“sick of hearing about your rights…you have no rights here.”

Border Agents Seized American Citizen’s Truck, Never Charged Him With A Crime

Nick Sibilla , Contributor

When Gerardo Serrano took photos of a border crossing on September 21, 2015, he had no idea he would soon be handcuffed, thrown into a detention cell and see his truck seized by government agents that very same day. During his ordeal, when Gerardo protested how his rights were being violated, one agent bluntly responded that he was “sick of hearing about your rights…you have no rights here.”

Two years later, Gerardo still has not recovered his truck or even had his day in court to challenge the seizure. Nor has he been charged with any crime.

But this scene, straight from an authoritarian nightmare, didn’t play out in Syria or Venezuela. Gerardo’s Ford F-250 was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Eagle Pass, Texas.

“When the agents told me they were seizing my truck, I said ‘No, you’re not seizing my truck, you’re stealing my truck!’” Gerardo recalled. “I didn’t think that this could happen in America. It felt like they were thugs with badges.”

Institute for Justice.

Gerardo Serrano

Thanks to the nation’s civil forfeiture laws, law enforcement agencies can seize—and keep—property, even if the owner is never convicted or indicted. Determined to vindicate his rights, Gerardo joined with the Institute for Justice and filed a class-action lawsuit against the CBP on behalf of other car owners.

What happened to Gerardo is not an isolated incident. At just four border crossings in Texas, CBP agents seized 525 vehicles from American citizens and lawful residents in 2015. A victory in Gerardo’s case would mean restoring due-process rights for hundreds, if not thousands, of other car owners nationwide.

“Of course I want my truck back, but that’s not why I’m filing this lawsuit,” Gerardo said. “I’m doing this for my children and the thousands of other Americans who should never have to go through what I’ve gone through.”

Almost two years ago, Gerardo was driving down to meet his cousin, who lives right across the border in Piedra Nagras, Mexico. Although members of his family are Mexican, Gerardo is an American citizen, who now owns a farm in the Kentucky countryside. Ever the consummate entrepreneur, Gerardo also wanted to discuss plans to bring his cousin’s solar panel business stateside.

When he reached the border crossing in Eagle Pass, Texas, Gerardo decided to snap some pictures with his iPhone to post on Facebook. Two CBP agents quickly stopped his truck and forced him out, before handcuffing Gerardo and demanding that he unlock his phone.

Meanwhile, other agents searched his car. Inside, they found five 0.380 caliber bullets and a SIG Sauer magazine of the same caliber. Based solely on those bullets and magazine, the CBP seized the vehicle. The agency would later claim that the truck was transporting “munitions of war” and had to be forfeited.

But Gerardo is a lawful gun owner, not a weapons smuggler. Gerardo has a concealed-carry permit from Kentucky, which has reciprocity for Texas and the other states he drove through on his trip.

Follow the Institute for Justice on Facebook and Twitter.

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Texas’ New Medical Marijuana Law Could Send Doctors to Jail

By Stephen Young

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

 

Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that is intended to make cannabis-based oils with low levels of THC legally available to people who suffer from intractable epilepsy.The problem is, no one is likely to be able to get it.

State Senator Kevin Eltife announced the plan to legalize CBD oil in January. He was careful to emphasize that patients would not be able to get high from the oil, because THC content would be limited to 5 percent. Marijuana advocates and potential patients criticized the law, saying it failed to account for the benefits of whole-plant marijuana therapy and interfered with patients’ and doctors’ ability to seek out the best treatment available for epilepsy or other conditions.

"I’m glad the we’re talking about medical marijuana with some actual sincerity now in Texas, because this entire state is just tragically behind the rest of the country," Shaun McAlister, the president of DFW NORML said. "On the other hand, I’m really nervous about a CBD-only push because, for one thing, CBD-only legislation represents a really shallow understanding of what cannabis actually is and what it can do."

Still, Eltife’s bill snaked its way successfully through the Legislature, despite the objections and language that requires doctors to "prescribe" the oil to their patients.

Unfortunately a doctor cannot prescribe what the federal government considers a Schedule I substance without a DEA license, and CBD is a Schedule I substance. In other states, the “prescription” is referred to as a “recommendation” so that doctors can legally suggest that patients use it, says Amanda Reiman, the manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance says.

Tamar Todd, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Director of Marijuana Law and Policy, compared the Texas law to a 1996 Arizona law that did not lead to a single patient getting CBD oil.

Arizona passed comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in 2010. Texas marijuana reform advocates are hoping for a similar evolution in the Lone Star State.

“While this program leaves most patients behind and we’re concerned about its functionality, today is one for the history books. The Texas Legislature is sending a resounding message: Marijuana is medicine. We commend our Texas lawmakers and look forward to continuing this conversation when the 85th Legislature convenes in 2017," Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement.

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Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana

mummyemebed

Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

A 2,400-year-old “Siberian Ice Maiden” apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the “Princess of Ukok,” were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
“‘I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer,” one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. “She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.”
The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a “cosmetics bag.”
“Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”
Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)

First Ebola case diagnosed in the US

Patient who recently returned from Liberia tested positive at a hospital in Dallas, Texas, health officials say.

Last updated: 01 Oct 2014 00:57

A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced.

Officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said the unidentified patient is being kept in isolation and that the hospital is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to keep doctors, staff and patients safe.

The patient is a Liberian national who was admitted on Sunday, a government official told Al Jazeera.

The hospital had announced a day earlier that the patient’s symptoms and recent travel indicated a case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region.

Infographic: Just how deadly is Ebola?

Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, held a news conference at the centre’s headquarters in Atlanta late on Tuesday.

“The infected person came from Liberia on September 19 and began to develop symptoms on September 24. He first sought care on the 26th of September and on the 28th was admitted in Texas,” Frieden said.

"Blood samples tested positive for Ebola… The Ebola test is highly accurate," Frieden said, adding: "There is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here (in the US)."

The CDC has said 12 other people in the US have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative.

Under observation

Four American aid workers who have become infected while volunteering in West Africa have been treated in special isolation facilities in hospitals in Atlanta and Nebraska, and a US doctor exposed to the virus in Sierra Leone is under observation in a similar facility at the National Institutes of Health.

The US has only four such isolation units but the CDC has insisted that any hospital can safely care for someone with Ebola.

According to the CDC, Ebola symptoms can include fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding, and can appear as long as 21 days after exposure to the virus.

Jason McDonald, spokesman for the CDC, said health officials use two primary guidelines when deciding whether to test a person for the virus.

"The first and foremost determinant is have they traveled to the region (of West Africa)," he said.

The second is whether there’s been proximity to family, friends or others who’ve been exposed, he said.

US health officials have been preparing since summer in case an individual traveler arrived here unknowingly infected, telling hospitals what infection-control steps to take to prevent the virus from spreading in health facilities.

People boarding planes in the outbreak zone are checked for fever, but symptoms can begin up to 21 days after exposure.

Ebola is not contagious until symptoms begin, and it takes close contact with bodily fluids to spread.

Source:  Al Jazeera and agencies

Secessionist leader: Texas should separate from Marxist states

 

 

The leader of a secessionist group in Texas said Tuesday that a petition on the White House website to separate the state from the nation is growing in popularity because the "union has fundamentally changed."

"The fact of the matter is, that there cannot be a union between those that esteem the principles of Karl Marx over the principles of Thomas Jefferson. Here in Texas, we esteem those principles of Thomas Jefferson — that all political power’s inherent in the people," Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, said Tuesday on Fox News. "What we have seen given on Tuesday was that a majority of the people in the United States, and the states in which they reside, esteem the principles of Karl Marx over those principles."

On the White House’s "We the People" website, a petition asking the administration to "Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government" so far has more than 95,000 signatures (not all of them from Texans). The White House says it will respond to all petitions that within 30 days receive more than 25,000 signatures.

At least 47 states are represented by similar petitions, while others have started petitions in response to the secessionist requests. For instance, there’s a petition to "Keep the United States United," as well as a petition to "Peacefully grant the city of Austin Texas to withdraw from the state of Texas & remain part of the United States."

Miller told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he doesn’t expect the petition to do much more than "send a clear message." He does, however, want state lawmakers to take up the issue.

"Ideally what we would like to see is the legislature put it to a non-binding referendum," he said. "So the people of Texas could express their will on this issue. The polling we have done internally in our organization in every county in Texas shows we would carry a majority of Texas, but I think that takes us to the next step here."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office has said the governor doesn’t support calls to secede, although he "shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government."

Republican Rep. Ron Paul, meanwhile, still believes that "it’s very American to talk about secession," given that the U.S. began with 13 colonies seceding from the British.

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