Tag Archives: congress

Fauci Lied To Congress About Gain-of-Function Research

Fauci Lied To Congress About Gain-of-Function Research – powered by ise.media

Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated argument with Sen. Rand Paul this week over the origins of the coronavirus. In fact, he lied to Congress saying the U.S. government never funded Gain-of Function research… Oh, but it has, and I’ll show the clear proof.



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Truth In Media with Ben Swann, Episode 35: Congress Sells Out U.S. Troops, Refusing Again To End Afghanistan War

While the New York Times and other media outlets are deeply concerned about evidence lacking and unverified reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops, they all but ignore that the U.S. Congress has once again sold out U.S. troops in a new vote that refuses to bring them home from Afghanistan. This, despite the publication of the Afghanistan War papers which prove that the 18-year war has always been unwinnable and yet the public has been repeatedly lied to about the war. And be sure to check out our sponsor for this episode, Create Tailwind, at https://createtailwind.com


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Judge Napolitano: War and the Separation of Powers

A popular way to begin the first day of class in constitutional law in many American law schools is to ask the students what sets the U.S. Constitution apart from all others. Usually, they answer that it’s the clauses that guarantee the freedom of speech, privacy and due process.

Yes, each of those guarantees — if upheld — is vital to restraining government, but the overarching and most important unique aspect of the Constitution is the separation of powers. The constitutions of many totalitarian countries pay lip service to free speech, privacy and due process, but none has the strict separation of powers that the U.S. does.

Under our Constitution, the Congress writes the laws, the president enforces them and the courts interpret them; and those powers and functions may not constitutionally be mixed or exchanged. The Congress also declares war. The president also wages war. The courts also invalidate the acts of the other two branches when they exceed their constitutional powers.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the separation of powers is integral to the Constitution not to preserve the prerogatives of each branch of government but to divide governmental powers among the branches so as to keep power diffused — and thereby limited and protective of personal freedom.

James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, wanted not only this diffusion by separation but also tension — even jealousy — among the branches so as to keep each in check.

Thus, even if one branch of government consented to ceding an essential power to another branch, such a giveaway would be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled, because the core functions of each branch of the federal government may not be delegated away to either of the other two without violating the separation of powers.

I am writing about this not as a history or constitutional law mini-lesson but rather because it’s necessary background information to address a real and contemporary problem. Two weeks ago, on the basis of evidence so flimsy that his own secretary of defense rejected it — and without any legal or constitutional authority — President Donald Trump dispatched 110 missiles to bomb certain military and civilian targets in Syria, where the president argued the Syrian government manufactured, stored or used chemical weapons.

Trump did not seek a congressional declaration of war, nor did he comply with the U.N. Charter, a treaty to which both the U.S. and Syria are signatories. Though Trump did not articulate any statutory basis for his use of the military, his predecessors often cited as legal support for their unconstitutional uses of military force two statutes — one enacted in 2001 and the other in 2002, each known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF.

The AUMFs refer to either the Taliban or al-Qaida or their affiliated forces in Afghanistan or Iraq as targets or to pursuing those who caused the attacks in America on 9/11 or those who harbor weapons of mass destruction.

Can the president legally use military force to attack a foreign land without a serious threat or legal obligation or a declaration of war from Congress? In a word: No. Here is the back story.

The Constitution is clear that only Congress can declare war and only the president can wage it. Federal law and international treaties provide that — short of defending the country against an actual attack — without a congressional declaration of war, the president can only constitutionally use military force to repel an enemy whose attack on America is imminent or to defend U.S. citizens and property in foreign lands from foreign attack or in aid of an ally pursuant to a treaty with that ally.

In the case of Trump’s bombing Syria earlier this month, none of those conditions was met.

Prior to the strike on Syria — but no doubt prodded by the prospect of it — a bipartisan group of senators offered legislation supported by the president that would rescind both AUMFs, which are now seriously outdated and of no useful moral or legal authority, in favor of an unconstitutional mishmash that would permit a president to strike whomever and wherever he pleases. The president would be restrained only by a vote of Congress — after hostilities have commenced.

Such a statute would give the president far more powers than he has now, would directly violate Congress’ war-making powers by ceding them away to the president, would defy the Supreme Court on the unconstitutionality of giving away core governmental functions, would commit the U.S. to foreign wars without congressional and thus popular support, and would invite dangerous mischief by any president wanting to attack any enemy — real or imagined, old or new — for foreign or domestic political purposes, whether American interests are at stake or not.

The proponents of this legislation will argue that Congress would retain its war-making powers by its ability to restrain the president. That is a naive contention because congressional restraint, which can come only in the form of prohibitory legislation or withdrawal of funds, would certainly be met by a presidential veto — and a veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate.

What’s going on here? It is little more than the lust of the military-industrial complex and its allies in both major political parties in Congress for war. War unifies disparate politics, arouses deep patriotic instincts, enhances the government’s success in obtaining the people’s sacrifices, enriches arms-makers and kills innocents. War is the health of the state.

The Constitution, written in war’s aftermath, strictly limits its offensive use only to when the people’s representatives in Congress have recognized a broad national consensus behind it.

When Donald Trump ran for president, he condemned foreign wars that have served no real American purpose and he condemned presidential war-making; and he promised to end both. Where is that Donald Trump today?

Congress: Top EPA Official Racked Up Huge CO2 Footprint Pushing Global Warming Rules

By Michael Bastasch – House investigators want to know how much carbon dioxide a top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official spewed into the atmosphere while traveling the country promoting agency rules aimed at curbing global warming.

Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith ’s office wants to know how much CO2 Janet McCabe, the head of EPA’s air and radiation office, emitted while flying and driving across the country to promote the so-called Clean Power Plan — a regulatory plan to cut CO2 emissions from power plants.

“Last year, President Obama issued an Executive Order, calling for the heads of Executive Branch departments and agencies to ‘consider the development of policies to promote sustainable commuting,” Smith’s office wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“McCabe’s routine travel raises significant questions as to her commitment toward furthering the reduction of carbon emissions that she promotes in her official capacity on the taxpayer’s dime,” the letter reads.

As head of EPA’s air office, McCabe has been described as the “public face” of the EPA’s global warming effort, traveling the country to promote the agency’s agenda. But travel means CO2 emissions, and lots of travel would seem to contradict Obama’s order to limit emissions from travel.

“McCabe routinely enjoys weekends away from Washington where she maintains where she maintains her permanent home in Indianapolis,” Smith’s office wrote, going on to quote McCabe saying she goes home every weekend — it’s a long commute from D.C. to Indiana.

Smith has been critical of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and joined Republican lawmakers in voting to repeal the rule last year. Smith has also led an investigation into the agency’s use of non-public science to justify regulations. Now, the Texas lawmaker wants to know how genuine EPA officials are who want everyone else to cut CO2 emissions associated with daily activities.

McCabe, however, isn’t the only EPA official who travels across the country literally every weekend. McCarthy’s weekly trips home likely resulted in tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

In 2014, the EPA released a photo album titled “A Day In The Life of the EPA Administrator” that shows what McCarthy does on a typical day, including the fact that she flies home nearly every weekend to spend time with her family.

“Yes, Administrator McCarthy flies home regularly to see her family. And yes she is a leader in fighting to protect our environment and improve public health,” the EPA told TheDCNF in 2014.

TheDCNF calculated that, assuming she flew home every weekend, McCarthy’s carbon footprint from airline travel alone was around 37.5 tons over four years — more than 3.5 times the average American’s yearly carbon footprint.

Of course, this footprint is likely larger now, and all while she’s been telling the public of the dangers of global warming — warming the agency blames on CO2.

“Addressing the threat from a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges of this and future generations,” McCarthy told Congress in April 2014. “The agency will focus resources on the development of common sense and achievable greenhouse gas standards for power plants — the single largest source of carbon pollution.”

“Although you have pledged your support for the President’s measure, examples such as the case of McCabe’s — EPA’s chief advocate for reducing carbon emissions — raise significant questions about the example EPA is setting,”

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Reps. Amash, Massie Blast Congressional Spending Bill for ‘Unconstitutional’ Surveillance Measures

The last-minute addition of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 to a massive Congressional spending bill has drawn criticism from Representatives who call the provisions unconstitutional, and say that they are an excuse for the U.S. government to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance.

In a statement to Truth In Media on Thursday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said he does not support the bill, and he sees it as possibly the “worst anti-privacy vote” since the Patriot Act in 2001.

[pull_quote_center]A vote for the omnibus is a vote to support unconstitutional surveillance on all Americans. It’s probably the worst anti-privacy vote in Congress since the Patriot Act.[/pull_quote_center]

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) released a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday, claiming that he learned of the addition of the “completely unrelated legislation to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance” on Tuesday night.

[pull_quote_center]We learned last night that in addition to unsustainable spending, the giant omnibus includes completely unrelated legislation to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance and to repeal country of origin labeling for meat sold in the U.S. I will be voting no on Thursday.[/pull_quote_center]

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 brings together provisions from other bills that have been passed in either the House or the Senate in 2015, such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which both give the U.S. government access to Internet traffic information from technology and manufacturing companies.

[RELATED: Surveillance Bill Masked As ‘Cybersecurity’ Close to Completion]

As previously reported, while “sharing of intelligence is supposed to be voluntary,” critics of the bill say the provisions “will only increase the indiscriminate monitoring of legal activity by giving companies immunity from lawsuits for sharing information with the government.”

Amash told Truth in Media he believes the surveillance provisions were “quietly slipped” into the massive spending bill in an attempt to “avoid full scrutiny.”

[pull_quote_center]These provisions were quietly slipped into the omnibus to avoid full scrutiny. We take an oath to defend the Constitution, and our Fourth Amendment privacy protections are as important as anything.[/pull_quote_center]

Report: Obama Broke Law with Bergdahl-Taliban Swap

WASHINGTON— A new report by the House Armed Services Committee claims that the Obama administration broke the law during the process of releasing five Taliban prisoners in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014.

The report also stated the administration should have notified Congress sooner, a finding also shared by a similar report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office released last year.

“Our report finds that the Administration clearly broke the law in not notifying Congress of the transfer,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “Leading up to the transfer, DOD officials misled Congress as to the status of negotiations. Pentagon officials best positioned to assess the national security risks were left out of the process, which increases the chances of dangerous consequences from the transfer. It is irresponsible to put these terrorists that much closer to the battlefield to settle a campaign promise and unconscionable to mislead Congress in the process.”

“The president believes strongly in the principle of ensuring that anybody who puts on the military uniform of the United States is not somebody who is going to be left behind by the commander-in-chief,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said“There was a unique opportunity that was presented to safely recover Sgt. Bergdahl and that’s exactly what we did.”

The five Taliban members were being held in the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prior to the exchange. Following the exchange, Sgt. Bergdahl was charged with desertion for the actions resulting in his capture by Taliban affiliates in June 2009.

The chairwoman of the Armed Services subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Re. Vicky Hartzle (R-Mo.), stated that “After rigorous investigation, there are still some unknowns. We still do not know if we negotiated for less than five detainees. We do not know how five was determined to be the ‘right’ number in this exchange. However, we now know to what extent this Administration is willing to go to achieve political goals.”

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Obama Signs ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’

After approval from the United States House of Representatives, the Senate passed the Every Student Succeeds Act on Wednesday, a federal education bill that would replace No Child Left Behind. President Obama signed the bill Thursday.

The bill, which was introduced on April 30, is described as “an Act to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves.”

The Department of Education presented the bill as one that in addition to providing “federal grants to state educational agencies to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education,” would also offer “grants to districts serving low-income students, federal grants for text and library books,” and would create special education centers and scholarships for low-income college students.

This bill, consisting of 1,061 pages, would replace “No Child Left Behind,” which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002, and looked to close “achievement gaps” by mandating standardized testing.

ESSA is supposed to repeal annual federal progress reports, replacing them with a individual statewide accountability system that prohibits federal interference.

At the state level, ESSA will still require statewide assessments in reading and math for students in the 3rd to the 8th grades and once in high school, along with science tests given three times between the 3rd and the 12th grade.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan on Dec. 2, Republican Georgia State Sen. William Ligon questioned “why we need a 1061-page federal bill dealing with education policy.”

[pull_quote_center]I have been told by a member of our congressional delegation that bill’s length was needed to repeal many existing federal laws dealing with education. Unfortunately, a review of the bill reveals not much in the way of repeal but that once again the federal government is driving education policy in every State in the Union through grants and waivers.[/pull_quote_center]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised the bill, calling it “another bipartisan achievement for our country.”

While he did not vote on Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) released a statement saying that he does not support the bill.

Cruz said the bill “unfortunately continues to propagate the large and ever-growing role of the federal government in our education system,” which is the “same federal government that sold us failed top-down standards like Common Core.”

[pull_quote_center]We should be empowering parents and local school districts instead of perpetuating the same tired approach that continues to fail our nation’s children. In many ways, the conference report was worse than the original Senate bill—removing the few good provisions from the House bill that would have allowed some Title I portability for low-income students as well as a parental opt-out from onerous federal accountability standards.[/pull_quote_center]

Presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also did not vote on the bill. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against it.

Senate Passes Revised Military Spending Bill, Obama Will Sign

by Jason Ditz

In a 91-3 vote, the Senate has approved the revised military spending bill for 2016 that was also passed by the House last week. The bill offered less than 1% cuts from the previous bill and retained restrictions on releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Though it had previously threatened a veto of the bill, the White House today affirmed that President Obama will sign the bill as currently presented, suggesting the trivial cuts were sufficient. Likely, however, the shift is a function of both houses having a veto-proof majority on the bill.

Previous suggestions were that some in the Senate wanted to revise the bill to open up more avenues for releasing Gitmo detainees, though this ultimately did not happen, and the White House seems to be totally fine with it, despite complaining for months about those restrictions.

Instead, the White House now says they want “cooperation” on Congress on closing Guantanamo Bay, but that they intend to keep this totally separate from the military spending bill, which itself has for years been chock full of restrictions on the promised closure.

U.S. Lawmaker Proposes Bill To Implement 40-Hour Work Weeks For Congress

A bill proposed by Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) calls for a mandated 40-hour workweek for all members of Congress while they are in Washington.

House Resolution 457 states that it seeks to amend “the Rules of the House of Representatives to require that the House be in session at least 40 hours each week other than a week that is designated as a district work period.”

Jolly, who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016, said that he is sponsoring the bill because he sees a frustration among the public that Congress has not “engaged in a legislative fight to begin to advance the agenda that is right for the American people.”

“Americans are sick and tired of Washington inaction,” Jolly said. “They expect their leaders to govern. Look at all the bills gathering dust while Congress braces for the next self-made calamity. Let’s give voice to the people on issues like border security, transportation, a budget that finally balances.”

The Hill noted that during a typical workweek in Washington, “House members come in Monday evenings for votes at 6:30 p.m. and depart for their districts by early afternoon Thursday,” and then “alternately, the House convenes on Tuesdays and remains in session until Friday.”

This proposal comes after Jolly wrote a letter to the House Rules Committee in Sept. 2014 calling for a similar change, and requesting that while session, workweeks run “from 8:00 a.m. on Monday until 6:00 p.m. on Friday.”

A press release on the bill stated that over the last 20 years, while Congress has been in session for about 137 days each year, the typical American works 40-hour, 5-day workweeks, and spends about 241 days at work each year.

“This ‘try-nothing’ Congress needs a reality check,” Jolly said. “A work week in Washington should be no different than a work week in every other town across the nation.”

BREAKING: House Speaker John Boehner Stepping Down From Congress

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2015– Just two days ago, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) was making headlines– conservatives were planning a coup to throw him off of the Speaker’s perch. Today, Boehner has announced that he will be stepping down from Congress next month.

On Wednesday, The Hill reported that conservatives were planning a coup to throw off Speaker Boehner due to Planned Parenthood funding.

“…lawmakers are wondering more than ever if Boehner’s days as Speaker are numbered,” reported The Hill.

Talk of the overthrow sent Washington into a frenzy.

“That’s what tells you there’s something afoot. You know there’s some drops of blood in the water, because all the sharks are starting to circle,” noted one conservative lawmaker who supports Boehner’s exit, according to The Hill.

Boehner allies had dismissed the chatter.

“The Speaker isn’t going anywhere,” Boehner’s spokeswoman, Emily Schillinger, said last week. “He’s focused on the American people’s priorities and how we can accomplish them.”

Fast-forward to today, Boehner sent a shock wave through Capitol Hill early this morning when it was announced that he would be stepping down from the Speakership and resigning from Congress at the end of October.

Two Republican lawmakers are likely to rise in an attempt to replace Boehner. House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Cali.), the establishment pick, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the conservative pick.

While McCarthy is not necessarily well-liked among conservative House members, he has attempted to make inroads with them since replacing former House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor who was defeated by conservative challenger Dave Bratt in an upset that shook Capitol Hill to its core.

On the other hand, Jordan is the conservative pick, but is still somewhat well-liked among the establishment. Jordan was leading the charge to defund Planned Parenthood, and was willing to climb over Boehner to do so.

John Andrew Boehner was first elected to Congress in 1990.

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Conservative Files Motion To Oust John Boehner As House Speaker

The growing rift among House Republicans reached a new height on Tuesday when Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) filed a motion to oust Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House Speaker.

In a copy of the resolution, obtained by Politico, Meadows claimed that Boehner has “endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent.” 

Meadows, who is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group that is often in disagreement with Boehner, filed the motion after he was recently removed from his title as the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. Meadows lost the title after voting against “a leadership-backed procedural vote on trade legislation,” and was retuned to his post after protests from fellow conservatives, according to the Washington Post.

In his motion, Meadows also alleged that Boehner has diminished the “voice of the American people” through inaction, by weakening Congress and making it “subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches.”

“Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker,” wrote Meadows, who went on to say that Boehner “intentionally provided for voice votes on consequential and controversial legislation,” and did not give House members the required three-day period to review legislation.

Some House members aren’t taking Meadows seriously, such as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, who called the motion a “gimmick” and suggested that Meadows was just doing it because he is “probably in trouble in his district so he needs a way to raise money.”

In contrast, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), also a member of the Freedom Caucus, said that he has “talked about the need for new leadership for a long time” because ultimately “people at home want us to take a new direction.”

Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) said that he hopes talk show hosts “pick up on this thing and beat the drum so loud that other members feel like they can be encouraged to join this effort to change the leadership of the House.”

Reuters noted that although it is unlikely the motion filed by Meadows will pass, “it highlights the friction within the Republican Party ahead of a presidential election in 2016.”

“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation on making this place work, where everybody’s voice matters, where there’s not a punitive culture,” Meadows said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some discussion about that in the days and weeks to come.”

Meadows was just one of the 25 House Republicans who voted against Boehner when he was up for re-election in Jan. After he secured his third term as House Speaker, Boehner retaliated against some of the lawmakers who voted against him, such as Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent, by removing them from the House Rules Committee.

Iran, World Powers Reach Historic Nuclear Deal

After 20 months of negotiations, four target dates and three extensions, Iran, the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom announced that they reached a historic deal on Tuesday that will limit Tehran’s nuclear ability, in exchange for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said “Today is a historic day,” and called it a great honor “for us to announce that we have reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed that the deal is a “historic moment,” but cautioned that it was “not perfect.” He concluded, “Today could have been the end of hope, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.”

Addressing the deal from the White House on Tuesday morning, President Obama said it “is not built on trust, it is built on verification,” and that in addition to cutting off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, the terms of the agreement state that Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and will dispose of 98 percent of its stockpile of uranium. As a result, Obama said that Iran will receive “phased in sanctions relief.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told media in Vienna that although Russia and China pushed to end an arms embargo on Iran as soon as possible, “the West insisted that the embargo should stay,” the Iranians “agreed to compromise” and the embargo will be kept in place for the next five years, during which Iran will be able to import arms during that time “on the condition of the notification and the verification with the U.N. Security Council.”

Throughout the process of negotiations, the deal has faced opposition from congressional Republicans. Congress now has 60 days to review the provisions in the deal before Obama can begin removing congressional sanctions.

Obama said that he would veto any congressional legislation seeking to block the agreement and that no deal “means a greater change of more war” in the Middle East.

Congress Set To Take On Criminal Justice Reform This Year

By Casey Harper

A bipartisan group of 20 congressmen introduced a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill Thursday that would have huge implications for millions of Americans.

Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Democrat Rep. Bobby Scott introduced the SAFE Justice Act, a bill that would implement major reforms across all areas of the justice system, particularly how the country treats drug crimes.

The bill addresses a range of issues, from overcriminalization to the ballooning prison population. It would also make it harder for agencies to put criminal penalties on their legislation, prioritize prison time for violent offenders instead of low level drug offenses, and invest in police relations and accountability.

Mark Holden, general counsel and senior vice president at Koch Industries, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Friday that although it’s still up in the air, in his conversations congressmen tell him they’re optimistic it could pass this year. He agrees, hoping to “strike while the iron is hot.”

A key provision in the bill would make it more difficult for agencies to create regulations with criminal penalties, and those regulations would sunset after five years if not renewed.

“That’s the problem,” Holden told TheDCNF. “We’ve decided we want to make criminal a lot of things that aren’t criminal, and it’s a huge cost, human, societal, fiscal, all around, so yeah I think if that could happen that would be great for everybody. That’s a major part of the bill, the reversal of this trend of overcriminalization particularly by regulatory agencies.”

The bill is expected to significantly shrink the prison population, partially by treating drug criminals much differently than violent and sex criminals. Some drug criminals would have opportunities to have their sentences reduced by going through programs set up for them.

“The federal system is really a dinosaur in the way that it relies almost entirely on prison, and lots of it, to address drug crime,” Molly Gill, government affairs counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, told TheDCNF. “The states are much more innovative and recognize that prison is both an expensive and ineffective solution to drug crime.”

The bill has bipartisan support from 10 Republican original sponsors and 10 Democrat original sponsors, as well as groups as diverse as Koch and the American Civil Liberties Union.

“I think there are some great bills in the Senate. but there has been a bunch of them and there isn’t one in the way that this one feels like it’s a vehicle where they can get all of these different organizations and all of their networks and all of their money and partnerships that exist outside of the house to push this as a vehicle,” Matt Haney, director of policy for the criminal justice reform group Cut50, told TheDCNF.

Growing discontentment with the criminal justice system has been fueled by a plethora of police brutality cases, a growing resentment toward the drug war, and the financial strain put on states that can no longer afford to house their burgeoning prison populations.

“I live in the district where Freddie Gray lived,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said in a press conference Thursday. “I live within a few blocks of where he died, and…our country is better than this. What we are doing absolutely no sense. I don’t know that the stars will align this way, the way I’ve got these folks in the room…I don’t know whether they will align this way in my lifetime, at least my political lifetime, so lets take advantage of this.”

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Congress Still Doesn’t Want DC To Regulate Marijuana Sales

By Josh Fatzick

In a draft congressional spending bill released Wednesday, the House Committee on Appropriations is again blocking the District of Columbia from regulating marijuana sales in the city.

The legislation maintains provisions from last year that forbid D.C. from using any federal or local funds to further its marijuana legalization efforts.

In February, the city legalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and gave residents over the age of 21 the ability to grow as many as six plants, though only three can be mature at any one time.

It is legal to give one ounce or less of marijuana to another person, so long as there is no exchange of money or any kind of trade. But since Congress forbade the city from setting up regulatory framework, sale of marijuana is still illegal.

Republicans in Congress have been duking it out with the city ever since the legalization took effect, promising to find ways to defund other city programs.

Rep. Andy Harris said he and other Republicans would “find some areas where we perhaps have been very generous with citizens of the District.”

Prior to the law taking effect, two Republican congressmen threatened to throw D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in jail if she went through with the legalization, though she called their bluff and they eventually backed down.

If the language in the bill isn’t changed, D.C. will not be able to enact any type of legislation pertaining to legalization or regulation of marijuana until September, 2017.

The bill also prohibited D.C. from funding abortions or setting up a needle exchange program.

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Do Celebrity Food Stamp Challenges Accurately Document Poverty In America?

Over the weekend, actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced her intent to live off of $29 worth of food for one week- a “challenge” presented to her by chef Mario Batali as part of his “Food Bank Challenge” to raise awareness about hunger and press Congress to avoid making cuts to the federal food stamp program known as SNAP. This idea is not brand new; in 2012, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) pledged to live off of $29.78 worth of food for a week while he was still Newark’s mayor. Booker said he wanted to “get people to have a higher level of consciousness thus a higher level of empathy but more to understand our common investment in programs like this and their importance.”

A politician making such a pledge is perceived a bit differently than a celebrity with a rumored net worth of over $100 million making the same choice. A social media frenzy blasting Paltrow for her choice to “live like the poor” for seven days could have easily been predicted.

Paltrow is well-known for her “lifestyle” website GOOP which offers various fashion suggestions including a $2,295 bomber jacket to welcome spring as well as a $75 “regenerating cleanser” in its “beauty” section. Paltrow has been disregarded by many as a celebrity who is incapable of understanding the plight of Americans using SNAP benefits. When Paltrow revealed what she chose to purchase for the week, social media users expressed their annoyance, accusing the actress of “grandstanding” and treating the challenge as a “game”or a “stunt”.

Paltrow’s tweet showed that her $29 dollars did not go very far: she bought eggs, lettuce, beans, an onion, one avocado, a sweet potato, a jalapeno pepper, a bag of peas, one tomato, an ear of corn, garlic, cilantro and kale. She also bought seven limes, which bewildered many people. She made healthy choices, but she was criticized for the lack of calories the choices provided.

Paltrow did not disclose where she bought the items; prices of food vary widely throughout the United States. I was curious to see how far I could stretch $29 at my local supermarket in New Hampshire. This is what I brought home:

food stamp challenge

Living in a somewhat rural area, fresh vegetables are not always available or particularly attractive at this time of year. Fresh staples like apples, potatoes and bananas can be found, and meat prices are somewhat reasonable. I was even able to find low-priced cube steaks for $2.25 and a salmon filet for 99 cents, two items that Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin believes SNAP recipients shouldn’t be able to buy. My purchase cost $28.26 and the non-perishables will be donated to my local food bank, which is another supplement available to low-income individuals and families.

While my choices were not as “clean” as Paltrow’s, I found that my purchasing power may be better in the Northeast than wherever it was she bought her groceries. Is this an extravagant or ideal array of food? I do not believe so. This is merely one alternative out of countless others.

The problem with the question “How far does $29 really go?” is that it is terribly subjective. Anyone could come up with endless combinations of purchases ranging from a plethora of canned goods to a measly handful of fresh items.

The question of how much the federal government should spend on food assistance is just as subjective. There is no agreed upon dollar amount that would end hunger in America.

Paltrow successfully re-ignited conversations about the stigma of using SNAP benefits, the rising cost of food, and the notion of living off of a week’s worth of food stamps. As Paltrow has probably learned by now, it appears that when a rich public figure attempts to live temporarily as a low-income individual, the public is reminded of their own challenges that do not simply end in a week’s time and feel insulted.

The “food stamp challenge” has certainly achieved its goal of raising awareness about poverty in the United States, but it remains impossible for celebrities to accurately portray what it actually looks like.

Poll: Majority Of Americans Don’t Want Congress To Interfere With Iran Nuclear Deal

A recent poll found that 61 percent of Americans approve of the framework of President Obama’s agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program, while 34 percent oppose it, and that 65 percent of Americans do not want Congress to interfere with the agreement, while only 30 percent want Congress to block it before it is implemented.

The poll, which was conducted by Hart Research at the request of the group Americans United for Change, surveyed 806 registered voters in the United States, using both landline and cell phones, from April 6 to April 8.

The results indicated that 34 percent of the Americans surveyed oppose, and 61 percent favor the framework of the deal surrounding Iran’s nuclear program that was reached on April 2, between the US, Iran, and five other major powers: China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. Out of the Americans who said they favored the deal, 28 percent strongly favor it, and 33 percent somewhat favor it.

The participants were asked to respond to a statement that summed up the framework of the deal, which said that over the next 10 to 25 years, it would “prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” place limits on “the level to which Iran can enrich uranium to far below what is necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” and it would significantly reduce Iran’s “uranium and plutonium production capabilities.” The deal would result in Iran submitting to “intrusive, short-notice inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” and in exchange, Iran would receive “gradual relief from US and international economic sanctions, as long as it complies with the terms of the agreement.”

81 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Independents and 41 percent of Republicans favored the statement above. In contrast, 16 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Republicans opposed the statement.

The survey found that according to voters, the most important parts of the deal are the provisions on inspection and verification. 69 percent of respondents favored the provision of the agreement that “allows for intrusive, short-notice inspections and monitoring of Iran’s compliance with the agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and would result in expanded access to Iranian sites by international inspectors,” and 74 percent of respondents favored the provision that states that if Iran violates the agreement, “inspectors will find out, and decisive action against Iran – including strong international economic sanctions – can be taken quickly.”

65 percent of voters said that they do not want Congress to interfere with the agreement, and they would rather Congress “allow the agreement to go forward and closely monitor its implementation,” while 30 percent of voters said they wanted Congress to block the agreement now, before it is implemented.

82 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Independents, and 47 percent of Republicans want Congress to let the deal go through, while 15 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of Independents and 48 percent of Republicans want Congress to step in and block the deal.

The results of the poll noted that voters continued to support the agreement, even after “hearing what opponents and supporters say about it,” which demonstrated an “important degree of durability and depth to the support measured in earlier questions.”

Obama Preparing to Send Congress Request for Official Military Force Against ISIS

The White House is expected to send a resolution to Congress on Tuesday, requesting the clearance to use military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

According to Reuters, the Obama administration’s “failure so far to seek a formal Authorization to Use Military Force for the campaign” has left some members of Congress concerned that it “overstepped the president’s constitutional authority.

The Associated Press noted that so far Obama has relied on the resolution Congress passed in 2002, authorizing President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq, which is something “scores of Democrats have regretted” and something Obama “used as a cudgel against his rivals to win the Democratic presidential nomination.”

Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, said that he and his fellow Democrats were not going to just write Obama a “blank-check.”

Some want to give the executive a blank-check, and there are others, including me, who want to limit the war-making authority, especially with U.S. ground combat forces,” said Van Hollen. “Will it narrow it to Iraq and Syria, or allow operations in other countries?

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, said he disagreed with anyone who wanted to limit the use of ground troops or to put an expiration date on authorization.

Most importantly, the authorization should not impose any artificial and unnecessary limitations such as those based on time, geography and type of force that could interfere with our strategic objective of defeating Islamic State,” Hatch said.

Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, said that although he has been “clear in opposition to boot on the ground,” he does want to see what the White House has proposed.

It’s traditional and expected for an administration to articulate their strategy to the Congress, so we want to give them a chance to do so,” Schatz said.

According to Reuters, the leader of the House of Representatives’ Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, released a statement last week saying the White House “would seek an authorization that would last three years,” but has not decided on “the geographic scope of an authorization or what limits would be placed on combat troops.”

Although the United States began carrying out airstrikes against ISIS in August, Obama has said that he will not authorize the use of ground troops to fight ISIS, and he will instead rely on a coalition that includes Iraqi forces and Syrian rebels on the ground.

Obama’s strategy regarding ISIS has been criticized by U.S. officials, such as former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said he finds Obama’s resolve to completely destroy ISIS, both “unrealistic” and “unattainable,” and that instead of being pre-occupied with “today’s crisis,” the United States should be looking at its long-term strategy in the Middle East.

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Stands Up to IRS, Cancels Land Sale

WASHINGTON, February 7, 2015—New Mexico’s Eddy County Sheriff Scott London notified the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via letter that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property is canceled until Carter receives due process of law and his appeal is heard. The certified letter dated February 4 received an immediate response from the Undersecretary of the Treasury’s office. According to the Treasury’s website, however, the public auction is still slated for February 19.

“Many officers have stood up over the years for the rights of citizens being victimized by the federal government,” said Sheriff Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, “But Sheriff London is the first one to stand up to the IRS since the early 1990s.” Mack said, “His actions show courage and humility. London is setting a good example for the rest of our sheriffs.”

Approximately ten days before Christmas, U.S. Marshals broke in the door of Carter’s rental property with their guns drawn. The tenant was a young mother with a new baby—home alone while her husband was at work. Sheriff London was called to the property to intervene. He advised the Marshals that Carter’s case was in appeal and he deserved due process. They threatened to arrest London, but he stood his ground and they backed off.

Carter has battled the IRS for decades over taxes on the earnings of his modest construction business. One court document listed his debt at $145,000, a figure Carter says an assessing agent “pulled out of thin air.” Every time he challenged them, his bill would shoot up a few hundred thousand dollars. His legal complaints state that the IRS failed to adhere to its own tax code, did not use proper accounting methods, and that the collection activity was unlawful because no notices of deficiency were given. Carter says his private and confidential information, including his social security number, was filed in public records and given to third parties. The IRS countered that it can publish and disperse the private information of Americans if it is trying to collect their money or property. A judge agreed.

Carter says the IRS is currently claiming he owes $890,000, a figure that “doubled with the stroke of a pen.”

The Taxation & Revenue Department ordered Carter to cease “engaging in business in New Mexico” until his arbitrary tax debt was paid. Carter appealed this injunction on the grounds that it was both unconstitutional and vague, as it deprived him of his right to make a living and also prohibited him from, “carrying on or causing to be carried on any activity with the purpose of direct or indirect benefit.”

“The IRS fabricates evidence against citizens by pulling numbers out of a hat and adding fees,” said Mack, “They wear people down emotionally and financially until they can’t take it anymore. No citizen should ever have to fight the IRS for decades in order to keep his land.”

“The IRS is a lie. The income tax is a lie,” said Carter. “Why should they be able to take anything? They’re worse than the mafia.”

The Carter properties have liens placed against them. A locksmith was instructed to change the locks. The IRS authorized the United States Marshal Service to arrest/evict anyone found on the premises. London, however, physically stood in front of Carter’s gate until the Marshals backed down. A public auction on the front steps of the Eddy County Courthouse is scheduled, but the local county sheriff—trained in the Constitution—resisted.

Carter voluntarily vacated his property and relocated his mobile home to an undisclosed location. “I chose to leave to keep it from escalating to something ugly—like Ruby Ridge, Idaho,” he said. Carter said he advised the Marshals and IRS Agents who publicly claimed he had armed friends on his land, “If there is going to be any violence, it is going to be you who starts it.”

Carter says 100% of his Social Security benefits is seized each month by the IRS, in addition to $2,800 the agency drained from his bank account. Legally, the IRS can take no more than 15% of Social Security benefits.

Mack says banking institutions quiver when faced with the IRS’ gestapo tactics and generally hand over customers’ personal banking information, including access to accounts, without requiring a warrant or even any documentation. He encourages county sheriffs to brief every bank in their jurisdiction to refer inquiries from IRS agents to them.

Sheriff Mack is calling for the IRS to start following the law, including no “random” audits without probable cause, as they violate the Fourth Amendment. He asks them to stop committing crimes and rewarding IRS employees with bonuses for cheating on their personal taxes. “I agree with Senator Ted Cruz and others who say the IRS should be abolished,” said Mack. “It’s time they got off the backs of the American people.”

Carter says he prays daily for wisdom, and that he is surviving to be able to look into his grandchildren’s eyes and tell them he fought for their future and for America.

London is the first Republican to ever be elected sheriff in Eddy County. He distributes Bibles on behalf of Gideon International and met his wife in choir practice.

Fox News Bashes Boehner for Inviting Netanyahu to Address Congress, Not Notifying White House

Following President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak about nuclear negotiations with Iran at an upcoming joint session of Congress, without first verifying the invitation with Obama.

Politico described this move as Boehner’s “most dramatic foreign policy confrontation” with Obama to date, due to the fact that Netanyahu is a “fierce opponent of the emerging U.S. nuclear agreement with the Islamic republic and has served as Obama’s foil, of sorts, as the negotiations have progressed.”

According to the New York Times, Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu “stunned” the White House, which called it a “breach of protocol,” and confirmed on Thursday that Obama would not meet with Netanyahu during his visit.

On Friday, in a discussion about Boehner’s subversion of Obama’s authority, Fox News correspondents Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith spoke out in criticism of both Boehner’s decision the extend an invitation, and Netanyahu’s decision to accept it.

Wallace said he completely agreed with former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk when he told the New York Times:

Netanyahu is using the Republican Congress for a photo-op for his election campaign and the Republicans are using Bibi for their campaign against Obama. Unfortunately, the U.S. relationship will take the hit. It would be far wiser for us to stay out of their politics and for them to stay out of ours.”

I think he’s 100 percent right,” Wallace said, explaining that he had been at the White House on Wednesday when Boehner announced that he had invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress, and that Netanyahu had accepted.

Wallace said one White House official was “flabbergasted,” and claimed the administration was given “no advanced warning,” and first found out about Netanyahu’s impending visit when Boehner announced it to the Press.

To make you get a sense of really how, forgive me, wicked, this whole thing is, the Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States for two hours on Tuesday,” Wallace said. “Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador, according to the State Department, never mentioned the fact that Netanyahu was in negotiations and finally agreed to come to Washington, not to see the president, but to go to Capitol Hill, speak to a joint session of congress and criticize the president’s policy. I have to say I’m shocked.

Smith pointed out that although both members of the Mossad and members of his own political party have warned Netanyahu that the upcoming trip to the U.S. is a bad idea, he “won’t back out.”

The newspapers over there are going wild over this,” Smith said. “It just seems like they think we don’t pay any attention and we’re just a bunch of complete morons, the United States citizens, like we wouldn’t pick up on what’s happening here.”

Wallace noted that although Netanyahu is an “extremely savvy and successful politician,” Israel is just weeks away from a major election, and Israel’s relationship with the U.S. is a big political issue.

Even when they’re fighting with each other the Israelis want to know that the U.S. has their back,” Wallace said. “For Netanyahu to do something that is going to be seen as such a deliberate and really egregious snub of President Obama, when Obama’s going to be in power for the next year and three-quarters would seem to me to be a very risky political strategy for Prime Minister Netanyahu.”