration. They are states. But they could be countries.

If you don’t think so, consider the 2015 state budget of tiny Rhode Island: $8.9 billion. The 2016 budget for the nation of Somalia was $216 million.

The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States [government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The 11th Amendment reads: “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”

If you combine these two Amendments, you begin to see the considerable powers granted to the states.

Of course, now, relatively few people care about these powers. They should, but they don’t.

The Civil War over the issue of slavery convinced a majority of Americans that states’ power was a bad thing—and it had to be remedied when high moral principles and intolerable suffering were at stake.

This premise was, however, expanded to include almost any issue on which the federal government wanted to assert its supremacy.

Which is where we are now.

And the Congress has been more than happy to cement that assertion of overweening federal power, by passing budgets that hand over huge sums of money to the states—otherwise known as bribes for giving in and surrendering.

The states lost that war without a shot being fired.

There is another way so-called “Progressives” look at illegitimate and unconstitutional federal power: it is the wonderful solution to problems the states refuse to solve for themselves.

If a state or states can’t see the wisdom of regulating an industry that pollutes, the federal government must step in and take control. When it does, the control is hailed as a victory.

But is it? The solution, in the long run, can be worse than the problem. As time passes, the federal government exerts more and more power over the states—any one of which could rightfully claim it has the size and money to rank as a country.

America, more and more, becomes a single entity, ruled from above, at a great distance, by a gigantic vampiric bureaucracy. This is exactly the kind of centralization the Republic’s Founders tried to avoid.

Conventional wisdom asserts that the states will do great harm to their citizens, because the states are locally inept, corrupt, ignorant, and cruel, whereas the federal government is kinder, gentler, more humane, and wise. The states are more likely to be run by greedy businessmen, while the federal government can maintain greater distance and rule with equanimity and fairness.

This is largely propaganda, and now, in 2017, it is difficult to run tests of the conventional wisdom, because the federal government has taken such major blocks of states’ former powers into its own hands.

But here is an example of such a test: the US Department of Education, a federal agency. It employs a mere 4400 people, and it has a staggering annual budget of $68 billion.

What in the world are those 4400 people doing with that much tax money and money printed out of thin air?

Here is the defining statement from the Department’s website:

ED’s 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget are dedicated to: “Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds [throwing giant sums of money at the states while binding the states to all sorts of rules and conditions and guidelines and bribes.].”

“Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research [surveillance, data mining, profiling, invasive pseudoscientific psychological screening].”

“Focusing national attention on key educational issues [propaganda, indoctrination, useless public relations, b.s.].”

“Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education [preempting the states’ ability to handle those issues themselves].”

The individual states could run and fund their own schools. Of course, they wouldn’t have the $68 billion each year to work with, but that would be their problem to solve.

The fact that it isn’t their problem now speaks to the federal policy of piling up insupportable budget debt to the sky and then pretending it doesn’t exist. “Here’s 68 billion dollars. No problem. We’ll print more when we need it.”

So the test would be: eliminate the US Department of Education.

Turn back the full responsibility for education to the states.

Perhaps then, the states would realize how insane their own governments are, because those governments, too, are running on the fumes of unpayable debt.

A rude awakening for all concerned, at every level? Most certainly. But the degree of overarching federal power would shrink a bit.

And in the long run, that is a good thing. An important thing.

And the next step would be individual communities within the states taking back control of their own schools. And many more parents homeschooling their own children.

The whole operation is called Decentralization.

And it starts at the top, where the biggest power grab of all occurred. Where the Constitution was stepped on, twisted, co-opted, ensnared, burned, scrapped, defamed, ignored, and ridiculed.

Think about this. How many schools in America, all of which receive gobs of federal money, actually teach the Constitution in a serious way, article by article, amendment by amendment, day by day, through all grades, with increasing depth and sophistication?


As in: NONE.

Why should the schools teach the Constitution? After all, they’re sucking in money from a federal government that opposes the document and its essential separation of powers.

Coda: There are people who think what I’m proposing is beyond the pale. For example, what about the great civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s? It resulted in the passage of federal legislation that changed the landscape of America and canceled racism in many resistant states.

Yes, and it also resulted in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, which was launched in 1966, and continues in one form or another to this day. Trillions of dollars have been poured into inner cities, and the conditions in those areas are far worse than in 1966.

How can that be? It can be, because along with the money came Dependence on the federal government. Lifelong dependence. Which was the actual motive behind the whole operation. It was no favor to the poor. It was a war on the poor. Honest programs aimed at developing self-sufficient businesses were cast aside and purposely rejected. Why? Because they could have worked. Because they would have lifted people up.

But instead, we now have equality. Equality of dependence. That was the federal ruse. That was the op.

What looks like federal intervention on behalf of the high moral ground turns into a long-term enduring disaster.

The solution to the problem turns out to be worse than the problem.

Why should we care about fake morality, devised to appear like a gift from the gods?

We should care about the self-sufficiency, power, imagination, and visions of many individuals. We should support the work that springs from those wells of deep energy.

The Constitution, in its own way, was an attempt to establish a platform from which those qualities could emerge.

It limited the force that could be applied from the highest controls of government.

Perverse criminals at every level rise and fall. But the Founding ideas and ideals remain. And so do the individuals who grasp them and live in freedom. (For more from the author of “When Is It Time to Revolt? The 50 States vs. The Gigantic Vampiric Bureaucracy Known as the Federal Government” please click HERE)

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Globalists Interviewed: They Admit They Control the Government

This is a bombshell. It’s a crucial piece of history that has been ignored by mass media.

I’ve published this interview before. Here I want to make new comments.

First of all, David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission was born in 1973, in part because the Globalist plan to ensure “free trade” (no tariffs paid by predatory mega-corporations) had run into a glitch.

That glitch was President Richard Nixon. He began laying tariffs on certain goods imported into the US, in order to level the playing field and protect American companies. Nixon, a substantial crook in other respects, went off-script in this case and actually started a movement to reject the Globalist vision.

After Nixon’s ouster from the White House, Gerald Ford became president, and he chose David’s brother, Nelson Rockefeller as his vice-president. It was a sign Globalism and free trade were back on track.

But David Rockefeller and his sidekick, Brzezinski, wanted more. They wanted a man in the White House whom they’d created from scratch.

That man was a peanut farmer no one had ever heard of: Jimmy Carter.

Through their media connections, David and Brzezinski vaulted Carter into the spotlight. He won the Democratic nomination (1976), spread a syrupy message of love and coming together after the Watergate debacle, and soon he was ensconced in the Oval Office.

Flash forward to 1978, the second year of Carter’s presidency. An interview took place.

It’s a close-up snap shot of a remarkable moment. It’s a through-the-looking-glass secret—in the form of a conversation between a reporter, Jeremiah Novak, and two Trilateral Commission members, Karl Kaiser and Richard Cooper.

The interview concerned the issue of who exactly, during President Carter’s administration, was formulating and controlling US economic and political policy.

The careless and off-hand attitude of Trilateralists Kaiser and Cooper is astonishing. It’s as if they’re saying, “What we’re revealing is already out in the open, it’s too late to do anything about it, why are you so worked up, we’ve already won…”

NOVAK (the reporter): Is it true that a private [Trilateral committee] led by Henry Owen of the US and made up of [Trilateral] representatives of the US, UK, West Germany, Japan, France and the EEC is coordinating the economic and political policies of the Trilateral countries [which would include the US]?

COOPER: Yes, they have met three times.

NOVAK: Yet, in your recent paper you state that this committee should remain informal because to formalize ‘this function might well prove offensive to some of the Trilateral and other countries which do not take part.’ Who are you afraid of?

KAISER: Many countries in Europe would resent the dominant role that West Germany plays at these [Trilateral] meetings.

COOPER: Many people still live in a world of separate nations [!], and they would resent such coordination [of policy].

NOVAK: But this [Trilateral] committee is essential to your whole policy. How can you keep it a secret or fail to try to get popular support [for its decisions on how Trilateral member nations will conduct their economic and political policies]?

COOPER: Well, I guess it’s the press’ job to publicize it.

NOVAK: Yes, but why doesn’t President Carter come out with it and tell the American people that [US] economic and political power is being coordinated by a [Trilateral] committee made up of Henry Owen and six others? After all, if [US] policy is being made on a multinational level, the people should know.

COOPER: President Carter and Secretary of State Vance have constantly alluded to this in their speeches.

KAISER: It just hasn’t become an issue.

SOURCE: “Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management,” ed. by Holly Sklar, 1980. South End Press, Boston. Pages 192-3.

Of course, although Kaiser and Cooper claimed everything being manipulated by the Trilateral Commission committee was already out in the open, it wasn’t.

Their interview slipped under the mainstream media radar, which is to say, it was ignored and buried. It didn’t become a scandal on the level of, say, Watergate, although its essence was far larger than Watergate.

US economic and political policy run by a committee of the Trilateral Commission—the Commission had been created in 1973 as an “informal discussion group” by David Rockefeller and his sidekick, Brzezinski, who would become Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor.

Shortly after Carter won the presidential election, his aide, Hamilton Jordan, said that if after the inauguration, Cy Vance and Brzezinski came on board as secretary of state and national security adviser, “We have lost. And I will quit.” Lost—because both men were powerful members of the Trilateral Commission and their appointment to key positions would signal a surrender of White House control to the Commission.

Vance and Brzezinski were appointed secretary of state and national security adviser, as Jordan feared. But he didn’t quit. He became Carter’s chief of staff.

Flash forward again, to the Obama administration.

In the run-up to his inauguration after the 2008 presidential election, Obama was tutored by the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Four years before birthing the Commission with his boss of bosses, David Rockefeller, Brzezinski wrote: “[The] nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation state.”

Goodbye, separate nations.

Any doubt on the question of Trialteral goals is answered by David Rockefeller himself, in his Memoirs (2003): “Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

Patrick Wood, author of Trilaterals Over Washington and Technocracy Rising, points out there are only 87 members of the Trilateral Commission who live in America.

Obama appointed eleven of them to posts in his administration.

For example: Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary;
James Jones, National Security Advisor;
Paul Volker, Chairman, Economic Recovery Committee;
Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence.

Here is the payoff. The US Trade Representative (appointed by Obama in 2013), who was responsible for negotiating the Globalist TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) treaty with 11 other nations, was Michael Froman, a former member of the Trilateral Commission. Don’t let the word “former” fool you. Commission members resign when they take positions in the Executive Branch of government. And when they serve in vital positions, such as US Trade Representative, they aren’t there by accident. They’re operatives with a specific agenda.
Flash forward one more time. Trump, who squashed the Globalist TPP treaty as soon as he was inaugurated, has been busy making staff appointments. Patrick Wood writes (2/6/17):

“According to a White House press release, the first member of the Trilateral Commission has entered the Trump administration as the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, where he will sit on the National Security Council:

“Kenneth I. Juster will serve as Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. He will coordinate the Administration’s international economic policy and integrate it with national security and foreign policy. He will also be the President’s representative and lead U.S. negotiator (“Sherpa”) for the annual G-7, G-20, and APEC Summits.”

Juster’s duties will take him into the heart of high-level negotiations with foreign governments on economic policy.

Keep your eye on Mr. Juster. Will he take actions in line with Trump’s avowed anti-Globalist stance?

Or will Juster work as one more covert Trilateral operative in the center of American decision-making?

If the answer is “covert operative,” does Trump know this? Does he condone what Mr. Juster will do?

Or is this a case of secret infiltration, on behalf the most powerful Globalist group in the world, the Trilateral Commission? (For more from the author of “Globalists Interviewed: They Admitted They Controlled the Government” please click HERE)

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Unhappy Adult Man Sitting Depressed Hoodie Sad

Shame on the Silent Christian Leaders Who Refuse to Stand Against Government Tyranny

There is only one thing more appalling than the Washington Supreme Court’s 9-0 ruling against religious liberty today. It is the silence of Christian leaders across America, leaders who choose convenience over confrontation, leaders who would rather be popular than prophetic, leaders who prefer the favor of people over the favor of God. Shame on these silent leaders. Today is a day to stand.

There are, of course, the handful of expected Christian voices protesting the court’s outrageous decision, as these justices ruled unanimously against florist Barronelle Stutzman, claiming that she discriminated against a longtime gay customer (named Robert Ingersoll) when she told him she couldn’t make the floral arrangement for his upcoming gay “wedding,” despite the fact that she had served him for years and despite her recommending three other florists who could do the arrangements for his wedding.

Instead, the court ruled that this 72-year-old grandmother who had employed gay workers and served gay customers for years, was required by law to participate in a gay wedding, even though this constituted a direct violation of her religious beliefs — beliefs which have been consistent and almost universally held among Christians for the last 2,000 years.

Not only so, but the court upheld the attack on her personal assets as well — her house, her savings, her retirement funds — by requiring her “to pay the attorneys’ fees that the ACLU racked up in suing her,” fees which could reach as high as one million dollars.

Previously, when Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, an aggressive liberal who brought the suit against Barronnelle, “announced he would accept $2,000 in penalties, $1 in fees and costs, plus an agreement not to discriminate in the future and to end further litigation,” Barronnelle rejected the proposed settlement.

She explained,

Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do.

I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating, and having a home. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process.

Today, on my radio show, shortly after the ruling was announced, and with the full weight of the state’s ruling hanging over her head, she told me she would do the same thing again (stating that when God changes His Word, she will change her mind) — also stating without the slightest trace of bitterness that she would gladly serve Robert Ingersoll should he come into her store today.

Where are the Christians?

Friends, what we are witnessing today is a breathtaking abuse of power, an extreme overreach by the government, a shocking example of LGBT activism out of control. Yet, over the next 7 days, church services will come and go without a word being spoken, and over the next 48 hours, the Christian blogosphere will remain relatively quiet. How can this be?

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, courageous Christian leader Basilea Schlink rebuked the silence of Christians immediately after Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass (Nov. 9, 1938), when the Nazis set synagogues on fire and vandalized Jewish places of business, also killing and beating some Jewish victims as well. And while I am not comparing gay activists and their allies to Nazis, and I am not comparing the Washington court’s ruling to Kristallnacht, I am comparing the silence of Christians then and now.

Please stop and read these words carefully.

Schlink wrote,

We are personally to blame. We all have to admit that if we, the entire Christian community, had stood up as one man and if, after the burning of the synagogues, we had gone out on the streets and voiced our disapproval, rung the church bells, and somehow boycotted the actions of the S.S., the Devil’s vassals would probably not have been at such liberty to pursue their evil schemes. But we lacked the ardor of love — love that is never passive, love that cannot bear it when its fellow men are in misery, particularly when they are subjected to such appalling treatment and tortured to death. Indeed, if we had loved God, we would not have endured seeing those houses of God set ablaze; and holy, divine wrath would have filled our souls. … Oh, that we as Germans and as Christians would stand aghast and cry out ever anew, “What have we done!” At every further evidence of our guilt may we repeat the cry. (From her book Israel, My Chosen People: A German Confession Before God and the Jews.)

What adds to the tragic irony of the moment is that in recent weeks, designers have said they will no longer work with Melania Trump and stores have dropped Ivanka Trump product lines, not because of deeply held religious beliefs, which are explicitly protected by the First Amendment, but because of political differences. And these companies and individuals are being praised by liberal Americans for standing on their convictions. But when a Christian florist politely declines a gay couple’s request to design the floral arrangements for their “wedding” ceremony, she is taken to court and threatened with the loss of her business and all her personal assets.

Where is the righteous Christian indignation? And where are the bleeding-heart liberals who claim to care about the persecuted underdog? (Remember: The ACLU with its massive resources is leading the charge against Barronnelle.)

I can respect Christian leaders who try to stay out of the culture wars because they don’t want to drive their LGBT neighbors and friends away from the gospel — as long as they speak up at times like this, when our fundamental liberties are being trashed and when a gracious Christian grandmother is being savaged by the state. But should they remain silent at a time like this, the next time they raise their voices on behalf of the LGBT community (and against the conservative evangelicals they so frequently attack) they will be shouting one message to the world: “I am a hypocritical coward!”

Let me urge you, then, to do three things: 1) share this article with others to help spread the word; 2) make a statement about this gross injustice however you can (on social media; to your family; from your pulpit — I’m urging every pastor reading this column to say something to your flock the next opportunity you have); 3) go to this website to stand with Barronnelle and her team; 4) pray for God to awaken the Church of America.

Will you take a stand today? (For more from the author of “Shame on the Silent Christian Leaders Who Refuse to Stand Against Government Tyranny” please click HERE)

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The Government Seized $100K From This California Family’s Bank Accounts, College Savings

James Slatic was sitting in a breakfast meeting when he heard the news.

An employee who worked for him and his medical marijuana business, Med-West Distribution, called to tell him he arrived at Med-West’s facility in San Diego, California, to find “25 police cars” outside.

It was Jan. 28, and on that day, an estimated 30 armed agents with the San Diego Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration raided Med-West, a company that manufactures cannabis oil cartridges for medical use, according to court filings.

The company has complied with state medical marijuana laws, registered with the city of San Diego and paid taxes to the IRS, the state, and the local government, Slatic, Med-West’s CEO, told The Daily Signal.

But the agents with the task force ended up seizing computers, records, equipment, and more than $324,000 from Med-West.

Police also arrested two employees working that day, but they were released and never charged with a crime.

“It was like a scene out of a bad movie,” Slatic said.

But for Slatic, the movie didn’t end there.

Five days later, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office froze bank accounts belonging to Slatic, his wife, Annette, and their two teenage daughters, Lily and Penny Cohen, under a procedure called civil asset forfeiture.

In total, law enforcement seized $55,258 from James Slatic’s checking and savings account, $34,175 from Annette Slatic’s account, and a combined $11,260 from Lily and Penny Cohen’s savings accounts—money designated to pay for college.

“This is the dirty secret of the justice system,” Slatic said of civil forfeiture. “When you’re a family person that’s been a law-abiding citizen and something like this happens, when you talk to the person on the street and say you’re a legal, licensed, regulated, tax-paying business, people are like, ‘Oh, they can’t do that.’”

“Well,” he continued, “that’s what everybody thinks, but unfortunately they can.”

A spokeswoman for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said the investigation into the Med-West and the raid conducted is ongoing, and the case under review.

“The primary mission of the asset forfeiture program is to enhance public safety by removing the proceeds of crime and other assets relied upon by criminals to perpetuate their criminal activity,” Tanya Sierra said in an email to The Daily Signal.

In the nine months since the family’s money was seized, police haven’t charged anyone with a crime.

Federal prosecutors declined to prosecute Med-West, as an amendment included in the federal budget for 2015 prohibits the Justice Department from prosecuting people acting in accordance with their state’s medical marijuana laws.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office also decided not to prosecute Med-West.

The company, however, ultimately shuttered. As a result, Slatic said 35 people lost their jobs.

Now, Slatic and his family, along with the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, are challenging the government’s seizure of their money—which sits in what the Institute for Justice calls “legal limbo”—in court.

“We’re going into debt while we fight what we consider to be an illegal government seizure,” Slatic said. “But we’re hopeful that our family will get justice and our kids will get their college savings back.”

‘Crossed Into Abuse’

Civil forfeiture is a tool that gives law enforcement the power to seize cash, cars, and property if they suspect it’s tied to a crime.

Law enforcement agencies argue the procedure is needed to curb money laundering and drug trafficking.

But civil forfeiture opponents point to cases like Slatic’s as evidence that police are abusing the tool and using it to put more money in their coffers.

According to a November report from the Institute for Justice, law enforcement in California forfeited nearly $280 million from 2002 to 2013.

“The zeal shown by police has crossed into abuse, and the only thing they’ve accomplished is to take nearly half a million dollars from an innocent family,” Wesley Hottot, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice representing Slatic, told The Daily Signal. “This case isn’t about crime fighting. It’s about policing for profit.”

Med-West legally operated in California—the state legalized medical marijuana in 1996—but in an affidavit filed with the courts that led to the seizure of the Slatics’ money, San Diego police Detective Mark Carlson cited state law that prohibits “chemical extraction” to manufacture marijuana as part of their justification to take the money.

Slatic, though, said that Med-West refined oils, and didn’t extract them.

Additionally, the Institute for Justice said in court filings that the equipment found at Med-West’s facilities cannot be used for chemical extraction.

“Critically, the equipment that Carlson describes—a rotary evaporator—can only be used for refinement,” the documents state. “Indeed, it is impossible to use a rotary evaporator to extract cannabis oil from raw marijuana, as expert testimony at the hearing will show.”

In his affidavit, Carlson said that the building where Med-West was located contained a “sophisticated clandestine” laboratory and distribution center—a characterization Hottot refutes.

“All of this was being done not in a clandestine fashion, but across the street from a Mercedes-Benz dealership in a commercial building,” he said. “The government knew it was there. They had been paying taxes. They weren’t hiding. They had a public website that mentioned what they did.”

Despite the allegations against Med-West, Slatic and the Institute for Justice are challenging the San Diego County district attorney’s seizure of money from the family’s personal bank accounts.

Med-West is challenging the government’s seizure of the $324,000 in a different case, as a criminal investigation is ongoing.

The law firm argued that the government’s seizure of the money belonging to the Slatics and their children is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution.

Additionally, California state law requires that the government be able to “trace” forfeitable property to a crime, which, according to the Institute for Justice, the government cannot do.

“The government can’t seize every penny from a family based on the mere suspicion that one member violated the law,” Hottot said. “It’s not just wrong, it’s unconstitutional.”

‘Deeply Troubled’

The civil forfeiture case against Slatic and his family comes just months after California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation reforming the state’s civil forfeiture laws.

Under the new laws, which take effect in January, law enforcement must secure a criminal conviction before forfeiting cash worth up to $40,000.

California is one of a handful of states that reformed their civil forfeiture laws this year, and legislation is making its way through the federal legislature.

Hottot, the lawyer with the Institute for Justice, said what happened to the Slatics demonstrates why further action is needed.

“There’s a troubling profit incentive for police and prosecutors to continue to do what’s happened here,” he said. “It has to stop, and we need major civil asset forfeiture reform in this country to make these sorts of seizures impossible.”

Hottot also said the Slatics’ case should serve as a “warning sign” for the American people in terms of how the tool is being used, particularly since law enforcement seized money not only from Slatic and his business, but also from his wife and daughters.

“If people knew how police and prosecutors can directly profit, I think they would be deeply troubled by how vulnerable their property is,” he said. “All it takes is one police officer alleging that one person committed a crime to take everything from an entire family.” (For more from the author of “The Government Seized $100K From This California Family’s Bank Accounts, College Savings” please click HERE)

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Americans Agree: Big Government Sucks but They Aren’t Willing to Cut Any of Its Programs

If you think the federal government is too big, most Americans agree with you.

The latest Gallup poll reveals that a majority of Americans (54 percent) think the federal government is trying to do too much. In the 25 years that Gallup has gauged “Americans’ Views of Government Role,” the American public has always answered the same, with two exceptions. In 1993, when concerns about the economy were especially high and Bill Clinton came into office, and immediately after the 9/11 attacks, Americans thought that government should do more.

But that feeling didn’t last long.

In the Clinton and Obama years, the percentage of Americans who thought government is doing too much stayed at higher levels than in the George W. Bush years. Gallup says that “[t]his most likely reflects a counteraction to perceptions that the two Democratic presidents were oriented toward increasing the government’s role.”

And indeed, the size and role of government has increased unabated the past 25 years, even under President Bush. (Remember Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind? Oh, and trillion-dollar budgets.)

While a majority of Americans think government is too big, studies repeatedly show that when it comes down to actual solutions, answers are sparse. Americans don’t want cuts and major reforms to entitlement spending — specifically Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending — which is the main driver of our $19 trillion national debt.

A 2011 New York Times/CBS News poll found that seven out of 10 Americans thought increasing deficits were a “very serious” problem, but “when asked to choose among cuts to Medicare, Social Security, or the nation’s third-largest spending program — the military — a majority by a large margin said cuts to the Pentagon.”

A 2016 Public Policy Poll shows that a staggering 88 percent of Americans oppose cutting Social Security benefits. A majority of Americans also said: they oppose privatizing Social Security by investing retirement money in the stock market (68 percent), are less likely to vote for a politician who thinks Social Security benefits should be cut (80 percent), and oppose raising the retirement age for Social Security eligibility (62 percent).

While Americans don’t want to see cuts to entitlement programs, something will have to change — and soon. As The Daily Signal reported, entitlement spending, on the current trajectory, will absorb all federal revenue in just 17 years. That means there will be no money to pay the interest on our national debt, for national security and defense, for anything.

When will things change, though? The Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, rarely ever talks about entitlement spending. When he does, he says he doesn’t want to make cuts, particularly to Social Security; he wants to find a way to save it. Naturally, Hillary Clinton also opposes cuts to entitlement spending.

Our presidential nominees aren’t the only ones who don’t want to do anything substantive to avoid the impending cliff — neither does Congress. As National Review has noted, the number of times “debt” or “deficit” was mentioned in Congress dropped sharply between 2011 and 2015, and Congress has left entitlement spending largely untouched.

Regardless of how many politicians, Republican or Democrat, want to avoid the inconvenient topic, in a few years they won’t be able to ignore it anymore. And the American voters shouldn’t ignore it, either. In order to lessen the impact of Social Security or Medicare going bankrupt, it would be better to start addressing the inevitable now. That requires courage, though, and when you look at Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or the “leaders” in Congress, is that the first word that comes to mind? (For more from the author of “Americans Agree: Big Government Sucks but They Aren’t Willing to Cut Any of Its Programs” please click HERE)

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Sturbuck Community Church

Holy War: Government Tries to Control Church Sermons

An Iowa church just wants to be free to preach the gospel, but the state’s so-called nondiscrimination requirements could block the house of worship from doing just that.

Lawyers for the church are asking a federal court to prevent Iowa from censoring what the religious group can say about homosexuality, same-sex “marriage,” transgenderism and other related topics.

The case erupted when the state’s Civil Rights Commission first claimed the authority to control the content of sermons and then to define what’s religious.

At issue is the state’s nondiscrimination requirements that specify any “public accommodation” can be ordered not to say anything that might make a homosexual or a transgender feel “unwelcome,” such as even reading from the Bible a condemnation of such behavior.

Lawyers for the Alliance Defending Freedom, who are representing the church, have filed a reply in support of their motion for a preliminary injunction that would protect the church members’ constitutional rights while the case plays out. (Read more from “Holy War: Government Tries to Control Church Sermons” HERE)

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Why Over Half of Prince’s Estate Will Go to the Government

maxresdefaultIt appears that the pop star Prince may have died without a will, leaving behind a multi-million dollar and growing estate. Although Prince has one full sister and five half-siblings, Prince’s family members will not be his biggest heirs.

Both the federal government and Minnesota’s state government will assess so-called “death taxes” or estate taxes on Prince’s assets, taking away more than half his estate. Between his physical assets—cash, investments, home, etc.—and his future royalties, Prince’s estate has been estimated to be between $300 and $500 million.

If Prince were married, he could have passed on the entirety of his estate to his spouse tax free. However, without a spouse, only $1.6 million of Prince’s estate will be free from Minnesota’s death tax and only $5.45 million will escape the federal death tax.

The combination of Minnesota’s top death tax rate of 16 percent, plus the federal government’s 40 percent rate, means that over 50 percent of Prince’s estate will go to the government.

Had Prince known ahead of time that he would die at such a young age, he may have been able to reduce the government’s reach into his estate through tax planning, but with a fortune as large as his, the government’s claim to his estate was inevitable.

While Prince was probably not all that concerned with the death tax—particularly since his early death was unexpected—he probably didn’t change his behavior all that much in response to the death tax. But most people who pay the death tax are not like Prince—they don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars, and some don’t even have a hundred thousand dollars in cash if their assets are all tied up in the value of their family business.

When the owner of a family business dies without leaving behind a large pile of cash or other liquid assets, the family often has to sell the business to pay the death tax. That can have devastating employment consequences. A 2014 analysis of the death tax by The Heritage Foundation found that its harmful effects on savings, investment, and capital reduces employment by 18,000 jobs each year.

While it’s tempting to think that the government’s reach into Prince’s massive estate isn’t all that harmful to the pop star or his heirs, the death tax has been devastating to many small businesses and the communities in which they operate. (For more from the author of “Why Over Half of Prince’s Estate Will Go to the Government” please click HERE)

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International Report Sends Terrifying Warning to Governments: ‘Prepare for Catastrophes Like Yellowstone Eruption’

It’s long been known that if the Yellowstone supervolcano were to erupt at full force the loss of life would be substantial and the effects on the world’s climate would be disastrous — water sources would be fouled, crops would fail, many people would die directly and indirectly.

In an international report that has recently captured headlines, scientists have attempted to quantify the threat of such catastrophes while also urging governments worldwide to collaborate on investment in scientific research to better prepare the world in hopes of lessening the impacts of such a calamity.

“I think the paper and its contents are very valuable,” said Bob Smith, a University of Utah researcher who has long studied the geodynamics of Yellowstone, even if certain websites tend to sensationalize the findings to the “point of annoyance.”

The warnings and recommendations are contained in “Extreme Geohazards: Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience.” The report was supported by the European Science Foundation and included an international cast of authors with expertise in such diverse fields as economics, health and earth sciences.

“It’s one of the only reports I’ve ever seen that takes a geologic perspective in thinking about hazards,” said Jake Lowenstern, a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. (Read more from “International Report Sends Terrifying Warning to Governments: ‘Prepare for Catastrophes Like Yellowstone Eruption'” HERE)

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Has America’s Social Fabric Been Torn Asunder?

The government depends upon mass, voluntary compliance with the law for it to be able to enforce the rules on society as a whole.

Simple things like a general agreement that if the speed limit says 55 miles per hour, that we will travel somewhere in the general proximity of that posting, with the outliers risking a ticket.

The understanding that we drive on the right hand side of the road and that slower vehicles stay to the far right on multi-lane highways make the free flow of traffic possible.

But events over the weekend make a reasonable person wonder whether the constant fraying of the social contract has finally created a tear that is rapidly becoming irreparable.

In malls across the country, thousands of people congregated, not for the purposes of shopping, going to a movie or simply enjoying each other’s company, but instead with the goal of disrupting people from using the already hard pressed brick and mortar stores for their intended purpose.

At Minneapolis’ Mall of America, the radical Black Lives Matter group even went so far as to feint a protest so there would be a heavy police presence, allowing them to shut down part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport during the height of the Christmas travel season. Beyond the obvious problem that their actions caused hundreds of people to miss their flights home, they deliberately placed thousands at an additional risk of a terrorist attack due to distracted security.

Mall disruptions also were reported in New Jersey, Kentucky and elsewhere around the country. When combined with flash mob convenience store robberies and random assaults by mobs playing the “knockout game”, it would be hard to not notice that something is badly amiss.

Even our assumed driving rules are under attack. On the Washington, D.C. Beltway, a group of approximately fifty motorcyclists caused a delay as they uniformly slowed down across all the lanes bringing traffic to a standstill. As they got moving again, they aggressively cut cars off from passing, and even went so far as to drive north bound up the south bound lanes. There did not appear to be any political or other message in the motorcycle foolishness, but instead the mass act of civil disobedience seems to have been done just because they could. However, it reveals the fragility of our common understanding about the need to follow the rules.

While it is usually dangerous to draw broad societal assumptions based upon flash mobs at malls, roadways or even political protests blocking bridges, it is safe to note that these occurrences are becoming significantly more frequent.

And it is fair to tie this civil disobedience to President Obama’s continued attack on the law as a whole. When the President doesn’t enforce the nation’s immigration laws, people naturally believe that if the law isn’t going to be enforced then it is null and void, and the fabric of our nation’s social contract is torn.

When Obama nullifies sentencing decisions for thousands of drug dealers and others, releasing them back into their former neighborhoods it sends a message that the system was wrong and the fabric tears a little more.

And when the left and some on the right make those who seek to enforce the laws, targets for attack and murder, creating a schism of fear between the protector and the protected, the fabric itself becomes unrecognizable.

The social fabric that binds America together as one has always been fragile, and to complete the fundamental transformation that Obama strives to achieve, it must be torn asunder from top to bottom in a wholesale surrender of the current rule of law to another set of laws composed not through consent, compromise and agreement, but instead through forced acquiescence.

America should not worry about getting on a slippery slope away from rule by the consent of the governed, because we are already half-way down the slide and few have noticed.

As more and more people read the news and wonder what is happening to their country thinking that the craziness that seems to ooze from our government is an anomaly rather than the forced new normal under Obama, a ballot box response erupts if there is a trusted alternative.

Something to think about as we head into the presidential primary season. (For more from the author of “Has America’s Social Fabric Been Torn Asunder?” please click HERE)

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