End Of An Era

Grind for April 26th, 2019
“But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.”

– William Shakespeare.

It’s About Time

The Headline

City officials in four states are no longer allowed to mark car tires with chalk

The Grind

For decades, city officials have used chalk to track how long cars have been parked in areas without meters.

On Monday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati decided that “chalking” is a violation of the 4th Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches (along the same lines as breaking and entering).

To validate the unprecedented ruling, the judges cited a 2012 Supreme Court decision which deemed it unconstitutional for police to attach GPS devices to vehicles without a warrant to track criminals.

Monday’s ruling considers “chalking” similarly inappropriate.

The Details

The Cincinnati court’s ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Philip Ellison, a lawyer from Saginaw, MI whose friend Alison Taylor claims to have received 15 parking tickets in 2 years from the same parking enforcement officer.

The strange case was dismissed by a US District Court in Michigan before it was upheld by the 6th Circuit Court.

The purpose of marking tires is to “raise revenue,” not to protect the public, argued the court. “The city does not demonstrate, in law or logic, that the need to deter drivers from exceeding the time permitted for parking – before they have even done so – is sufficient to justify a warrantless search.”

Monday’s decision, which applies only to Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, sends the case back to the District Court in Michigan.

Apply Pressure

The Headline

Trump Administration will not extend waivers allowing countries to purchase Iranian oil
The Grind

As announced Monday, the Trump Administration will no longer offer exemptions to its sanctions blocking the purchase of Iranian oil.

“The decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” said the White House in a statement.

According to estimates, the sanctions have already blocked $10 billion in revenue from a government known to support terrorism.

The ultimate goal, explains Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, is “to deprive the outlaw regime of the funds it has used to destabilize the Middle East for four decades and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country.”

The Details

The sanctions on Iran were re-imposed in November following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. Exemptions were then offered to give countries time to adjust and to mitigate any negative effects on the market.

Current waivers held by Turkey, South Korea, Japan, India, and China are set to expire on May 2nd.

Pompeo claims the sanctions on Iran will not affect oil prices, but analysts warn to expect an increase of 10 cents or more per gallon. Oil prices jumped 3% on Monday to reach the highest point so far this year.

“I want to emphasize that we have used the highest possible care in our decision to ensure market stability,” said Pompeo. “The US has been in constant discussion with allies and partners to help them transition away from Iranian crude to other alternatives. And we’ve been working with major oil-producing countries to ensure the market has sufficient volume to minimize the impact on pricing.”

The United States will also increase production, he added, noting that output increased by 1.6 million barrels per day in 2018 and is expected to climb another 1.5 million this year.

The Takeaway

Trump’s decision accomplishes a number of things: primarily, it ramps up the pressure on the most dangerous country in the world (as per his campaign promise); second, it reminds voters ahead of the 2020 elections that he is still serious about curbing Iran’s influence and bad behavior; and third, it will lead to increased revenue for Saudi Arabia (thereby tightening our alliance with the kingdom).

Did you know… The light hitting the earth right now is 30 thousand years old.