Arizona — Last year, the state of Arizona went after the federal government’s attack on gold and silver by eliminating the capital gains taxes on precious metals. This paved the way to deal a massive blow to the Federal Reserve and end their monopoly on money. While the precious metals move was certainly noteworthy, the legislation passed this month by the Arizona Senate is nothing short of revolutionary as it officially recognizes cryptocurrencies as money by allowing residents to pay their taxes in it.
Arizona Senate Bill 1091, titled Income tax payments; bitcoin, was introduced to the Senate on January 10 and after going through several committees, on Feb. 8, 2018, it passed. It will now make its way to the House.
According to the bill’s text, it specifically names bitcoin and litecoin, as well as “any other cryptocurrency” recognized by the department as official forms of payment.
A TAXPAYER MAY PAY THEIR INCOME TAX LIABILITY USING A PAYMENT GATEWAY, SUCH AS BITCOIN, LITECOIN OR ANY OTHER CRYPTOCURRENCY RECOGNIZED BY THE DEPARTMENT, USING ELECTRONIC PEER-TO-PEER SYSTEMS.
After the state accepts the cryptocurrency, it will then convert them to US dollars, according to the legislation.
THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CONVERT CRYPTOCURRENCY PAYMENTS TO UNITED STATES DOLLARS AT THE PREVAILING RATE AFTER RECEIPT AND SHALL CREDIT THE TAXPAYER’S ACCOUNT WITH THE CONVERTED DOLLAR AMOUNT ACTUALLY RECEIVED LESS ANY FEES OR COSTS INCURRED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR CONVERSION.
The bill now moves on to Arizona’s House of Representatives.
If the bill passes in the house, it will become adopted and Arizona would become the first state in the U.S. to accept cryptocurrency tax payments beginning from and after December 31, 2019, as stated in the bill’s text.
Referring to the tax bill, Arizona State Republican Rep. Jeff Weninger, told Fox News:
“It’s one of a litany of bills that we’re running that is sending a signal to everyone in the United States, and possibly throughout the world, that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future.”
“The ease of use, being able to do it in the middle of the night, being able to do it at home while you’re watching TV,” Rep. Weninger said. “I think in a few years this isn’t even going to be a question.”
One state could allow you to pay your taxes in bitcoin💰
Arizona bill among others that could lead the way in how
governments view digital ‘currency’
— Charlie Lapastora (@charlielap) February 7, 2018
Jack Bitlis, who owns Tag Employer Services also spoke to FOX News, noting that the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are the future. Bitlis stands by his word too as his payroll company allows employees to receive their paychecks through bitcoin and to invest part of their 401(k) into bitcoin.
“We’re living in just a hugely interesting time and, really, we just want to be a part of it,” Biltis said. “We just know that we could be, as Arizona’s chosen to be, at the forefront of this time and encourage these new technologies. That’s just an exciting place to be.”
Naturally, there are some less than optimistic lawmakers in Arizona who are applying Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) on the legislation, saying bitcoin could crash.
“If we had a bill that allowed people to pay their taxes in bitcoin directly, that puts the volatility burden on all other taxpayers because it would mean that that money goes to the state and then the state has to take the responsibility of how to exchange it,” Arizona State Senate Minority Leader Steve Farley said.
Speaking like a true shill of the Federal Reserve, and ignoring the fuvolatilityility of the US dollar, Farley followed up his FUD by saying, “these are American dollars. They’re good enough for me. They should be good enough for anybody else who pays taxes in this country.”
Countering Farley’s negativity and unfounded fear, however, Biltis noted, “It’s always a little scary and thrilling at the beginning, it was with anything (including) the Internet…The world is going to look so different in 20 years and the people that are going to be truly successful are the people that embrace it now and are on the leading edge of that curve.”
As for now, we are crossing our fingers that this bill passes the house and paves the way for a crypto-revolution.
After that, we just need to figure out how to stop the state from taking our tax dollars in the first place.
The Trump administration’s Education Department will no longer investigate complaints filed by transgender students who are kept from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, a department official told BuzzFeed News.
HuffPost previously reported that the Department of Education had already started telling students who submitted these complaints that the issue no longer fell within its jurisdiction, but this marks the first time an official has referenced a concrete policy change. The news comes almost a year after the departments of Justice and Education rescinded joint, Obama-era guidance that any school receiving federal money must treat a student’s gender identity as his or her sex, which included allowing individuals to use the bathroom conforming to their identity.
However, since that time, the Trump administration has been mum on information about how the Education Department’s civil rights division would officially handle these cases. In June, an internal memo from the department’s Office for Civil Rights told attorneys that these cases could be dismissed, but it was not necessarily a requirement. But a spokeswoman for the Department of Education told BuzzFeed that the administration does not interpret Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination, to cover these types of cases.
“Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX,” Liz Hill told BuzzFeed. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
Hill told the outlet that transgender student complaints could still be investigated, just not those centered around the use of intimate facilities.
The Obama administration interpreted Title IX to include discrimination based on gender identity. Notably, a wave of recent court decisions have also interpreted the law this way.
In January, HuffPost learned of at least three recent cases in which the Office for Civil Rights dismissed complaints filed by transgender students regarding access to bathrooms, locker rooms and gender specific sports teams. The Office for Civil Rights wrote back to complainants and said their office was no longer required to deal with this type of discrimination.
HuffPost also previously learned that the number of complaints filed with the Department of Education related to the treatment of transgender students dropped precipitously, by about 40 percent, between January 2016 through January 2017, and January 2017 through January 2018. At the time, advocates for LGBTQ students told HuffPost they worried that the Trump administration was having a chilling effect on the students who would otherwise submit complaints of discrimination.
Upon rescinding the Obama-era guidance last year, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with a small group of transgender children and families to discuss issues facing this group of students. Vanessa Ford attended the meeting with her six-year-old transgender daughter, Ellie. During the meeting, DeVos mentioned that she had a young granddaughter, just like Ellie.
Ford told HuffPost that she found the news today “mind boggling.”
“We put our family at risk meeting with her in hopes it would make change. She now made the decision for the Department of Education that my daughter and thousands of daughters and sons shouldn’t have the protection her grandchildren should be afforded,” said Ford.
Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said that after the Trump administration first rescinded the student guidance last year, they saw school districts who had been supporting transgender students suddenly change course. She is now focused on making sure they feel supported and affirmed across the country.
“They are not alone,” said Byard. “It is ultimately most important right now every transgender student understands right now that this is wrong.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
After millions of Americans called on Congress to release the bombshell FISA abuse memo, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) announced Saturday that the process has officially begun.
“Great news! Our efforts to #ReleaseTheMemo have been effective and the HPSIC plans to begin the process to release the FBI/FISA/Russia memo. This may take up to 19+ Congressional work days but Americans deserve to know the truth,” tweeted Joyce.
On Friday, Republican lawmakers started publically lobbying Intelligence ChairmanDevin Nunes to release the memo.
“Earlier this morning, I examined the classified, four-page memo from @HouseIntelComm regarding the FBI, DOJ, and the so-called #RussianCollusion. To put it simply, “WOW.” I joined the call to #ReleaseTheMemo. Americans deserve truth and transparency,” tweeted Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA).
The letter was signed by Steve King, Matt Gaetz, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Scott Perry, Ted Yoho, Jody Hice, Louie Gohmert, Barry Loudermilk and Brian Babin, reports Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit.
According to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, the contents of the memo are so “explosive,” that it could end special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Additionally, the memo’s release could lead to the prosecution of top FBI and Justice Department officials, says Carter.
Every year, approximately 30,000 African elephants are killed due to poaching, habitat destruction, and human conflict, reports the WWF. As a result, the giant land mammal is expected to go extinct within 10 years. This is obviously a travesty — one that can be prevented. The Chinese government clearly agrees, for on December 31, 2017, it shut down all of its remaining domestic ivory trade. This means that one of the world’s largest consumers of ivory will no longer tolerate the sale of the substance.
As you might expect, the news has been lauded by conservation groups, wildlife activists, and animal lovers around the world. Said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of the WWF, in a statement: “Decades from now, we may point back to this as one of the most important days in the history of elephant conservation. China has followed through on a great promise it made to the world, offering hope for the future of elephants.”
As IFLScience reports, an international ivory trade ban was enacted in 1990. This made it illegal for countries to trade ivory across their borders — not for ivory to be traded within the country’s bounds. As a result, demand for ivory, particularly in Asian countries, has remained high. In fact, ivory fetches prices as much as $1,500 per pound.
Now that the Chinese government has banned the sale of ivory within its borders, 34 legal processing workshops and 143 designated trading venues have been shut down. Fortunately, former ivory workers will not be displaced. The Chinese Ministry of Culture will help people utilize their skills in other workplaces. Xinhua news agency reports that master carvers, for instance, will be given an opportunity to work with museums. There, they can teach about the history of ivory carving and carry out restoration work.
Obviously, people will continue to trade ivory — in China and elsewhere in the world. News of the ban remains positive, nonetheless. This is because China has made it clear that it is turning its back on the trade. Soon, other countries may follow suit.
“This ban alone won’t end the poaching of elephants. It’s equally critical that China’s neighbors follow suit and shut down ivory markets across Asia. Only then can we ensure the open trade doesn’t simply shift to other countries and offer traffickers safe channels for newly-poached ivory,” said Hemley. “The fate of Africa’s elephants depends on global rejection of ivory trade, and governments hold the key to driving this.”
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!
New NASA study offers first direct proof that the ozone hole is recovering thanks to the Montreal Protocol treaty and the international ban on CFCs.
For anyone alive and reading the news in the 1980s, the discovery of the “ozone hole” might have garnered a prominent spot in the “things to keep one up at night” list. It was basically the trainer environmental nightmare to prepare us for the specter of global climate change. As the ozone layer acts as a protective blanket against the most harmful wavelengths of ultraviolet light, the so-called (and then-expanding) hole over Antarctica brought with it visions of skin cancer, sunburn, cataracts, and havoc to plants and animals, for starters.
The worry that we could lose this protective layer led to the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which was ratified in 1987 … apparently, back when everyone still believed in science and chemical companies had less power. The international treaty banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and related compounds. CFCs are long-lived chemical compounds that eventually rise into the stratosphere, where they are broken apart by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine atoms that go on to destroy ozone molecules, as NASA explains. They were used as refrigerants and solvents, and in aerosol sprays and blowing agents for foams and packing materials. The pact was signed by 197 countries; later amendments to the Montreal Protocol completely phased out production of CFCs.
Fast forward to 2018, and NASA has now deemed the treaty a success in staving off the demise of the ozone layer. Using measurements from the agency’s Aura satellite, scientists have been looking at the Antarctic ozone hole’s chlorine over the last several years, watching as the amount slowly decreased. The hole has been trending smaller, but as temperature has an effect on its size, it’s been difficult to claim definitive evidence that it’s actually on the mend.
The new study is the first time anyone accurately measured chlorine levels inside the ozone hole, confirming that the Montreal Protocol is indeed doing its job, says NASA.
Lead author of the study, Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, describes the work here and success of the treaty here:
It’s a slow recovery, but recovery it is, and wonderful validation that we can turn back the tide of harm we’re doing to the planet. While the ozone hole is still there, the scientists believe that it will continue to recover slowly as CFCs leave the atmosphere. “CFCs have lifetimes from 50 to 100 years, so they linger in the atmosphere for a very long time,” says Anne Douglass, a fellow atmospheric scientist at Goddard and the study’s co-author. “As far as the ozone hole being gone, we’re looking at 2060 or 2080. And even then there might still be a small hole.”
Now, about that Paris Agreement …
Kelly had been seen by some as a voice of reason in the White House. But his latest comments may have burned up whatever goodwill he had among the president’s critics:
Black People: hey hi we are not your property
Southerners: yes the fuck you are
John Kelly: damn shame they couldn’t meet in the middle https://t.co/bGlzkO4NjR
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) October 31, 2017
There was compromise before the Civil War. It was called – get this – The Missouri Compromise. Didn’t work out so well.
— Nick Swan (@guitarswan) October 31, 2017
John Kelly wanting to compromise with slave-owners actually tells you all you need to know about John Kelly’s moral framework.
— Colin Diersing (@cdiersing) October 31, 2017
Great to see General Kelly has turned into Colonel Klink
— scott linnen (@ScottLinnen) October 31, 2017
If you were wondering (which you shouldn’t be) yes, Slavery started the civil war.
— Kevin and Benedict (@kevandbenedict) October 31, 2017
The only way you can argue the Civil War should have been averted through compromise is if you believe black lives literally didn’t matter.
— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) October 31, 2017
We call for the resignation of John Kelly. We won’t tolerate the defense of slaveowners.
— Omar Vaid (@omarvaid) October 31, 2017
Anybody that says John Kelly is the moral consciousness of the White House is gravely mistaken.
John Kelly is the swamp.
— Shree ️ (@shreec) October 31, 2017
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/people-officially-done-john-kelly-091449841.html
GREGORY, Texas – Officials with the City of Gregory confirmed Wednesday that Police Chief Robert Meager, Jr., who was accused last month of sexual misconduct, was officially terminated from his position as of Oct. 16.
Gregory Mayor Celestino Zambrano said Meager was terminated for violating several policies, and that the City is taking the next steps to fill his position.
Zambrano also said the incident has affected their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Meager had been accused by a female officer in his department of performing a lewd act in front of her. The officer emailed her complain to Gregory’s City Council and Meager was placed on administrative leave.
Following the accusation, the San Patricio County News reported that Meager had told Gregory’s mayor pro-tem “that a big mistake was done,” and that “it is embarrassing and humiliating.”
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Did the doomsday clock on the petrodollar (and implicitly US hegemony) just tick one more minute closer to midnight?
Apparently confirming what President Maduro had warned following the recent US sanctions, The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela has officially stopped accepting US Dollars as payment for its crude oil exports.
As we previously noted, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said last Thursday that Venezuela will be looking to “free” itself from the U.S. dollar next week.
According to Reuters,“Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,” Maduro said in a multi-hour address to a new legislative “superbody.” He reportedly did not provide details of this new proposal.
Maduro hinted further that the South American country would look to using the yuan instead, among other currencies.
“If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro also said.
And today, as The Wall Street Journal reports, in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions, Venezuela is telling oil traders that it will no longer receive or send payments in dollars, people familiar with the new policy said.
Oil traders who export Venezuelan crude or import oil products into the country have begun converting their invoices to euros.
The state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, known as PdVSA, has told its private joint venture partners to open accounts in euros and to convert existing cash holdings into Europe’s main currency, said one project partner.
The new payment policy hasn’t been publicly announced, but Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who has been blacklisted by the U.S., said Friday, “To fight against the economic blockade there will be a basket of currencies to liberate us from the dollar.“
There is no major market reaction for now – a modest bid to Bitcoin and some weakness in EUR and Gold (seems someone wants this to look like nothing).
However, as Nomura debt analyst Siobhan Morden warns:
“You can say whatever you want for your domestic propaganda and make it look like you’re retaliating against the U.S…. This political posturing will only be to their detriment.”
So what happens if Europe also sanctions Venezuela? Will Rubles or Yuan… or Gold be the only way to buy Venezuela’s oil?
* * *
This decision by the nation with the world’s largest proven oil reserves comes just days after China and Russia unveiled the latest Oil/Yuan/Gold triad at the latest BRICS conference.
It’s when President Putin starts talking that the BRICS reveal their true bombshell. Geopolitically and geo-economically, Putin’s emphasis is on a “fair multipolar world”, and “against protectionism and new barriers in global trade.” The message is straight to the point.
“Russia shares the BRICS countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture, which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies. We are ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.”
“To overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies” is the politest way of stating what the BRICS have been discussing for years now; how to bypass the US dollar, as well as the petrodollar.
Beijing is ready to step up the game. Soon China will launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold.
This means that Russia – as well as Iran, the other key node of Eurasia integration – may bypass US sanctions by trading energy in their own currencies, or in yuan.
Inbuilt in the move is a true Chinese win-win; the yuan will be fully convertible into gold on both the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.
The new triad of oil, yuan and gold is actually a win-win-win. No problem at all if energy providers prefer to be paid in physical gold instead of yuan. The key message is the US dollar being bypassed.
RC – via the Russian Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China – have been developing ruble-yuan swaps for quite a while now.
Once that moves beyond the BRICS to aspiring “BRICS Plus” members and then all across the Global South, Washington’s reaction is bound to be nuclear (hopefully, not literally).
Washington’s strategic doctrine rules RC should not be allowed by any means to be preponderant along the Eurasian landmass. Yet what the BRICS have in store geo-economically does not concern only Eurasia – but the whole Global South.
Sections of the War Party in Washington bent on instrumentalizing India against China – or against RC – may be in for a rude awakening. As much as the BRICS may be currently facing varied waves of economic turmoil, the daring long-term road map, way beyond the Xiamen Declaration, is very much in place.
* * *
Having threatened China today with exclusion from SWIFT, we suspect Washington is rapidly running out of any great ally to sustain the petrodollar-driven hegemony (and implicitly its war machine). Cue the calls for a Venezuelan invasion in 3…2..1…!
Barcelona’s City Council passed an official declaration on Wednesday in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
According to a statement released by BDS, the declaration includes the promotion of “contracts to ensure respect for human rights, specifically with companies which are linked to the Israeli occupation in Palestine,” and urges the Government of Catalonia to “create a centre for study and assessment of the impact of Catalan enterprises investing abroad.”
Timeline: International attempts to boycott BDS
The statement added that the declaration expressed support for nonviolent resistance campaigns spearheaded by Palestinian and international civil society aimed at defending Palestinian human rights and upholding international laws.
Through this vote, Barcelona City Council puts an end to the complicity of the city of Barcelona with the flagrant, systematic human rights violations of the colonising occupation and expansion of the State of Israel in Occupied Palestinian Territories and recognises the right to BDS
the statement added.
According to BDS, the number of Spanish cities which support BDS has soared to 70.
The Barcelona Municipality’s recognition of the right to advocate for Palestinian rights through the nonviolent tactics of BDS is not just a triumph for free speech and democratic rights. It is also a clear indicator of the widespread recognition of BDS as an inclusive, inspiring, anti-racist movement that is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that upholds the basic principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of the humanity
Rafeef Ziadah, member of the International Secretary of the Palestinian National Committee of BDS, said in the statement.
Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/?p=228705#comment-3480957076