Kent Hovind Will Face A New Trial

Independent Baptist Minister and Young Earth Creationist, Kent Hovind, nearing the end of a long prison sentence for tax related crimes, was tried on new charges earlier this month. He and his co-defendant Paul John Hansen were charged with contempt of court, fraud and conspiracy because of filings that they made affecting property seized by the government. The seizures related to Hovind’s earlier conviction. The jury found Hovind and Hansen guilty of contempt, but was unable to reach a verdict on the more serious fraud and conspiracy charges. Today federal prosecutor Tiffany Eggers has filed notice that the Government intends to proceed to retrial on the charges that the previous jury did not reach a verdict on.

Kent Hovind had warned his supporters earlier this week that a retrial was likely.

Hovind’s supporters have waged a vigorous social media campaign documented at their flagship website #FreeKent. On Monday, Kent had a long sought after interview with Alex Jones of InfoWars

The depth of Hovind’s support is somewhat questionable. Despite many appeals they were not able to put a lot of “boots on the ground” in Pensacola during the last trial and when it comes to the thriving church community in Pensacola, Kent Hovind appears to be a prophet with no honor in his own country. A full pardon petition on We the People has gathered 683 signatures in the week that it has been up.

Hovind Found Guilty Of Contempt Of Court

Kent Hovind, Independent Baptist minister and proponent of Young Earth Creationism, has been on trial in the federal district court in Pensacola. The charges relate to actions taken in response to government seizure of property. The seizure was a result of his conviction in 2006 for structuring, the systematic withdrawal of amounts somewhat less than $10,000 to avoid currency reporting requirements. His codefendant Paul John Hansen was the trustee of Creation Science Evangelism which held title to the seized property.

The indictment charged them with fraud and contempt of court for the filing of a lis pendens, a notice of pending litigation, to warn buyers of Hovind and CSE’s continuing claim on the seized property. Hovind was pursuing a lawsuit against prison official who he claimed had interfered with his appeal of the original conviction. Hovind hoped, probably still hopes, to have the original conviction reversed and the property returned to him….

I just heard from Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media and freelance journalist Ben Sheffler that the jury has reached a verdict. On the six count indictment, Hovind was found guilty on count three, which only applied to him – violating a court order in 2007 to not interfere with title to the property. Hansen was found guilty on counts five and six, which only related to him – violating a court order to Creation Science Evangelism to refrain from further filings in relation the property and resisting a grand jury subpoena. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the more serious fraud charges against Hovind and violating the court order against CSE. Hansen was found not guilty on one of the fraud charges (count two) with the jury splitting on the other fraud charge (count 1) and violating the order to CSE (count 4).

Sentencing is scheduled for June 12.

By Peter J. Reilly – Forbes –

Federal Judge Orders Investigation of Obama’s Illegal Acts

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen is not amused. The man who served Obama with an injunction preventing his illegal amnesty plans to see that Obama is not amused either. He has ordered that the administration be investigated over misleading him on amnesty and work permits for “Dreamers.” The administration told the judge they wouldn’t issue anymore work permits for new dreamers, when the fact is they have issued over 100,000 of them. The investigation will include a finding of whether the lawyers who handled the case for Obama knew of the illegal maneuver. If so, they will face disbarment or worse.

This has even more impact on the Obama administration than they are used to. Obama has been waiting for the judge’s final opinion, so he can appeal. They appealed to Judge Hanen and he turned them down and the appeals court says they can’t handle an appeal until after Hanen gives his final ruling. That was scheduled to happen by March 19th, but with the investigation that date is pushed out indefinitely. It is assumed that the investigation will also include investigating why the administration has kept spending money on moving Obama’s amnesty forward….

The second problem facing Obama is that when a decision is reached, he can’t judge shop. Former attorney general and current Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott had the foresight to file the suit within the boundaries of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is the most conservative of the 9 appeals courts. Assuming that the Fifth Circuit Court denies Obama’s appeal, the case would then go before the US Supreme Court.

Obama’s record with the Supreme Court is very bad, not withstanding the Obamacare decision. 9-0 decisions are fairly rare because of the ideology of the justices. What many of you may not realize is that Obama has now lost 20 SCOTUS cases by 9-0. That means 20 times Kagan and Sotomayer, who were appointed by Obama voted against his overreach of power….

by Steven Ahle – Red Statements –

Sheriff Arpaio FORCES King Obama to Face a Federal Judge!

An attorney working for the no-nonsense conservative Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio made a filing with the same federal judge who ordered the halting of President Obama’s executive amnesty power grab. The attorney is asking for a public hearing to get to the bottom of why the Obama White House is refusing to comply with his order to follow the Constitution….

A notice and recommendation was filed Friday in the Texas case, which was brought by 26 states, by attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch on behalf of Arpaio, who has his own lawsuit against Obama over amnesty but joined the Texas case in a friend-of-the-court filing.

“Several reports indicate that the executive branch under the Obama administration has not complied with this court’s temporary injunction, but continues full-speed to implement a grant of amnesty and related benefits to approximately 5 million citizens of foreign countries who are illegally in the United States under the defendants’ November 20, 2014, executive action programs implemented by several memoranda issued by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson,” the filing explains.

The suggestion is accompanied by a motion seeking “further leave” of the court to file the request.

It explains: “If the defendants have in fact halted implementation of the programs in compliance with the court’s temporary injunction, the opportunity to assure the court and other observers of this may be afforded by the court asking for a response on whether the reports of continued implementation are accurate and whether the injunction is being complied with.”

From The Political Insider –

Kent Hovind Trial Update – Dr. Dino Done Wrong?

3/5/2015 – We have just returned from Pensacola with an update on the Kent Hovind trial. [Video]

“First, you speak rightly when you refer to the system as a ‘Criminal Justice System’. The system IS CRIMINAL!” Coach Dave Daubenmire said in Facebook comments. “Second, people were indeed holding “Jury Nullification” signs in front of the courthouse. The judge admonished the jurors to only heed her interpretation of the law (an obvious anti-nullification ploy), and even went so far as to have the court pay for the meals of the jury so they wouldn’t have to leave the building and walk past the signs and become confused by them.”

See http://www.FreeKentHovind.com

By Coach Dave Daubenmire – News With Views TV –

Supreme Court appears split in Obamacare arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed bitterly divided during heated arguments over the fate of President Obama’s health care law.
As expected, the court’s four liberal members voiced strong support for the administration’s position. But the administration must almost certainly capture the vote of either Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. or Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to prevail.
The chief justice said almost nothing.
Justice Kennedy asked questions suggesting that he was uncomfortable with the administration’s reading of the statute. But he added that the challengers’ reading posed problems, too. “Your argument raises a serious constitutional question,” he told their lawyer.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued for the Obama administration, facing Michael A. Carvin, who represented the plaintiffs in another challenge to the law that reached the Supreme Court in 2012.

Michael A. Carvin, who was hired to argue in front of the Supreme Court against the subsidies of the Affordable Care Act, represented the plaintiffs in the 2012 challenge to the law’s individual mandate.

The court’s decision, expected by late June, will determine whether roughly seven million low- and middle-income people in some three dozen states will continue to receive subsidies to help them buy health insurance.

Should the court rule that the subsidies were not authorized by the health care law, most of those people would no longer be able to afford insurance. And insurance markets in those states could collapse, imperiling the health care law itself….

By ADAM LIPTAK – New York Times –

Alabama Supreme Court rules 7-1: no gay marriage licenses

The Alabama Supreme Court ordered probate judges on Tuesday to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in apparent defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, underscoring the depth of opposition to gay matrimony in the socially conservative state.

The 7-1 ruling comes roughly three weeks after U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s decision overturning Alabama’s ban on gay marriage went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to put it on hold.

“As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman,” Tuesday’s state supreme court ruling said. “Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law.

“Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this year to take up the issue of whether states can ban gay marriage. Its expected ruling in June likely will provide clarity on the issue in Alabama, as well as the 13 states where gay marriage remains illegal.

The Alabama high court ruling, which granted an emergency petition by two Alabama groups opposed to gay marriage, will likely not affect those same-sex couples in Alabama who have already received marriage licenses….

By Jonathan Kaminsky – Reuters –

Ohio Supreme Court: Gun Penalties Don’t Apply To Cops

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a specification in the law that provides stiffer penalties for people who use a gun in commission of a crime cannot be applied to a police officer convicted of wrongdoing while performing his duty.

In a split decision, the court held that Ohio’s firearms specification was intended to deter criminals from using firearms while committing an offense and not to deter police officers from carrying a firearm while on duty.

The case involved an Ottawa Hills police officer, Thomas White, who shot a motorcyclist he had pulled over for a traffic stop, leaving him paralyzed.

By Robert Higgs – The Liberty Crier –

The Language of Rights and Privileges

Have you noticed how governments want to own your language, so they can more easily manipulate you into giving up your rights and resources?

All Caps Names –

For example, Bob Podolsky is a real person, and has all sorts of natural rights. Yet every single piece of correspondence coming from the BORG such as Bank statements, Drivers Licenses, IRS correspondence, Traffic Tickets has my name in all capital letters. I know these people went to school and learned the same grammar I did. Why is my name is all CAPS? Somehow, BOB PODOLSKY, became a vassal of the state. The argument, the all caps name is not the real person, has been thrown out as frivolous in court, yet there must be a reason why is it done this way.

Right to Travel –

Similarly, I have a right to travel on public roads by riding a conveyance under my control. This is something that human beings have done since the domestication of animals, somehow adding a motor to power it and voilà, the state re-names the conveyance a Motor Vehicle and I am now a Driver. Thus the state converts my “right” into a “privilege” and grants itself the “right” to force me to pay for these privileges by buying a title, a license plate, a driver’s license, and specified insurance. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.

Right to Migrate –

Since time began, humans have had the right to move to wherever they pleased, based on resources, climate, scenery or religious beliefs. That’s how the the American Indians got to the western Hemisphere, Australians and New Zealanders got to Oceania, Caucasians moved to Europe and the Pilgrims got to Plymouth Rock. They didn’t like where they were, and they moved. However the government calls the right to move, a privileged known as “immigration”. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.

Right to Property –

It used to be that a human being had the right to own the land they live on. The Government changed this into a privilege by converting all own-able land into “Real Estate” You acquire the privilege of being a “tenant” on your Government controlled Bank owned land. It is impossible to own it. Want to test that? Stop paying the property tax. If you don’t fill out forms and pay, this magically grants a ‘right” to an armed group of thugs in costumes to beat you up, put you in a cage, steal your “property” and fine you.

….Natural Person –

….Right to Eat –

….About “Authority” –

According to Larken Rose, whose philosophy I much admire, the whole concept of “authority” exists but for one purpose, to fool the public into complying willingly with the demands of a particular class of people who consider themselves our “betters”, our “superiors”, our modern “nobility”, and ultimately our “masters”. In their eyes, the rest of us are of no value to them except as a source of endless plunder – and they are forever inventing new excuses to abuse the rest of us financially, socially, taking away our natural liberties, stealing our property, and enacting violence against us at their will.

While they claim this behavior is necessary in order to “protect the public”, the reality is that this notion is a total fiction, that in fact the real purpose of most of todays laws is merely to excuse the actions of our gargantuan “plunderers league” – who do to the rest of us whatever they want, up to and including killing us, with complete impunity. Surely the governments of the world collectively comprise the biggest, most powerful organized crime syndicate the world has ever known – egged on I suspect by previously existing crime syndicates that joined ranks with them – the Mafia, I believe, being a case in point.

Walk into a courthouse anywhere, and at any rank, and consider that the salaries of everyone working in the building are paid for with plunder – money stolen from ordinary folks in punishment for doing the things we all have a right to do. And their only “authority” for doing this is the fact that someone who supposedly “represents” you, wrote on a piece of paper that they had the “right” to plunder you….

By Bob Podolsky – Titanians.org –

JUDGE RUINS A FLORIST FOR HER CHRISTIAN FAITH

The Noose is Tightening

“If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” — John15:18-20 (KJV)

Washington State Benton County Superior Court Judge, Alex Ekstrom, has issued a summary judgment in the case against a Christian florist whose faith prevented her from providing service for a same-sex couple’s wedding. The case was set to go to trial in March, but the judge’s judgment serves as the final word. Basically, he has authorized the “personal ruin” of Barronelle Stutzman.

This ruling makes her personally liable for the claims against her, which places not only her business assets at risk but also her home and personal savings as well! World Net Daily reports that this reprobate judge ordered that the state as well as the sodomite plaintiffs, each of whom filed lawsuits, could collect damages and attorney’s fees from Stutzman.

Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, with the Alliance Defending Freedom stated, “The message of these rulings is unmistakable: The government will bring about your personal and professional ruin if you don’t help celebrate same-sex marriage.”

She reports the two men had plenty of other options in the marketplace, and even received offers of free flowers from other vendors. However, this wasn’t good enough for either Groom because Robert Ingersoll and his partner Curt Freed, sued Stutzman for politely refusing to engage in a business transaction that interfered with her faith.

Ironically, Ingersoll had bought flowers for his lover from Ms. Stutzman for years, and she was well aware they were a gay couple. The problem only surfaced when he asked her to arrange the flowers for their wedding. According to her deposition, she put her hands over his, and told him that she couldn’t “because of my relationship with Jesus Christ,” and because of her belief that marriage should only be between the opposite sex.

The State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, also sued based on details he learned in the news. According to arguments in the case, the state of Washington apparently believes the state’s statutory protections for sodomites trump the Constitution’s protection of religious liberty, even though the flower corporation was set up under a state law that protects personal assets except in cases of deception, theft or knowing fraud. None of these circumstances occurred in this case.

The defendant, Ms. Stutzman, said, “America would be a better place if citizens respected each other’s differences and the government still protected the freedom to have those differences. Instead, the government is coming after me and everything I have just because I won’t live my life the way the state says I should.”

By Donna Wasson – News With Views –

Judge halts Obama’s deportation amnesty

A federal judge late Monday halted President Obama’s deportation amnesty, ruling he overstepped his powers in trying to grant legal status and “benefits and privileges” to millions of illegal immigrants, in a stunning decision that chides the president and throws the White House’s plans into disarray just a day before applications were to be accepted.

The White House said it will appeal Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision, but it’s unclear whether the case could reach the circuit court in New Orleans or even the Supreme Court before Wednesday, which is when the Homeland Security Department had planned to begin accepting the first applications under the new amnesty.

“The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence,’ ” Judge Hanen wrote in issuing an injunction. “In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”

In the immediate sense, the ruling will become a major part of the debate over homeland security funding that has roiled Capitol Hill, with Republicans insisting Mr. Obama’s actions were unconstitutional and should be halted through Congress’s spending power, and Democrats backing their president by filibustering to block funding for the Homeland Security Department altogether.

The ruling doesn’t mean those illegal immigrants are going to be deported immediately — indeed, Judge Hanen said they are likely not to be deported at all under Mr. Obama, who had set “priorities” putting them in little danger of ever being kicked out of the country, even without the formal amnesty.

The judge said Mr. Obama does have the right to set those priorities, but said it is likely a step too far for him to have set up a proactive program to grant them other benefits….

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times –

U.S. Media Mum: Italian Court Rules Vaccines Cause Autism

On September 23, 2014, an Italian court in Milan award compensation to a boy for vaccine-induced autism. A childhood vaccine against six childhood diseases caused the boy’s permanent autism and brain damage. While the Italian press has devoted considerable attention to this decision and its public health implications, the U.S. press has been silent.

Like the U.S., Italy has a national vaccine injury compensation program to give some financial support to those people who are injured by compulsory and recommended vaccinations. The Italian infant plaintiff received three doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s Infanrix Hexa, a hexavalent vaccine administered in the first year of life. These doses occurred from March to October 2006. The vaccine is to protect children from polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, pertussis and Haemophilus influenza type B. In addition to these antigens, however, the vaccine then contained thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative, aluminum, an adjuvant, as well as other toxic ingredients. The child regressed into autism shortly after receiving the three doses. When the parents presented their claim for compensation first to the Ministry of Health, as they were required to do, the Ministry rejected it. Therefore, the family sued the Ministry in a court of general jurisdiction, an option which does not exist in the same form in the U.S.

Based on expert medical testimony, the court concluded that the child more likely than not suffered autism and brain damage because of the neurotoxic mercury, aluminum and his particular susceptibility from a genetic mutation. The Court also noted that Infanrix Hexa contained thimerosal, now banned in Italy because of its neurotoxicity, “in concentrations greatly exceeding the maximum recommended levels for infants weighing only a few kilograms.” Presiding Judge Nicola Di Leo considered another piece of damning evidence: a 1271-page confidential GlaxoSmithKline report (now available on the Internet). This industry document provided ample evidence of adverse events from the vaccine, including five known cases of autism resulting from the vaccine’s administration during its clinical trials (see table at page 626, included)….

These court decisions flatly contradict the decisions from the so-called U.S. vaccine court, the Court of Federal Claim’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. There, from 2007 to 2010, in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, three decision makers, called Special Masters, found that vaccines did not cause autism in any of the six test cases, and one Special Master even went so far as to compare the theory of vaccine-induced autism to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Italian court decisions contrast starkly with these U.S. cases based on similar claims.

By Mary Holland – Age of Autism – Health Impact News –

Medical Kidnapping In Arizona Abounds

Since Health Impact News started publishing stories from families telling about their horrible experiences with medical kidnapping, we have had more families contact us from Arizona than almost all the other states combined.

But one case stands out from all of them in terms of the depth of the corruption in the medical system, and child protection services, within the state of Arizona. Award-winning investigative journalist Jennifer Margulis looked into one civil rights case that is currently in the 9th Circuit Court, and found what appears to be a tangled web of corruption and deception in Arizona that will shock you. Read the story of the Darrell and Leanna Smith, and how they lost 2 of their 3 children when Leanna questioned doctors in what appears to be a medical malpractice case. Their family was destroyed, and they are still in the midst of years of legal battles. How many other families in Arizona….

By Jennifer Margulis – Health Impact News –

Judge alleges ‘fraud on the court’ by government attorneys

The tone set by Attorney General Holder at Justice and ATF Director Jones is one established at the very top of the Obama administration.

Commenting on revelations about Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Department of Justice (DOJ) actions in the case of retired agent Jay Dobyns against his former employer, attorney David Hardy equated them with “a BATF and DOJ Watergate… or worse,” Friday. Noting that actions taken over a civil lawsuit evidently have included concealing evidence, secret threats against witnesses, and surveillance of attorneys and witnesses, the new information lends further credence to Dobyns’ allegations and appears to show government lawyers engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

“For people like me, who have sympathized with Dobyns but tried to reserve judgment about his case, the documents push us further into the retired agent’s camp,” Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star admitted. “You can’t read the few filings that have been unsealed in the case without wondering why the Justice Department is going to such extremes and spending so much on what is, at base, a relatively minor contractual dispute that could have ended years ago.”

Dobyns gained fame after infiltrating the Hells Angels and writing about his experiences in the New York Times bestseller, “No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner-Circle of the Hells Angels.” He has since been the subject of numerous reports focused on retaliation he has been subjected to for coming forward with information exposing official wrongdoing. He was also instrumental in providing background information on management personalities and practices involved in the Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal.

Dobyns had sued his employer for failure to properly investigate an arson attack that destroyed his home and endangered his family, and for reneging on protection agreements over death threats he received, after the bureau withdrew his cover identity following the Hells Angels case. In September, Senior Judge Francis M. Allegra of the United States Court of Federal Claims awarded Dobyns $173,000 and denied government royalty claims against Dobyns for his book, seemingly providing an end to a prolonged six-year ordeal until the government challenged that ruling in the 11th hour. In a move surprising to many case-watchers, the judge then voided his own judgment, provoking speculation but no answers as to why.

Some of that may be getting clearer with the unsealing of case documents, now available on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. Language used by Judge Allegra in his now-unsealed December 1 opinion does not mince words, and seems damning.

“[T]he court … issued an order voiding the prior judgment based upon indications that the defendant [ATF], through its counsel, had committed fraud on the court,” Allegra wrote. “[F]raud on the court consists of conduct: 1. On the part of an officer of the court; 2. That is directed to the ‘judicial machinery’ itself; 3. That is intentionally false, willfully blind to the truth, or is in reckless disregard for the truth; 4. That is positive averment or is concealment when one is under duty to disclose; 5. That deceives the court.”

Further detailed allegations, being investigated by this reporter and seemingly corroborated by the unsealed opinion, include Judge Allegra being contacted by Internal Affairs Investigator Christopher Trainor, a key witness in the Dobyns case, concerning his being threatened by a main government witness — one the judge himself had raised perjury questions about — and chillingly, also threatened by lead government attorneys. Trainor had reportedly earlier given the intimidation to ATF, which opened a criminal investigation, and then approached ATF and Department of Justice attorneys, both of whom allegedly refused to report the witness tampering allegations to the judge. It is further alleged Trainor was warned by the DOJ attorney that if he reported the witness to Judge Allegra, his career at ATF would suffer.

The judge then reportedly notified Attorney General Eric Holder, then-Deputy AG and (“Number Two” at Justice) James Cole, and the Office of Inspector General of DOJ attorney fraud against the court, and issued an order barring seven of the attorneys from filing any further legal documents in the Dobyns case. Although no direct connection has been established, it is noted that the timing of the judge’s notification appears contemporaneous with Cole’s resignation and Holder’s announced resignation.

“Coincidental” timing did not end there. Without explanation, ATF closed its investigation of the witness alleged to have threatened Trainor. DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility advised Judge Allegra they were not going to pursue fraud allegations against their attorneys.

Judge overturns Mora County’s anti-fracking ordinance

A federal judge has overturned a New Mexico county’s ban on oil and natural gas drilling that was the first of its kind when it was enacted nearly two years ago.

In a sprawling, nearly 200-page decision that touched on several constitutional elements, U.S. District Judge James O. Browning ruled that the ordinance clashes with federal law.

“Historically, a county cannot enact or supersede federal law,” Browning wrote. “The ordinance thus goes beyond Mora County’s historical lawmaking just to deprive a corporation of their rights.”

The ordinance, enacted in April 2013, cited environmental concerns and put the county’s decision-making rights ahead of business interests, and federal and state permits. It was believed at the time to have been the first time a county had banned hydraulic fracturing amid debates over the practice nationwide in communities that have experienced oil and gas booms.

….Mora County is far from the energy hotspots in southeastern and northwestern New Mexico, and there are no active oil or gas wells within the county. But county officials took the step out of fear that their scarce water supply could become further threatened by pollution from hydraulic fracturing, which extracts oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel, and chemicals.

By Associated Press – Albuquerque Journal –

Taming the Endangered Species Act

The increasing use of the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) places that agency on track to regulate a massive amount of the nation’s land as a habitat for one or more of the listed species and the ones that will be considered in the next few years.

Until now, FWS has been virtually unstoppable in its bid to become land manager of the nation. Recent actions however, have sought to push back on that power play, including a provision in the recent legislation to fund the federal government for 2015 that would prohibit funding for further rules to place sage-grouse on the Endangered Species List. Another attempt comes directly from the local citizens being affected by FWS listings; it is an event that pits man vs. dog.

This story begins with the Utah prairie dog. It lives only in the southwestern corner of Utah, a sparsely populated desert area, a four hour drive from Salt Lake City and consisting mostly of federal lands and two national parks (Zion and Bryce Canyon). The animal is 12 – 14 inches long and weighs up to three pounds. It constantly burrows, leaving parks, backyards, fields, and other public spaces pockmarked with holes and tunnels. There are even tales of it digging in cemeteries during funerals.

As an endangered species, its habitat, including areas that it might someday move to, is protected by the FWS, no matter how much it impacts communities. The population is stable, averaging 35,000. As a concession to farmers, FWS allows them to remove 5000 of these animals from agricultural lands for safety reasons. Everyone else must live with these diggers and must manage their property around them, no matter what the cost or impact, including not being able to develop private property.

Tired of having the little amount of private property available for use in Southwest Utah subject to federal regulatory restrictions, a group of citizens organized a coalition called “People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners” (“PETPO”) to take on the entire machinery of the federal government that protects the Utah prairie dog so it can continue to destroy their property.

PETPO challenged the constitutional authority of the federal government to protect the Utah prairie dog on private land. It argued that the prairie dog does not substantially affect interstate commerce, which is the only constitutional support for federal regulation of these animals. The government countered that even if the prairie dog has no value and no effect on commerce, it can still be regulated because federal regulation of all species has a substantial effect on commerce. In short, the government argues all regulation is constitutional because the purpose of regulation is to affect commerce.

Most of the time courts give deference to agency decisions, but in this case, the court ruled that the proper constitutional focus must be on the regulated activity not the fact that the government’s regulation impacts commerce. It reasoned that if the regulated activity impacts national markets, the federal government has the power to regulate. But if the regulated activity (in this case the Utah prairie dog) has no impact on national markets, the federal government does not have the power to regulate.

In applying the law to the facts, the court found in favor of PETPO because the Utah prairie dog lives only in southwestern Utah and its diminution would not significantly alter the supply or quantity of animals for which there is a national market.

What is most significant about this case is that the purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect ecosystems and on this point the court found that just the protection of an ecosystem may not be sufficient impact on commerce to be constitutional under the commerce clause….

By William Kovacs – Fox News –

Christmas denied by Hindus in India

While the rest of the world was celebrating Christmas by exchanging gifts and good wishes, several Christians in central India were forced to spend their Christmas in jail. Thirteen Christians, including three children and an eight-month-old infant, were falsely accused by Hindu radicals of blasphemy and were sent to jail in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh on December 26th.

Rev. J. Divine of the Methodist Church in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh told ICC, “The situation is very serious and the Christians of this region are frightened, as the authorities do not act on the cries of the minorities.”

Thirteen Christians spent Christmas in Jail.

Mr. Shamlal, a Christian in Sukta Dam, hosted a Christmas celebration in his house in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh where Geetanjali, Geetanjali’s family, and ten other Christians were invited for the celebration. During a time of worship, three unknown men came and stood at a distance trying to take pictures and video footage of the Christmas celebration.

Sensing the trouble, the Christians went and inquired as to why the men were taking pictures and videos of their program without informing the host of this activity. Soon, more people joined the three strangers and started to threaten the Christians, accusing them of converting innocent tribal and poor people.

Shamlal, sensing the situation was out of control, asked all of the Christians who came to leave and return home. As the Christians were preparing to leave, they were chased by the mob of Hindus. The Christians immediately went into a house and locked themselves inside for protection. “Lord help us and protect us,” was the prayer offered to God by Geetanjali, a young mother, as mob of now 400 Hindus surrounded the mud house where the Christians were hiding.

The growing mob threatened the Christians who were inside the house, demanding that they come out. Geetanjali told ICC that she heard the voices of the Hindu radicals shouting, “Come out of the house in five minutes; otherwise we will kill you. We will not spare you.”

After fifteen minutes, police arrived and asked the Christians to open the door, saying that they would protect them from the mob. When they opened the door, the officers escorted them to the police station. To the shock of the Christians, a case had already been booked against them under Section 295 of India’s Penal Code, popularly known as India’s blasphemy law. The police refused to record the complaints from the Christians refused to hear what the Christians had to say regarding the incident. The police said, “What you want to say, say it in the court.” The Christians stayed in the police station through the night as well as the next day. All thirteen, including an eight-month-old infant named Abhilasha, were sent to jail.

In total, the Christians spent five days in the jail, before they were able to post bail and were released on December 31st.

False accusations cancelled Christmas.

In a similar situation, Christians in Balisurah village, located in the Sundergarh district of Odisha, also spent their Christmas under awful pressure, as false cases were also booked against several pastors and Christians in the region. Pastor Joshua Das, a Christian leader from Raurkela told ICC, “We had to cancel 3 days of Christmas celebrations, as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) filed a case against seven people who were part of the organizing the Christmas celebrations.”

“Beginning on the 25th, almost every day we had to go to police station,” Pastor Das continued. “We have had to halt our normal worship service now. We do not know how long this will continue.”

Mr. Yuvraj Vardhan, the Regional Secretary of FMPB (Friends Missionary Prayer Band), also told ICC that, “The Christians of this region are being targeted and threatened more frequently than normal by the Hindu radical groups.” Mr. Vardhan went on to urge Christians to pray for the protection of Christian workers and the Christian community. He also expressed hope that both the police and media will take neutral positions.

The time for action is now.

Ever since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in May last year, Hindu radical groups have been emboldened and are carrying out outrageous acts of violence and persecution against Christians who are already a minority in India. The Sangh Parivar and its affiliate groups continue to threaten to hold large scale conversion ceremonies that forcefully convert Christians to the Hindu faith.

Despite India’s laws officially protecting the freedom of religion, there have reportedly been thirty-one incidents of Christian persecution just in the month of December, 2014. Unfortunately, many more incidents go unreported for various reasons.

In December, ICC launched a petition calling on India’s government to stop the attacks on India’s Christian community, and they have already collected over 5,000 signature. Please consider adding your name to this petition and taking a stand for India’s persecuted Christian community. To sign this petition, follow this link: http://info.persecution.org/IndiaPetition .

As the Christian community in India continues to face this new wave of persecution, Christians worldwide must take action to call for the protection of their brothers and sisters in India.

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

By Adrian Holman – Commentaries on Spirituality –