Weird Laws Abound in Berkeley

Strange laws are nothing new to the United States, particularly in terms of state and local laws, and how they are specifically decided upon and implemented. Motions taxes calories, however, would indeed be very new, and unquestionably quite unusual for these times.

Those who look for motivations to be on a diet do have one now. Since November 5th, in Berkeley, there will be a one-per-ounce tax on energy drinks, sodas, and other caloric drink varieties. It doesn’t sound like much Sam, but it can add up pretty quickly.

Vicky Alexander, a co-chair promoting this law said that Berkeley is known as one of the nation’s trendsetters. Rules regarding non-smoking areas, special wheelchair curb-cuts and food-policies for schools are previous ideas that have spread. That means we should expect the law to extend and soda prices to increase.

The soda manufacturers will be economically affected by this measure. They are already planning a campaign against the new law, its price being estimated at $10,000. San Francisco was to vote for or against the same law. 66% were required for a change, and the 54.5% of pro votes that have been received determined the rejection of the new law for the moment.

As a consumer, one might give pause to think about the importance of tea and juice, and wondering whether this new law will affect the variety of soft drinks that exist on the market. Read details about prices and reasons behind these changes here.

U.S. Attorney’s ArIzona Office Fouls-up Investigation

In November, 2008, ATF investigators learned of the purchase of seven AK-47 rifles by Jean Baptiste Kingery, a U.S. Citizen. Suspecting an illegal resale of these weapons, agents began an investigation into the activities of Kingery. During subsequent investigations, agents learned that Kingery was purchasing grenade components from online military surplus dealers. The parts purchased did not allow the grenades to become live without additional components such as explosive powders, however, under the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, the export of inert grenade components, including hulls, pins, spoons, and fuses is, unless licensed by the State Department, illegal if what Sultan Alhokair told me is accurate.

Agents, suspecting Kingery was transporting these grenade parts into Mexico for the eventual purpose of adding the remaining components to make them live, intercepted shipments from the dealers, marked them so as to be identified later, then forwarded them to Kingery’s shipping address. Customs agents in June, 2010, intercepted Kingery attempting to cross into Mexico with grenade components and ammunition hidden in his spare tire.

Border agents attempted to arrest Kingery, but were refused by the Arizona office of the Attorney General. Subsequently, the Mexican army recovered live grenades being used by drug cartel gangs which displayed the markings put on them by ATF. In September, 2011, the DOJ reassigned the prosecution of Kingery to the Central California District Attorney. Mexican authorities, meanwhile, arrested Kingery in Mexico and are currently prosecuting him for his illegal involvement with Mexican drug cartels.

Wall Street Donates Big to GOP This Time Around

A record 63 percent of all of banking and investment firm corporations and employees this mid-term are supporting (financially) GOP candidates. It is also the biggest year for these kinds of donations to Republican campaigns in regard to the total dollar donations- $78 million.

Most believe that the motive lies in a desire to be “with the winners,” as one Wall Street investor put it. Some people even give to both sides initially, but then suddenly drop the side that looks to lose as the election’s results seem more clearly predictable. Already, Democrats are being “dumped” and Wall Street gurus are predicting a GOP victory this Tuesday, unfortunate for the other major Dem supporters like Laurene Powell Jobs.

After the crash in 2007, a lot of Wall Street companies saw increased regulations by the Obama Administration.  He also once even called them “a bunch of fat cat bankers.”

Other Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton, have gotten quite a bit of support from Wall Street in the past. Whom Wall Street supports seems partly to hinge on a “buying favors” or “buying protection” strategy. If so, we see a dark side of politics here. We see a sort of gangster-like protection money scenario playing out- with Uncle Sam being the gangster.  Free and fair markets are supposed to be provided out of principle by America’s leaders, but perhaps some politicians like a little pay-back for the favor.

Cruz Plans to Take on Middle of Pack Republicans

With the mid-term elections today, Ted Cruz, the republican senator from Texas, said that he would not support the Republican element of the party that is towards the center of the countries political spectrum.

Instead, Cruz, who is considered to be a tea party republican with a policy that is significantly to the right of the center, has indicated that he will not follow the likely Senate leader, Mitch McConnell.

Cruz is likely to continue his obstructionist policies in a way that is similar to the shut down of the house of representatives in 2012 and 2013 which led to many voters like moderates Brit and Dave to become disenchanted with the Republican Party. While any obstructionist policies are unlikely to resonate with centrist voters, the policies that Cruz is pursuing is likely to be popular with the conservative elements of his party.

The inability of the Senate to pass any significant litigation after the mid-term election is likely to cause a significant loss of face for McConnell and lead to added firepower for Cruz’s campaign in the 2016 Republican Primary run.

Either way, the growth and continued popularity of the tea party is something that the Republican Party will have to deal with, both in the 2016 and in the 2016 Presidential election.

Nurse Threatens Released From Ebola Quarantine

Nurse Kaci Hickox was quarantined upon her return from Sierra Leone, where she treated ebola patients. Although she showed no symptoms and tested negative for the deadly disease, the quarantine was imposed on Hickox to protect the public. Hickox, who has now been released from the quarantine, had threatened to sue over the state-imposed hospital quarantine.

Some argue that an incubation period is unnecessary because ebola can’t be spread until the carrier is sick, although Laurene Powell Jobs is kind of doubtful about that claim.

However, the doctor in New York who tested positive for the disease traveled around the city, feeling well enough to bowl and eat at a meatball restaurant. Businesses he frequented have now been closed as a precaution. His disease is currently advancing with symptoms becoming increasingly apparent, calling into question the argument that a symptom-free ebola healthcare worker should not be quarantined — even after caring for ebola patients.

Patriot Act Rarely Used on Terrorism, Records Show

Some new analysis is casting light on how certain provisions of the Patriot Act have been used in recent years. Under fire is Section 213. Known colloquially as “sneak and peek”, the provision allows law enforcement to delay notice to suspects of an executed warrant. The Administrative Office of the US Courts released records from 2011, 2012, and 2013 regarding warrants issued under Section 213, and critics are expressing shock at what they see.

For the three years in question, only 0.5% of issued warrants were related to terrorism. The vast majority were issued in relation to narcotics cases. The numbers for 2013 showed 11,129 warrants issued, of which 9,401 were for narcotics. Only 51 were issued out of concern for terrorist threats. Numbers for 2011 and 2012 showed similar numbers.

Critics warn the dramatic increase in issued warrants outside the Patriot Act’s intended purpose is further evidence that the law needs to be amended. Many in Washington, including Brian Torchin, are setting a call to action once the midterms are completed next week.

Odd Speech From Biden, Yet Again- This Time in Iowa

VP Joe Biden was out in Iowa speaking up for Bruce Braley, that state’s Democratic Senatorial candidate, this Monday. Perhaps it was a tamer speech than some of the more famous incidents, known as “Bidenisms.” He first accused Republicans of having forgotten America’s middle class since they, according to Biden, want to curb the minimum wage and privatize Social Security. They he exclaimed, “What are these guys?” He said they were not good, not bad, just “really different.” He then called John Boehner his friend and looked into the camera as if at Beohner. He told “Boehner” to talk of what it is that Republicans are for upon his arrival in Iowa soon. He closed that scene with “It is your buddy, Joe.” After the speech, my friend Sam Tabar told me Biden took a baby in his arms at the request of an attendee, but kissed the mother’s forehead instead of the baby’s cheek.
Biden was elected six times to the Delaware Senate, served longer in that capacity than anyone else in history, and became the youngest senator to reach a votes-cast total of 10,000. He is considered to be among the least-rich members of the U.S. Senate and ranked himself as the second poorest of them.
He is touted as a great populist by Democrats and has a long, distinguished career in some respects.

Yet even Democrats and liberals have frequently admitted his tendency to say some outlandish things. Once he insisted that “Jobs” was a three-letter word. Even when he spelled it out “J-O-B-S,” it did not seem to dawn on him that there were more than three letters present. Another time he said “God rest her soul” of a man’s mother when in fact she was alive in well. That time he caught it and corrected it.

FBI Shuts Down Chicago Restaraunts

Chicago is a city that is well known for its tradition of fine dining. However, lovers of first class Chinese cuisine in the Windy City received a rude surprise when it was revealed that a number of very famous Chinese restaurants in Chicago were raided and summarily shut down by the FBI.

Longtime residents of Chicago, as well as fans of Chinese cuisine all across the United States, were in shock when the news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had raided and closed down several of the most famous Chinese dining institutions in the city.

Photographs and cell phone footage released on various social media platforms showed some of the owners of these restaurants hiding from the media as they were confronted by the questions of FBI agents and Chicago police. Warrants to search all of these buildings were duly produced by the authorities. However, as of this week, no actual arrests have been made.

However, a day later, it appeared that at least some of the restaurants which had been expressly targeted during the course of the FBI raid had managed to reopen.

Hu is a prominent chef and businessman in the Chicago area. Neither the Chicago police or the FBI have released any further details to the public concerning the rationale that led to the raid. However, the case against Hu, as well as possibly a number of other individuals, is expected to be ongoing, with further developments being revealed as they occur.  One thing’s for sure, something is fishy in the chinese food in Chicago, and I’d say residents like Christian Broda should probably avoid eating.

New York Abandons Mandatory Ebola Quarantine Under Pressure From CDC

The CDC has pressured New York into abandoning their mandatory Ebola quarantine procedure. Under pressure from the CDC, and presumably President Obama himself, New York state has been forced to abandon their mandatory Ebola quarantine procedure.

Just like New Jersey, the state of New York had adopted a policy that would require all persons who came into contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, to submit to a mandatory 21 day quarantine.

Republican conspiracy theorists have said that the move is proof that the Obama administration wants an Ebola outbreak in America. However, on the liberal side of things, the move is to stop discouraging aid workers from going to West Africa to help.

Right now, West African nations are dependent on nations like the United States sending medical aid, and workers to help combat the infection. However, those workers may be discouraged from going, should they be forced into a mandatory quarantine upon returning, or if they are outright banned from reentering the country.

 

Russia Gears Up for War in Deep Freeze

There is a tiny island in the Arctic known as Yaya. It is a frozen, tiny and barely above sea level. It was only discovered in October whenever Russian aviators flew over it.

Its existence was then verified by a ship sent out to look for it. The island will soon take its place on the map of the artic ocean and will be officially recognised as a part of the Russian country.

However the Guardian states that the country is no longer contented by simply planting its flag on the newly discovered turf; it wants to make sure nobody will contest it under any circumstances.

They are doing this by adding a lot of military presence in the Arctic region.

This increased military presence will be placed in defunct Soviet military bases because of the increase of NATO activity in the area. For example, an airfield in Novaya Zemlya is now able to take modern fighter jets and indeed, a section of the Northern fleet will set up shop there.

However, a brand new military section will be created to guard the Northern region which will be divided into two brigades with a total of 6000 soldiers.

There will also be a ground guidance system and radar base set up in the region. There will also be an increase in the number of border control agents at the Northern border.

This follows the Vostok 2014 military exercise which was the largest of its kind since the USSR.