The national grassroots group FreedomWorks, which has 6.9 million members and supports limited government, gives Michigan a “D” in a new report about civil asset forfeiture.
The report card, “Civil Asset Forfeiture: Grading the States,” bases their ratings on the standard of proof the government must meet to forfeit property, who has the burden of proof (the state or the individual), and what percentage of forfeiture funds go to law enforcement.
In explaining the grade for Michigan, the report says, “The standard of proof is too low; the government may forfeit property by showing a preponderance of the evidence. The government must prove the property owner was not an innocent owner, if the owner claims this defense. Law enforcement receives 100 percent of forfeiture funds. A package of eight separate reform bills has passed the Michigan House with strong bipartisan support.”
The bills raising the standard of proof (although not as high as what is needed for a criminal conviction) and establishing strong transparency laws passed overwhelmingly in the state House. They are now sitting in the state Senate where they have not been taken up.
The Most Glaring Flaws in Obama’s Iran Deal
The Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran has major flaws that could dangerously undermine the long-term national security interests of the United States and its allies.
Although the administration entered the negotiations pledging to cut off all pathways to a nuclear weapon, the agreement amounts to little more than a diplomatic speed bump that will delay, but not permanently halt, Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapons capability.
The agreement in effect legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state.
Once key restrictions on uranium enrichment expire in 10 to 15 years, Iran will have the option to develop an industrial scale enrichment program that will make it easier for it to sprint cross that threshold.
The administration undermined its own bargaining position by making it clear that it wanted a nuclear agreement more than Tehran seems to have wanted one, despite the fact that Tehran needed an agreement more for economic reasons.
The administration’s downplaying of the military option and front-loading of sanctions relief early in the negotiations reduced Iranian incentives to make concessions.
This gave the Iranians bargaining leverage they have used shrewdly.
Iran dug in its heels on key red lines proclaimed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, while the administration’s red lines gradually became blurred pink lines.
Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is left largely intact. Centrifuges will be mothballed but not dismantled.
Iran’s illicit nuclear facilities Natanz and Fordow, whose operations were supposed to be shut down under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, have now been legitimized, despite the fact that they were built covertly in violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Iran is essentially rewarded for cheating under the agreement.
It gained a better deal on uranium enrichment than Washington has offered to its own allies.
Taiwan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates were denied enrichment arrangements that Iran now has pocketed.
Instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the agreement dismantles the sanctions that brought Tehran to the negotiating table in the first place.
This fact is not lost on our allies, friends and “frenemies” in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who understandably sees Iran’s potential nuclear threat as an existential issue, denounced the deal as “a historic mistake.”
Sunni Arab states threatened by Iran are likely to hedge their bets and take out insurance by working to expand their own nuclear options.
Saudi Arabia already has let it be known that it will demand the same concessions on uranium enrichment that Iran received.
The Saudis have begun negotiations to buy French nuclear reactors and this civilian program could become the foundation for a weapons program down the line.
Other Arab states and Turkey are likely to tee up their own nuclear programs as a prudent counterweight to offset to Iran’s expanding nuclear potential, after some of the restrictions on its uranium enrichment program automatically sunset.
The end-result could be accelerated nuclear proliferation and a possible nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.
Another major problem is verification of Iranian compliance.
The administration’s initial insistence on “anytime/anywhere” inspections was downgraded to “sometimes/some places.”
Iran has up to 14 days to weigh the requests of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. If it decides to object, its objections would be relayed to an arbitration committee that would have 7 days to rule. If it rules against Iran, Tehran would have another 3 days to arrange an inspection.
This gives Iran up to 24 days to move, hide or destroy materials sought by inspectors. This is far from a foolproof system, particularly in light of Iran’s long history of cheating.
Sanctions relief is another potential headache. Tehran would benefit by the release of about $150 billion of its money frozen in overseas accounts.
Ultimately the Iranian economy would be boosted by tens of billions of dollars more through a surge of oil revenues as oil sanctions are lifted.
This could help Iran reshape the regional balance of power and establish hegemony over Iraq, Yemen, important oil resources and oil supply routes.
Much of this money will go to fund the Assad regime, Hezbollah, Yemeni Houthi rebels, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups funded by Iran.
This would rapidly lead to escalation of the wars, shadow wars and civil wars already taking place around the Middle East.
The dangers posed by Iran’s enhanced ability to finance global terrorism would be compounded by the administration’s last minute capitulation on the U.N. arms embargo, which will be gradually eased if Iran remains in compliance with the agreement.
This would allow Iran to upgrade its conventional weapons through imports from foreign suppliers and enable it to more easily arm its foreign allies and surrogates.
The bottom line is that the Obama administration now has signed an agreement that will expand Iran’s power and influence, strain U.S. relations with its regional friends, weaken long-standing non-proliferation goals on restricting access to sensitive nuclear technologies and contribute to the evolution of a multi-polar nuclear Middle East.
A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies has found that there are now more than 200 so-called “sanctuary cities,” cities like San Francisco, which have policies that allow them to avoid cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
Along with a map of showing all of the sanctuary cities, CIS posted the following explanation, which notes that though it’s illegal for local municipalities to comply with federal law, the Department of Justice has never taken any measure to enforce the law, In fact, CIS points out, the Obama administration has deliberately made it more difficult for those cities and counties that attempt to obey federal law:
More than 200 cities, counties and states across the United States are considered sanctuary cities. These state and local jurisdictions have policies, laws, executive orders, or regulations allowing them to avoid cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement authorities. These “cities” ignore federal law authorizing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to administratively deport illegal aliens without seeking criminal warrants or convictions from federal, state, or local courts. Although federal law requires the cooperation, the Department of Justice has never sued or taken any measure, including denying federal funds, against a jurisdiction. On the contrary, the present administration has made it difficult for the states and localities which choose to aid in enforcing immigration laws. Federal law was labelled voluntary by the administration in a November 2014 policy memorandum signed by the Homeland Security Secretary.
CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan said that, depending on how one defines “sanctuary city,” the number could in fact be over 300. “One could also argue that any jurisdiction that provides drivers licenses, or welfare benefits, or public housing, or municipal ID cards is a sanctuary,” Vaughan explained.
The issue of sanctuary cities has entered the national spotlight after the killing of Kate Steinle by a five-times deported illegal immigrant who had multiple felonies on his record. Several lawmakers—particularly Republicans, like Sen. Jeff Sessions—are calling for changes to federal response to sanctuary cities, with the potential of criminal charges against those city and county officials who fail to comply with federal detainer and hold requests.
The Romeo Area Tea Party Presents:
When: Monday, July 13th, 2015
Where: The Palazzo Grande
54660 Van Dyke, Shelby Twp., MI
(South of 25 Mile, east side of Van Dyke)
Time: 7 p.m.
Suzanne Anglewicz currently works as the Midwest Field Coordinator for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action covering Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. She also serves as a Staff Attorney for NRA-ILA and previously served as the Manager of Political & Legislative Activities and Legislative Counsel at NRA Headquarters.
Currently, she is working to develop and strengthen NRA’s political and legislative activities at the state level through the creation and implementation of NRA’s programs in support of the Second Amendment. In addition, she coordinates and conducts the Association’s legislative and election workshops, and represents the Association in various public speaking engagements. Suzanne also has extensive political experience working on various local, state, and federal campaigns nationwide.
Suzanne attended Michigan State University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy and has also received a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She is admitted to both the State of Illinois and Commonwealth of Virginia bars.
Suzanne is an avid shooter, hunter, and Lifetime member of The National Rifle Association, and has been an employee at NRA since December 2005.
• History & Mission of the National Rifle Association
• Current Debate on Gun Control
• Federal & State Legislative Priorities
• Preparations for the 2016 Election Cycle
Oikophobia — fear and hatred of one’s own culture and people. It has brought down civilizations since there have been civilizations. And now we’re infected, too.