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VOTER ID BECOMES TOP ISSUE IN WASHINGTON

(Washington D.C.) - As Congress convenes for another session and the President submitting his budget, one could only imagine what the top issues in Washington might be. As it turns out, a national voter ID law has became the first piece of legislation to draw blood on the hill. 

The Election Integrity Act as introduced by Congressman Paul Vang of Wisconsin's 7th District would mean that state and local election officials would be required to see photo identification for those wishing to cast a ballot in elections while placing a ten day time-frame for those wishing to cast their vote if they do not have an ID through a provisional ballot. A positive takeaway for the piece of legislation is that if someone attains an affidavit stating they cannot afford an ID, the government will provide them with one, free of charge thanks to a section of the legislation.

Some states have strict photo ID laws and they include Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin while other states do not require any ID to vote whatsoever, California and New York are among this category that allows people to vote without proving their identity. 

Figures from both parties have came out against or in support of the legislation, with House Majority Leader Dylan Macmillan stating, "Voter ID Laws are a dangerous game to be playing to be honest. Here's the deal, IDs cost money and minorities are less likely to have IDs, what legislation of this type does then in effect is it prevents those who cannot afford identification from voting and it tends to disenfranchise those from a minority background." with the House Majority Leader outright slamming the bill, it is unlikely that the bill will get time in the house. The bill's sponsor touted the bill's popularity among the general public as a basis for pushing the legislation.

The legislation is being attacked by groups on the left as a means to suppress democratic votes. If we take one demographic, only 25% of African-Americans over the age of 65 have the IDs required by the legislation to vote. The Brennan Center for Justice has stated that there is more chance of an American being struck by lightning than impersonating someone else at the polls or otherwise voting fraudulently. Incident rates for voter fraud are around 0.0003 percent to 0.0025 percent.

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BUDGET DRAWS BLOOD ON THE HILL

(Washington D.C.) - Following the introduction of the President's budget and a Democratic budget, it is clear that neither is going to become law. President Trump will refuse to sign a Democratic budget, so different from his own and the House of Representatives will refuse to take up his budget. The question however is if the two sides can come together to hammer out a bipartisan proposal.

The Trump budget sees cuts in many federal departments, providing for a 14% decrease in federal spending as a whole. Most cuts are aimed at duplicate programs which exists in some departments while making other efficiency savings and eliminating some programs outright. A document obtained by the Hill provides some explanation to the President's requested funding, the document was prepared by the Office of Management and Budget. Many analysts say that this was the best the President could do, having wanted increases in defense spending, which would have made the federal deficit over one trillion if other cuts had not been made. 

On the other hand, the Democratic budget reverts cuts and increases in departments which President Trump has otherwise cut or requested more money. A levy of a 35% sales tax on marijuana has helped reduce the deficit by around $6bn or so. A main point of opposition from many Democrats on the hill has been cuts made to agriculture and education, which tied with the fall of soybean exports, makes for a very good sticking point in regions like the midwest.

The President has quickly slammed Democrats for their irresponsible intentions to keep duplicate spending and wasteful expenditures in federal spending on twitter. While only the start of the budget process, it is clear to many that if Congress and the White House fail to reconcile budget differences, there may be a government shutdown.

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MUELLER SAFE SAYS LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has reportedly assured Senator Lindsey Graham, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the Mueller probe into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election is safe. Graham met with Whitaker in his Russell Building office and says the man President Trump tapped to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he doesn’t see anything wrong with Mueller’s probe. Graham said that Whitaker assured him that he doesn’t think that Mueller’s probe has breached any Justice Department guidelines.

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Republicans Vote Down Non Discrimination  Act In Senate

Senate Republicans have voted down the Student Non-Discrimination Act despite the act having passed the house via unanimous consent. the vote was driven right down party lines. It is quite peculiar to see republicans from the house and senate acting so differently on the bill. Some wonder if the house republicans simply did not notice the UC request, thus allowing it to slip by without objection. One thing is for sure......This is a big win for the Christian-Right and family value organizations played a big role in pressuring republicans to vote it down. 

 

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TRUMP REPORTEDLY INCLUDED IN PAYMENTS TO STORMY DANIELS AND KAREN MCDOUGAL

Federal prosecutors reportedly have evidence that President Donald Trump played a key role in hush payoffs that may have violated campaign-finance laws, the Hill can report. 

Throughout the 2016 election, then candidate Donald Trump was accused by the Clinton Campaign and other sections of American political society of making payoffs in order to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters ahead of the election. Trump met with his longtime friend and chief executive of American Media, David Pecker, to stop the women who had stories to tell regarding the alleged affairs that the President was undertaking. In one instance, Pecker’s company reportedly paid $150,00 to model Karen McDougal to prevent her from speaking out about the alleged affair.

President Trump has outright denied the allegations and denounced the "evidence" that certain federal prosecutors may hold. Apparently, he was involved “on nearly every step of the agreements” in the form of phone calls and meetings with his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

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US ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA JESSIE LIU FILES FEDERAL BRIBERY CHARGES AGAINST PRESTON MOSS

The Federal Prosecutor for the District of Columbia has filed charges of bribery against embattled Congressman Preston Moss in relation to actions surrounding "purchasing votes" regarding the DACA Act and the Fitzgerald amendment. 

It is understood that Congressman Preston Moss has pleaded not guilty to these charges, which now means that the case will go to trial. It is understood that the federal prosecutor will look to subpoena committee records from the hearing and the FBI investigation which came after it. 

The case will be decided in the coming weeks. As of right now, Congressman Moss is pending trial and has been granted bail by the local district judge. We never thought the Democrats would get another Bob Menendez. 

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PRESTON MOSS FOUND GUILTY OF FEDERAL BRIBERY CHARGES; US ATTORNEY DOESN'T PRESS CHARGES AGAINST HAMILTON

Former US Congressman Preston Moss has been found guilty by a federal grand jury of Title 18 bribery charges, also known as the public corruption charge. The judge presiding over the case found Mr Moss to be in total disrespect of the laws put in place to protect confidence in public organs and transparency over law in the United States.

Moss has been sentenced to serve no less than 4 years in a federal penitentiary and a $10,000,000 fine. 

On the other hand, Jesse Liu, the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, has refused to file the same charges against Republican Congressman Hamilton. In a statement she said, "the elements of Mr Hamiltons part to play in this situation coincide with recent Supreme Court rulings on federal bribery." 

As this saga looks to be finished, one wonder what scandal will be next to hit the hill.

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PEOPLE TO LOSE ACCESS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO SNAP BENEFITS

More than 200,000 adults across the country are to lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the main federal program which helps them buy food. Both federal and state rules are to be tightened, requiring them to either get a job or do volunteer work to keep their benefits. A lot of these rules were suspended following the economic downturn in 2008, with only a handful of states allowing them to continue. 

The rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, have been in place since 1996 when they were signed into law by former Democratic President Bill Clinton. Conservatives across the country have lauded this as an opportunity to get people back to work and off benefits while Liberals have attacked the moves as hurting the most vulnerable in society, who still may have not recovered from the economic crash.

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WOMAN, 23, KILLED BY UNDOCUMENTED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN CALIFORNIA

A woman, named as Patricia Richards, 23 years old has been killed by an undocumented immigrant in Los Angeles, the LAPD has reported. The assailant, Jose Rodriquez, has been arrested and charged with the murder.

The murder of this woman has sparked outrage within some sections of the Californian community and indeed the country at large. The Department for Homeland Security has said "Mr Rodriquez has been living, illegally, in the United States for some 8 years, he has minor convictions but nothing that has landed him in prison.". Mr Rodriquez was pulled up for this charges in San Francisco which declares that local authorities can't hold immigrants for immigration officials if they have no violent felonies on their records and do not currently face charges. This isn't the only jurisdiction in California or the United States which operates a policy of this kind. 

Many people asked about this incident have referred back to the murder of Kathryn Steinle while walking with her father and a friend along Pier 14 in the Embarcadero district of San Francisco, was shot by José Inez García Zárate, an illegal immigrant. 

Conservatives in the state have lambasted the state's dedication to being a sanctuary state, saying "this is what happens when we allow illegal immigrants to walk among us, with no regard for the law". We were hard pressed to find liberal politicians in local offices to comment, a few simply said that the murder was a sad day and no way reflects on sanctuary city policy. 

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Republican Banned From The Party

 

The GOP  took a shocking turn in banning republican like Rep. Hamilton. It is not yet clear what the motive is for this ban. While Hamilton was previously involved in an investigation for bribery, he was eventually not charged. Republican leadership and other senior republicans had no comment at this time about the nature of the party vote. 

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Democrat Introduces Resolution Declaring War On Russia

 

House democrat Mary Blythe-Pinnacle has submitted a resolution to the houses which declares war on the Russian Federation. When asked about this resolution and its implications, Rep. Blythe-Pinnacle released this statement...

Quote

The Russian government has, for years, threatened and harmed the national security interests of the United States. It has violated our arms control agreements (specifically, the INF Treaty) by producing and testing ground-launched nuclear missiles with extensive range capabilities—threatening "retaliation" if the U.S. withdraws from the INF Treaty in our own protection and in response to their noncompliance. It has contributed to destabilization and inhumanity in Syria, repeatedly warning us against taking actions aligning with our own national interests. It has harmed the strength of our democracy in hacking and maliciously influencing the 2016 presidential elections. It has thrived in defiance of global interests while the compliant-U.S. slowly, but surely, falls subservient to its regime on the international stage.

Russia, in its actions—its imperialism, its unapologetic display of power over the stability and sovereignty of the United States—has caused a state of war to exist between it and the United States. When a hostile nation steals your power, destroys your democracy, violates your agreements, provokes your vulnerabilities, rejects your values, and influences your demise, the only reasonable response isn’t ignorance, but strength.

 

When asked if the proper response to Russian interference in United States elections was to trigger a third world war

Quote

The fact of the matter is that America and the world are not safe under the conditions Russia has imprisoned us all under, where power suppresses freedom and authoritarianism out-rules democracy. The response to proven and prolonged Russian aggression shouldn't be the continued expression of weakness as they continue to grow as the world's superpower. The appropriate response to Russia's undeclared war is the serious response: the one that shows them that the United States won't be uprooted under their reign. One that eliminates our subjection to their authority. One that deters enemies of the U.S. from further challenging the liberty, safety, and security of the American People.

 

Are you worried about this leading to nuclear war?

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I think it will do the opposite. Right now, agreements between the U.S. and Russia prevent the two of us from producing certain nuclear capabilities; however, only one of us—the United States—has been compliant. As a result, Russia's nuclear arsenal is on the verge of growing to the point of making them an unchallengeable force, which causes other countries to increase their development of nuclear weapons. Such a mass collection of nuclear mechanisms doesn't make the world safer, but rather far more destabilized. A serious response from the U.S. to Russia will not only stop them in their pursuit of military dominion, but it will finally promote a more secure world.

 

What to you have to say to your constituents who are worried that you are starting an unnecessary nuclear war?

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As U.S. Secretary of State, I negotiated to produce real solutions, applied common-sense to ensure positive outcomes, and used good judgement to support and defend the Mission and Integrity of our great nation before the international community. To my constituents and the people of the United States: I've never, ever, acted against your best interests, and I hope you trust that I won't start doing so now. It's not my desire to promote a global nuclear conflict, but to end one.

 

So the answer to their growing nuclear arsenal is to declare war on them in order to keep them from making more...even if they use the nuclear weapons that they do have on us....in numbers larger than we have?

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First, I think it's a mistake to assume that, because they are producing weapons against international warrant, they have more than we and our allies do. Secondly, I'm sure that Russia will not make the mistake of initiating a nuclear battle, but will rather change its course in compliance with U.S. and global demands for the sake of a common future.

 

Analysis notes:

Even if there is good reason to dislike what Russia has been doing to undermine us.....calling for war against Russia scares most voters and sounds super duper crazy. It is basically John Mccain's "Bomb Bomb Iran" flub, but 10 times worse. 

The people of your district are piping mad. And voters who  might have seen you as a serious presidential candidate now question your sanity. 

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HOUSE AND SENATE REPUBLICANS DIVIDED OVER POLICY DIRECTION?

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill get in full swing following the conclusion of the Special Elections for Governor races throughout the country, there appears to have arisen a striking difference between House and Senate Republicans.

"They've gone too soft." remarked a conservative commentator in West Virginia. A statement which no doubt echoes throughout the halls of the Capitol, House Republicans have allowed multiple pieces of legislation to pass, which would have otherwise appeared as 'controversial' in other years. Some of these pieces of legislation include the hard fought against Equality Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, both pieces of legislation which has received considerable opposition from conservatives in recent years in Washington. Is House Minority Leader Paul Vang allowing his caucus to drift to the center in this new Congress?

While the House seems to be steaming through bills, some controversial and some not, many in the country are calling the Senate, unbelievably, the saving grace for Conservative Republicanism both in Washington and the country as a whole. Senate Republicans are expected to defeat the Equality Act just as they did the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and have been very cautious about stamping other bills to send to the President's desk.

In the age of Donald Trump, I suppose anything is possible. However, in a House which has in some ways been controlled by the Conservative Right, recent bill passages and developments on the Hill cast their stranglehold on the House Republican Caucus into doubt.

 

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FEDERAL JUDGE UPHOLDS BAN ON BUMP STOCKS

President Trump recently signed the BUMP Act into law, which prohibited the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of bump stocks, a device commonly used to alter the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons to mimic that of a fully automatic weapon.

As expected, the law was subject to various legal challenges regarding the Second Amendment. Federal law already forbids the transfer or possession of most machine guns and parts to convert legal semi-automatic weapons into machine guns. Many legal analysts have said that the BUMP Act as passed by Congress is designed to patch legal loopholes which resulted in the emergence of bump stocks in the first place. 

In the District of Columbia v. Heller case, Justice Scalia wrote that the Second Amendment only protects weapons in common use and suggested that Congress could ban weapons such as military style machine guns and the like. The federal judge in the case wrote that the Second Amendment only covers actual arms in common use and not intended to protect against dangerous and unusual weapons, which could arguably be said of the addition of a bump stock. 

 

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TRUMP SIGNS INFRASTRUCTURE 'STIMULUS' PROVIDING MUCH NEED FUNDING TO AMERICAN ROADS, SCHOOLS, PORTS AND OTHER TRANSPORT

What started off as a mostly bipartisan piece of legislation, the American Rebuilding America's Infrastructure Act has become law today following President Trump's signature.

The piece of legislation, introduced by Congressman Paul Vang (R-WI) invests $2.2 trillion dollars in America's infrastructure over ten years, which amounts to $222.4bn a year. In total, the bills investment represents the largest direct investment in American infrastructure since the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1940. Many economists, especially those of a Keynesian point of view are lauding the piece of legislation as a starting point for "maintaining a strong American economy". 

Given the direct investment of the bill in areas of American infrastructure like airports, roads, dams, schools, rail and others, the amount of jobs or income this bill is yet to generate is yet unseen. The Works Progress Administration was said to have created 8,000,000 jobs during its existence, workers on the federal projects which it funded.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been especially welcoming of the piece of legislation. They have celebrated the first major, properly funded infrastructure legislation passed by the Congress in some years. In its most recent report, the ASCE gave the United States a D+ on its infrastructure rating, taken from all major areas of American infrastructure. 

Despite the bill's good aspects, fiscal hawks have warned that thanks to the discretionary funding made throughout this bill and based on the recent budget, America's discretionary obligations will reach $1.2 trillion or so in the next year, raising year on year after that.

In the meantime however, American infrastructure can celebrate this new lease of life.

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MUELLER INVESTIGATION COMES TO A CLOSE AS ROD ROSENSTEIN BRIEFED

As Robert Mueller concludes his investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 Presidential Election, there is much fanfare over the result and what is to come for the Trump Administration, if anything at all.

The Department of Justice released a statement: "We thank Special Counsel Mueller for his diligent hard work the past number of months and we can finally say that this investigation has concluded. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is working with members of the Department of Justice to make a copy of this report available to the public, once we have consulted appropriate legal minds."

Given the apparent lack of urgency or worry from the Department of Justice, it is likely that the President has not received any damning outcome to his person in the report. We can confirm however that there may be a number of high profile recommendations made by the Mueller report, which include other investigatory matters and possibly indictments. It is worth noting that following Independent Counsel provisions expiring in 1999, the Department of Justice maintains great discretion over the report and what happens with it.

 

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OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT FALLS

Enrollment in ObamaCare plans is down by 11 percent compared to last year, according to new sign up numbers released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Insurers appear to be fleeing the Affordable Care Act’s health-insurance exchanges, or the state-based, online marketplaces where people can buy individual health-insurance policies. One-third of counties are projected to have just one insurer on their Obamacare exchanges, and if the dwindling plan options and fleeing insurance companies are not enough to make the individual health insurance market seem unstable, a recent study shows that monthly premiums have increased from $271 to $440 between the first full year of ACA implementation and now.

 

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SUPREME COURT TO CLOSE DOUBLE JEOPARDY LOOPHOLE

When motorist Rodney King received more than 50 baton-strikes from police on a Los Angeles roadside in 1991, state charges against the four officers failed to produce convictions. But after another round of prosecution in which the federal government charged the officers with violating Mr King’s civil rights, two of the attackers were sentenced to 30 months in prison. Ordinarily, the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy—“nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb"—shields individuals from being prosecuted (and punished) repeatedly for the same crime. Since 1850, though, the Supreme Court’s “separate sovereigns” doctrine has permitted such dual prosecutions on the theory that each level of government gets to enforce its own laws.   

The Supreme Court will soon hear a case which will put this doctrine to the test. In 2015, when Terance Martez Gamble was pulled over in Mobile, Alabama for having a broken headlight, the officer smelled marijuana and found a gun in his car. As a convicted felon, Mr Gamble was barred from possessing a firearm. Alabama prosecuted Mr Gamble for this crime and he spent one year in prison, but the federal government soon piled in, charging him for the same offence under federal law and putting Mr Gamble behind bars until February 16th 2020. 

Mr Gamble wagered his freedom on a claim that the “separate sovereigns” principle entrenched though it may be violates the constitution. The federal district court refused to throw out the federal conviction, noting that only the Supreme Court is empowered to find dual prosecutions inconsistent with the double-jeopardy clause. 

It will take five justices to overturn the 168-year-old precedent that gives states and the federal government licence to prosecute individuals separately for the same infraction. 

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FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN OBAMACARE

A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional now that Congress has eliminated a penalty for those who forgo health insurance, casting doubt on the embattled health law and coverage for millions of Americans. Republicans eliminated the ACA’s penalty for not having coverage in the Trump Tax cut. Mandatory health coverage was an integral part of the original law, intending to draw healthier people into the insurance pool to help offset the costs of sicker enrollees. The Supreme Court has upheld the ACA as constitutional based on Congress’s taxing power. 

The ruling, while invalidating the law, didn’t immediately block enforcement of the ACA. An estimated 20 million people gained coverage, mostly through Medicaid expansion and the ACA exchanges, since October 2013, according to a 2016 report from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

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Naomi Brightwell.jpg

Naomi Brightwell Hospitalized

It has been reported that DNC Chairwoman, Naomi Brightwell, has suffered a serious stroke yesterday and has been hospitalized.  Reports have indicated that it is a severe stroke.  Doctors are working hard but a full recovery from an event like this would be extremely unlikely.  The nation's thoughts and prayers are with Naomi Brightwell and her family through this hard time.  Meanwhile, Democrats will have to find another chair to fulfill the duties of party chair.  Who will step up?

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