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The Real Constitutional Crisis

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a crisis (plural: crises) is:

1a: the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever

b: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function

c: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life; a midlife crisis

2: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot); The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.

3a: an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially: one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome; a financial crisis, the nation’s energy crisis

b: a situation that has reached a critical phase; the environmental crisis, the unemployment crisis

And likewise in other dictionaries.

The Constitution

Regardless of any flaws or problems that the Constitution had or has (the countenance of slavery, the assumption of the right of eminent domain, ambiguous clauses, the income tax), it is the supreme law of the land that the federal government is supposed to follow. The Constitution is neither a long nor an obscure document. Any American with a computer or smart phone can access it in a matter of seconds. Yet most Americans are woefully ignorant about the Constitution.

The Constitution was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788, and took effect in 1789. It established the United States as a federal system of government where the states, through the Constitution, granted a limited number of powers to a central government. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution, so eloquently explained in Federalist No. 45,

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

There are about thirty enumerated congressional powers listed throughout the Constitution. Most of those powers are found in the eighteen paragraphs of Article I, Section 8. Six of them concern the militia and the military. Four of them concern taxes and money. The rest relate to commerce, naturalization, bankruptcies, post offices and post roads, copyrights and patents, the federal courts, maritime crimes, and the governance of the District of Columbia. The last paragraph gives Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) was added to the Constitution in 1791. The first eight Amendments protect civil liberties and fundamental rights. the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make it clear that all rights and powers not delegated to the federal government are retained by the people and the states.

The ignorance that most Americans have of the Constitution is exceeded by the ignorance of the Constitution that most congressmen have. Members of Congress swear to uphold the Constitution. Article VI, Clause 3, of the Constitution requires that senators and representatives be “bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution.” U.S. law requires that members of Congress be sworn in before they can take their seats. The congressional oath of office begins, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” One would think that members of Congress — most of whom have at least a bachelor’s degree and many of whom are lawyers — would have a firm grasp of what the Constitution says. Yet they are often the worst offenders when it comes to violations of the Constitution.

The crisis

It was called a constitutional crisis.

After the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, anti-police demonstrations erupted in large, predominantly black cities across the country. Yet, Portland, Oregon, which is about 77 percent white and 6 percent black, became the epicenter of anti-police demonstrations this past summer. Some of the demonstrations were peaceful, but others not so much. Protesters shut down streets, broke windows, set fires, committed acts of vandalism and looting, and clashed with police. Then, on July 10, it was reported that armed federal forces were making arrests and using tear gas against the demonstrators.

Writing in the Guardian, Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, mentioned the Constitution in his report about Portland: “A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.” Writing for the Associated Press, journalist Gillian Flaccus is the one who termed the events in Oregon a “constitutional crisis”: “Federal law enforcement officers’ actions at protests in Oregon’s largest city, done without local authorities’ consent, are raising the prospect of a constitutional crisis — one that could escalate as weeks of demonstrations find renewed focus in clashes with camouflaged, unidentified agents outside Portland’s U.S. courthouse.” In a lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protective Service, the Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, accused the federal agencies of violating the constitutional rights of Oregon residents.

According to the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 15): “[Congress shall have power to] provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 requires state legislatures or governors to request help from the federal government. It empowers the president to call into service the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard to address “an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy, in any state, which results in the deprivation of Constitutionally secured rights, and where the state is unable, fails, or refuses to protect said rights.” The armed federal forces that descended uninvited on Portland were not members of the Militia, U.S. Armed Forces, or the National Guard. Under the guise of “protecting” federal property and maintaining “law and order,” they were functioning as de facto secret police — wearing military fatigues, sporting all manner of weapons, driving unmarked vehicles, compiling dossiers on journalists, grabbing people indiscriminately off the streets without regard to their lawful presence or personal behavior, assaulting people who weren’t engaged in criminal activity, detaining people who weren’t near federal property, and holding people for hours without charge.

But according to acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors, to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” According to attorney and chronicler of the police state John Whitehead, “Just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to local police agencies in the form of grants to transform them into extensions of the military.”

Constitutional scholar and senior judicial analyst at Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano well explained the constitutional crisis in Portland:

The only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

The feds’ activities are unconstitutional because they are using government force to arrest people without probable cause or arrest warrants. We know there is no legal basis for these “arrests,” as they have not charged anyone.

The First Amendment to the Constitution requires the government to protect speech, not assault those who exercise it. If these indiscriminate beatings and kidnappings are intended to deter folks from publicly dissenting, it is profoundly unconstitutional, counterproductive and will be costly to the federal government.

Under the Constitution, the ability to regulate for health and safety belongs to the states and local governments. The feds simply do not have the lawful authority to fill in gaps in local law enforcement, no matter how offended they may be.

This last point is why Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) commented about the situation in Portland, “We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”

Past constitutional crises

There have been other constitutional crises since the adoption of the Constitution in 1789.

The Constitution wasn’t even ten years old when the first constitutional crisis took place. In 1798, in the name of “national security,” the Federalist majority in Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law, four pieces of legislation known collectively known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Naturalization Act, the Alien Friends Act, and the Alien Enemies Act targeted noncitizens (who were perceived to be political opponents of the Federalists) by extending the residency period for aliens seeking citizenship, allowed the president during peacetime to imprison or deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States,” and authorized the president to imprison or deport any male citizen of a hostile nation above the age of 14 during times of war. The most egregious piece of legislation was the Sedition Act. It authorized fines or imprisonment for persons who, in speech or print, criticized “the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States.” (The office of the vice president, which at the time was held by Adams’s nemesis, Thomas Jefferson, was not mentioned.) Critics of the Sedition Act argued that it blatantly violated the freedom of speech and freedom of the press clauses of the First Amendment. Federal courts prosecuted many Jeffersonian newspaper editors for violating the Sedition Act.

The so-called Civil War was itself a constitutional crisis. According to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of The Problem with Lincoln (2020), Abraham Lincoln ruled as a de facto dictator. He essentially “resurrected the Sedition Act,” imprisoned judges, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, authorized government officials to read Americans’ mail, imprisoned “tens of thousands of Northern state citizens” for “criticizing the government,” and “shut down more than three hundred opposition newspapers in the Northern states.”

The Sedition Act was actually resurrected in 1918 while the United States was fighting World War I. The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. war effort. The Sedition Act amended and broadened the Espionage Act. It effectively criminalized speech and expression that criticized the government. Whoever “shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag” could receive a $10,000 fine and twenty years in jail. Under the Sedition Act, Americans were arrested for reading aloud the Declaration of Independence or singing German beer-hall songs. Although World War I ended in 1918, the Sedition Act was not repealed until 1921.

More recently, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It vastly expanded the federal government’s authority to spy on Americans, while at the same time reducing checks and balances on those powers. It is an assault on both the First and Fifth Amendments. Napolitano terms sections 215 and 505 of the PATRIOT Act as “fatal to freedom,” “weapons of mass surveillance,” and “instruments of a totalitarian government that defy the Constitution.”

The real constitutional crisis

There is currently a constitutional crisis in America, and it has existed since long before the Portland protests and the PATRIOT Act. It is a crisis that has been perpetrated by both political parties in the Congress, approved by the president, sanctioned by the Supreme Court, and carried out by the bureaucrats who administer the myriad departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards of the federal government.

The existence of Social Security is a constitutional crisis. Not only is Social Security immoral because it takes money from those who work and gives it to those who don’t, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have a retirement program, a pension plan, a forced savings account, or a disability plan.

The existence of Medicare and Medicaid is a constitutional crisis. Not only should no American be forced to pay for the health care of any other American, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to subsidize any American’s health insurance or health care, pay for anyone’s prescription drugs, have health-care programs, or have anything whatever to do with health insurance, health care, or medicine.

The existence of the war on drugs is a constitutional crisis. Not only is the drug war a failure and a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to regulate, monitor, or restrict Americans’ consumption, medical, or recreational habits; what Americans put in their mouths, noses, veins, or lungs; or Americans’ eating, drinking, or smoking habits.

The existence of federal aid to education is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Head Start program, student loans, Pell Grants, teacher-education or certification requirements, school accreditation, math and science initiatives, a Department of Education, an Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a Higher Education Act, special-education mandates, or national standards, or to have anything to do with the education of anyone’s children. Education should be a service obtained on the free market just like any other service.

The existence of the welfare state is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have food stamps, refundable tax credits, Section 8 housing vouchers, or entitlement programs. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the government to fight poverty, maintain a safety net, provide public assistance, or guarantee income security. All charity should be private and voluntary.

The existence of foreign aid is a constitutional crisis. Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution says that the Congress shall have power “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” It does not say that taxes should be collected to provide for the general welfare of people in other countries. Like domestic charity, foreign charity should be entirely voluntary.

The existence of federal subsidies for art, culture, and the humanities is a constitutional crisis. Government funding for them is basically providing welfare for cultural elitists. It is always immoral for the government to take the resources from some Americans and redistribute them to other Americans. And the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to subsidize them. Although the Constitution does authorize the national government to issue patents and copyrights, it does not follow that that entails giving subsidies to inventors and writers.

The existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a constitutional crisis. The TSA provides security for private entities — the airlines. But not only is the security provided not paid for, not asked for, and just security theater, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to provide security for the airlines or any other private business.

The existence of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC) is a constitutional crisis. Amtrak, as the NRPC is more commonly known, is a government corporation that has relied on government subsidies every year it has been in operation. But since when does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a corporation, be a stockholder in a corporation, appoint and confirm a board of directors, or operate a passenger rail service?

The existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a constitutional crisis. The existence of the EEOC is predicated on the idea that the federal government should prevent and punish acts of discrimination in employment that it considers to be unjustified. But not only is discrimination not aggression, force, coercion, or violence — and therefore, as far as the law is concerned, not the concern of government — the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have an EEOC or oversee any employer’s hiring or firing practices.

The existence of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) is a constitutional crisis. It outlaws the selling of one’s body organs. Aside from the obvious fact that if you own your own body, then you certainly own the organs in your body, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to be concerned in the least with what Americans want to do with the organs in their body.

What is so perplexing and frustrating about the massive constitutional crisis that the United States is in is that it could quickly and easily be fixed. All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated. All federal departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards that carry out functions not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be shuttered. Doing that would reduce the federal government by about 95 percent. And therein lies the problem. Not only do the Congress, the hundreds of government agencies and programs, and the entrenched bureaucracy resist a reduction in the government of any size, most Americans receive some kind of payment, benefit, or subsidy from the federal government.

This article was originally published in the November 2020 edition of Future of Freedom.

The post The Real Constitutional Crisis first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center.

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The Crack-Up is Coming

Some Federal Reserve officials are calling for tougher banking regulations in order to prevent the Fed’s low interest rate policy from leading investors to take “excessive” risks that will create asset bubbles.

The Fed is understandably worried that these bubbles will burst leading to another market meltdown. However, the boom-and-bust cycle will not end because regulators stop investors from taking “excessive” risks. Almost every bubble and economic downturn America has experienced over the past 107 years was caused by the Federal Reserve’s manipulation of the money supply.

The Federal Reserve’s actions artificially lower interest rates, thus distorting the signals sent by the rates, which are the price of money. Artificially low interest rates cause investments to be made in projects that are not supported by the real underlying market conditions. This results in a boom, inevitably followed by a crash, then by a new round of money creation and government bailouts restarting the cycle.

Increased regulations will not just fail to head off the next crash, they will make the next recession worse. Federal regulators are not capable of determining what is “excessive” risk. Instead, that determination is best left to market participants. Regulators are subject to having the same Fed-induced distorted view of the marketplace as nearly everyone else. Thus, regulators may mistake a growing asset bubble as a thriving sector of the economy that will serve as a long-term source of growth. This is especially the case if, as with the housing bubble, government policies such as the Community Reinvestment Act encourage the malinvestments. Also, regulators may impede the growth of businesses that are actually responding to real economic conditions instead of Fed-created illusions.

Support among the people, if not among the financial and political elites, for auditing and even ending the Fed, as well as for cryptocurrencies and precious metals, suggests we may soon reach what Ludwig von Mises referred to as the “crack-up.” The crack-up occurs when enough people realize that continuous expanding of the money supply, and the accompanying decline in a currency’s purchasing power, is a feature of central banking. Therefore, they spend their money as soon as they get it, accelerating the rise of hyperinflation.

Concerns over the effects of the US government’s debt, the precarious American economic condition, and growing resentment of US foreign policy have led to a decline in the dollar’s international value. Eventually, these factors will lead to a rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status.

Rejection of the dollar’s reserve currency status abroad and the crack-up at home will cause an economic meltdown worse than the Great Depression. Among the problems this will lead to is increased violence as some Americans who believe they are entitled to live off the stolen property of others cut out the government middleman and start stealing from their fellow citizens.

The only way to avoid this fate is to spread the ideas of liberty among the people. A strong liberty movement that can pressure politicians to cut spending, audit and end the Fed, legalize competing currencies, and stop promoting divisive identity politics is the key to peacefully transitioning away from the Keynesian welfare-warfare state to a free society.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Treaties: When are they part of “the supreme Law of the Land?”

We hear it said that whenever the Senate ratifies a treaty, it becomes part of “the supreme Law of the Land”.  But is that True?  Not necessarily!  Walk with me, and I will show you how to think through this question, and how to analyze other constitutional questions which come your way.

You must always ask: Is this authorized in the Constitution? Where exactly in the Constitution? And precisely what is authorized by the Constitution?

1.  Does the federal government have authority to make treaties?  Can treaties be about any object? Or, are the proper objects of treaties limited by The Constitution?

Article II, §2, cl. 2, U.S. Constitution, says the President:

“… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur…”

Article VI, cl. 2 says:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” [emphasis added]

Thus, we see that the federal government is authorized to make treaties.  Now, we must find out whether there are limitations on this treaty making power.

2. It is a classic rule of construction (rules for understanding the objective meaning of texts) 1 that one must give effect to every word and phrase.  The clause does not say, “Treaties made by the United States are part of the supreme Law of the Land”. Instead, it says Treaties made under the Authority of the United States, are part of the supreme Law of the Land.

So we see right away that a Treaty is part of the supreme Law of the Land only if it is made “under the Authority of the United States“.

3.  From where do the President and the Senate get Authority to act?  From the Constitution. The objects of their lawful powers are enumerated in the Constitution. Thus, the President and Senate must be authorized in the Constitution to act on an object before any Treaty made by them on that object qualifies as part of “the supreme Law of the Land”.  If the Constitution does not authorize the President and Congress to act on an object, the Treaty is not “Law” – it is a mere usurpation, and deserves to be treated as such. (Federalist Paper No. 33, last para).

Because the Constitution is “fundamental” law (Federalist No. 78, 11th & 12th paras), it is The Standard by which the legitimacy of all Presidential Acts, all Acts of Congress, all Treaties, and all Judicial Decisions is measured (Federalist No. 78, 10th para).

4.  In Federalist No. 44 (7th para from end), James Madison explains why it is necessary that Art. VI, cl. 2, provide that federal treaties have supremacy over State Constitutions.  Otherwise, a treaty which violates a State Constitution would have no effect in that State:

“…as the constitutions of the States differ much from each other, it might happen that a treaty or national law of great and equal importance to the States would interfere with some and not with other constitutions and would consequently be valid in some of the States at the same time that it would have no effect in others.” [emphasis added]

Madison thus illustrates the Principle that a treaty which interferes with the Constitution has no effect.  I found no other discussion in The Federalist Papers on this point.

So, let us turn to Thomas Jefferson, who wrote: 2

“In giving to the President and Senate a power to make treaties, the Constitution meant only to authorize them to carry into effect, by way of treaty, any powers they might constitutionally exercise. “–Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793. ME 1:408 [emphasis added]

“Surely the President and Senate cannot do by treaty what the whole government is interdicted from doing in any way.” –Thomas Jefferson: Parliamentary Manual, 1800. ME 2:442 [emphasis added]

“According to the rule established by usage and common sense, of construing one part of the instrument by another, the objects on which the President and Senate may exclusively act by treaty are much reduced, but the field on which they may act with the sanction of the Legislature is large enough; and I see no harm in rendering their sanction necessary, and not much harm in annihilating the whole treaty-making power, except as to making peace.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1796. ME 9:330 [emphasis added]

5. So!  The treaty making power of the United States is very limited. What, then, are the proper objects of treaties?  To find the answer, we must go to The Constitution to see what it authorizes the President and the Congress to do.  The Constitution delegates to Congress powers “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations … and with the Indian Tribes” (Art I, § 8, cl. 3); and “To declare War…and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water” (Art I, § 8, cl. 11).  The Constitution authorizes the President to “…appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls…” (Art II, §2, cl. 2).

The authors of The Federalist Papers address the treaty making power of the United States.  John Jay says treaties relate to “war, peace, and to commerce” and to the promotion of “trade and navigation” (Federalist No. 64, 3rd & 6th paras).  Madison says treaties also relate to sending and receiving ambassadors & consuls and to commerce (Federalist No. 42, 1st four paras).

There may be additional objects of the treaty making power authorized in The Constitution.  For example, Art I, § 8, cl. 8, authorizes Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries“.  Thus, The United States could properly enter into treaties respecting patents & copyrights. 3

6. Let’s look now at the proposed U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.  If ratified by the Senate, would it become part of “the supreme Law of the Land”?

To answer that Question, we must ask:  Does the Constitution grant to Congress the power to make laws respecting “children”?  Does the Constitution grant to the Executive Branch jurisdiction over “children”?

The answer to both questions is “NO!”  In addition, the 10th Amendment says if a power is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited to the States by Art. I, §10, it is reserved to the States or the people.  Thus, jurisdiction over “children” is reserved to the States or the people!  Accordingly, if the Senate were to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the treaty would NOT become part of “the supreme Law of the Land”, because it would not have been made under the Authority of the United States.  It would be a mere usurpation and would deserve to be treated as such.

If the Senate were to ratify the cap-and-trade “climate” treaty, which, among other things, would force energy companies to buy allowances or permits for their “carbon emissions”, would it become part of “the supreme law of the Land”?  You are now equipped to find the answer, and you can confidently defend it!

Do not forget: The federal government may not lawfully circumvent the U.S. Constitution by international treaties.  It may NOT do by Treaty what it is not permitted to do by the U.S. Constitution.

7.  Finally, Thomas Jefferson points to a legislative remedy if the President and the Senate ignore the constitutional limits on the treaty making power of the United States. Thomas Jefferson says:

“…We conceive the constitutional doctrine to be, that tho’ the P. & Senate have the general power of making treaties yet whenever they include in a treaty matters confided by the constitution to the three [sic] branches of legislature, an act of legislation will be requisite to confirm these articles, and that the H. of Repr. as one branch of the legislature, are perfectly free to pass the act or to refuse it, governing themselves by their own judgment whether it is for the good of their constituents to let the treaty go into effect or not.” –Thomas Jefferson’s letter of March 21, 1796 to James Monroe [emphasis added] 4

“…I was glad … to hear it admitted on all hands, that laws of the U S, subsequent to a treaty, controul it’s operation, and that the legislature is the only power which can controul a treaty. Both points are sound beyond doubt.,,,” Thomas Jefferson’s letter of May 31, 1798 to James Madison. 5

What a man! And our system of checks & balances is an elegant one, indeed!

8.  Folks!  For too long, we have blindly accepted whatever we hear others say.  Someone on TV or the Internet says, “If the Senate ratifies this treaty, it will become part of the supreme Law of the Land!”  And not only do we believe it, we repeat it to others.  And thus, we became part of the misinformation dissemination network.  In order to restore our Constitutional Republic with its federal form of government, we must rediscover how to think and analyze. And then, we must boldly say, “They don’t have authority under The Constitution to do that!”

Endnotes:

1 Educators no longer teach “rules of construction”, because it has become the dogma of our time that texts have no “objective meaning” to be discovered.  Instead, each person is to come up with his own “understanding” – and one person’s “understanding” is as good as another’s.  Someone recalled the following incident which occurred in his high school English class during 1960:  The class read a short story, and then the teacher asked each student to say what the story meant to him.  Whatever a student said was praised by the teacher.  But when it was my friend’s turn, he said:  “It doesn’t matter what it means to me – what matters is what the author meant.”  The teacher was not pleased with this ‘out of place’ comment.  Is it any wonder many judges feel free to “understand” the Constitution any way they please?  They were conditioned in school to “think” this way; and they did not resist the conditioning.

2 I copied these quotes from another site – but as you see, they don’t link to original source documents. As I find time [ha!], I’ll look for the original source documents.

3 It has been said that Charles Dickens’ works were pirated, printed and sold in these United States without paying any royalties to Dickens!  A copyright treaty with Great Britain would have discouraged this theft of Dickens’ intellectual property.

4 Jefferson’s letter to James Monroe is HERE, at pages 229-230.

5 Jefferson’s letter to James Madison is HERE, at pages 427-429 [same book as above]

Originally published September 18, 2009; revised July 11, 2012; October 8, 2019.

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Treaties: When are they part of “the supreme Law of the Land?”

We hear it said that whenever the Senate ratifies a treaty, it becomes part of “the supreme Law of the Land”.  But is that True?  Not necessarily!  Walk with me, and I will show you how to think through this question, and how to analyze other constitutional questions which come your way.

You must always ask: Is this authorized in the Constitution? Where exactly in the Constitution? And precisely what is authorized by the Constitution?

1.  Does the federal government have authority to make treaties?  Can treaties be about any object? Or, are the proper objects of treaties limited by The Constitution?

Article II, §2, cl. 2, U.S. Constitution, says the President:

“… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur…”

Article VI, cl. 2 says:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” [emphasis added]

Thus, we see that the federal government is authorized to make treaties.  Now, we must find out whether there are limitations on this treaty making power.

2. It is a classic rule of construction (rules for understanding the objective meaning of texts) 1 that one must give effect to every word and phrase.  The clause does not say, “Treaties made by the United States are part of the supreme Law of the Land”. Instead, it says Treaties made under the Authority of the United States, are part of the supreme Law of the Land.

So we see right away that a Treaty is part of the supreme Law of the Land only if it is made “under the Authority of the United States“.

3.  From where do the President and the Senate get Authority to act?  From the Constitution. The objects of their lawful powers are enumerated in the Constitution. Thus, the President and Senate must be authorized in the Constitution to act on an object before any Treaty made by them on that object qualifies as part of “the supreme Law of the Land”.  If the Constitution does not authorize the President and Congress to act on an object, the Treaty is not “Law” – it is a mere usurpation, and deserves to be treated as such. (Federalist Paper No. 33, last para).

Because the Constitution is “fundamental” law (Federalist No. 78, 11th & 12th paras), it is The Standard by which the legitimacy of all Presidential Acts, all Acts of Congress, all Treaties, and all Judicial Decisions is measured (Federalist No. 78, 10th para).

4.  In Federalist No. 44 (7th para from end), James Madison explains why it is necessary that Art. VI, cl. 2, provide that federal treaties have supremacy over State Constitutions.  Otherwise, a treaty which violates a State Constitution would have no effect in that State:

“…as the constitutions of the States differ much from each other, it might happen that a treaty or national law of great and equal importance to the States would interfere with some and not with other constitutions and would consequently be valid in some of the States at the same time that it would have no effect in others.” [emphasis added]

Madison thus illustrates the Principle that a treaty which interferes with the Constitution has no effect.  I found no other discussion in The Federalist Papers on this point.

So, let us turn to Thomas Jefferson, who wrote: 2

“In giving to the President and Senate a power to make treaties, the Constitution meant only to authorize them to carry into effect, by way of treaty, any powers they might constitutionally exercise. “–Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793. ME 1:408 [emphasis added]

“Surely the President and Senate cannot do by treaty what the whole government is interdicted from doing in any way.” –Thomas Jefferson: Parliamentary Manual, 1800. ME 2:442 [emphasis added]

“According to the rule established by usage and common sense, of construing one part of the instrument by another, the objects on which the President and Senate may exclusively act by treaty are much reduced, but the field on which they may act with the sanction of the Legislature is large enough; and I see no harm in rendering their sanction necessary, and not much harm in annihilating the whole treaty-making power, except as to making peace.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1796. ME 9:330 [emphasis added]

5. So!  The treaty making power of the United States is very limited. What, then, are the proper objects of treaties?  To find the answer, we must go to The Constitution to see what it authorizes the President and the Congress to do.  The Constitution delegates to Congress powers “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations … and with the Indian Tribes” (Art I, § 8, cl. 3); and “To declare War…and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water” (Art I, § 8, cl. 11).  The Constitution authorizes the President to “…appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls…” (Art II, §2, cl. 2).

The authors of The Federalist Papers address the treaty making power of the United States.  John Jay says treaties relate to “war, peace, and to commerce” and to the promotion of “trade and navigation” (Federalist No. 64, 3rd & 6th paras).  Madison says treaties also relate to sending and receiving ambassadors & consuls and to commerce (Federalist No. 42, 1st four paras).

There may be additional objects of the treaty making power authorized in The Constitution.  For example, Art I, § 8, cl. 8, authorizes Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries“.  Thus, The United States could properly enter into treaties respecting patents & copyrights. 3

6. Let’s look now at the proposed U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.  If ratified by the Senate, would it become part of “the supreme Law of the Land”?

To answer that Question, we must ask:  Does the Constitution grant to Congress the power to make laws respecting “children”?  Does the Constitution grant to the Executive Branch jurisdiction over “children”?

The answer to both questions is “NO!”  In addition, the 10th Amendment says if a power is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited to the States by Art. I, §10, it is reserved to the States or the people.  Thus, jurisdiction over “children” is reserved to the States or the people!  Accordingly, if the Senate were to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the treaty would NOT become part of “the supreme Law of the Land”, because it would not have been made under the Authority of the United States.  It would be a mere usurpation and would deserve to be treated as such.

If the Senate were to ratify the cap-and-trade “climate” treaty, which, among other things, would force energy companies to buy allowances or permits for their “carbon emissions”, would it become part of “the supreme law of the Land”?  You are now equipped to find the answer, and you can confidently defend it!

Do not forget: The federal government may not lawfully circumvent the U.S. Constitution by international treaties.  It may NOT do by Treaty what it is not permitted to do by the U.S. Constitution.

7.  Finally, Thomas Jefferson points to a legislative remedy if the President and the Senate ignore the constitutional limits on the treaty making power of the United States. Thomas Jefferson says:

“…We conceive the constitutional doctrine to be, that tho’ the P. & Senate have the general power of making treaties yet whenever they include in a treaty matters confided by the constitution to the three [sic] branches of legislature, an act of legislation will be requisite to confirm these articles, and that the H. of Repr. as one branch of the legislature, are perfectly free to pass the act or to refuse it, governing themselves by their own judgment whether it is for the good of their constituents to let the treaty go into effect or not.” –Thomas Jefferson’s letter of March 21, 1796 to James Monroe [emphasis added] 4

“…I was glad … to hear it admitted on all hands, that laws of the U S, subsequent to a treaty, controul it’s operation, and that the legislature is the only power which can controul a treaty. Both points are sound beyond doubt.,,,” Thomas Jefferson’s letter of May 31, 1798 to James Madison. 5

What a man! And our system of checks & balances is an elegant one, indeed!

8.  Folks!  For too long, we have blindly accepted whatever we hear others say.  Someone on TV or the Internet says, “If the Senate ratifies this treaty, it will become part of the supreme Law of the Land!”  And not only do we believe it, we repeat it to others.  And thus, we became part of the misinformation dissemination network.  In order to restore our Constitutional Republic with its federal form of government, we must rediscover how to think and analyze. And then, we must boldly say, “They don’t have authority under The Constitution to do that!”

Endnotes:

1 Educators no longer teach “rules of construction”, because it has become the dogma of our time that texts have no “objective meaning” to be discovered.  Instead, each person is to come up with his own “understanding” – and one person’s “understanding” is as good as another’s.  Someone recalled the following incident which occurred in his high school English class during 1960:  The class read a short story, and then the teacher asked each student to say what the story meant to him.  Whatever a student said was praised by the teacher.  But when it was my friend’s turn, he said:  “It doesn’t matter what it means to me – what matters is what the author meant.”  The teacher was not pleased with this ‘out of place’ comment.  Is it any wonder many judges feel free to “understand” the Constitution any way they please?  They were conditioned in school to “think” this way; and they did not resist the conditioning.

2 I copied these quotes from another site – but as you see, they don’t link to original source documents. As I find time [ha!], I’ll look for the original source documents.

3 It has been said that Charles Dickens’ works were pirated, printed and sold in these United States without paying any royalties to Dickens!  A copyright treaty with Great Britain would have discouraged this theft of Dickens’ intellectual property.

4 Jefferson’s letter to James Monroe is HERE, at pages 229-230.

5 Jefferson’s letter to James Madison is HERE, at pages 427-429 [same book as above]

Originally published September 18, 2009; revised July 11, 2012; October 8, 2019.

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‘Iraq War Diaries’ At Ten Years: Truth is Treason

The purpose of journalism is to uncover truth – especially uncomfortable truth – and to publish it for the benefit of society. In a free society, we must be informed of the criminal acts carried out by governments in the name of the people. Throughout history, journalists have uncovered the many ways governments lie, cheat, and steal – and the great lengths they will go to keep the people from finding out.

Great journalists like Seymour Hersh, who reported to us the tragedy of the Mai Lai Massacre and the horrors that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, are essential.

Ten years ago last week, Julian Assange’s Wikileaks organization published an exposé of US government wrongdoing on par with the above Hersh bombshell stories. Publication of the “Iraq War Diaries” showed us all the brutality of the US attack on Iraq. It told us the truth about the US invasion and occupation of that country. This was no war of defense against a nation threatening us with weapons of mass destruction. This was no liberation of the country. We were not “bringing democracy” to Iraq.

No, the release of nearly 400,000 classified US Army field reports showed us in dirty detail that the US attack was a war of aggression, based on lies, where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and injured.

We learned that the US military classified anyone they killed in Iraq as “enemy combatants.” We learned that more than 700 Iraqi civilians were killed for “driving too close” to one of the hundreds of US military checkpoints – including pregnant mothers-to-be rushing to the hospital.

We learned that US military personnel routinely handed “detainees” over to Iraqi security forces where they would be tortured and often killed.

Ten years after Assange’s brave act of journalism changed the world and exposed one of the crimes of the century, he sits alone in solitary confinement in a UK prison. He sits literally fighting for his life, as if he is successfully extradited to the United States he faces 175 years in a “supermax” prison for committing “espionage” against a country of which he is not a citizen.

On the Iraq war we have punished the truth-tellers and rewarded the criminals. People who knowingly lied us into the war like Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, the Beltway neocon “experts,” and most of the media, faced neither punishment nor professional shaming for their acts. In fact, they got off scot free and many even prospered.

Julian Assange explained that he published the Iraq War Diaries because he “hoped to correct some of the attack on truth that occurred before the war, and that continued on since that war officially ended.” We used to praise brave journalists not afraid to take on the “bad guys.” Now we torture and imprison them.

President Trump has made a point of singling out the US attack on Iraq as one of the “stupid wars” that he was committed to ending. But we wouldn’t know half of just how stupid – and evil – it was were it not for the brave actions of Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Journalism should not be a crime and President Trump should pardon Assange immediately.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Constitution Featured federal power Intelwars quarantine tenth amendment

Law Professor Gets F In Constitutional Calculus

If you’re going to make a constitutional argument for some federal action, it will prove more compelling if you actually make a constitutional argument.

That means pointing to the constitutional provision that authorizes an exercise of federal power. Not making assertions. Not explaining why the federal government needs to take the action. Not telling us when the government did thus-and-so in the past. Those aren’t constitutional arguments. If you can’t point to a clear delegation of power that authorizes the action, you don’t have a constitutional argument.

Kimberly Wehle wrote an article for Politico arguing that we need a national quarantine. The headline declares, “Yes, a National Quarantine Is Constitutional … and Necessary.”

But despite asserting the constitutionality of a national quarantine, Wehle fails to make a constitutional argument. She never points to the section of the Constitution that delegates such quarantine power to the federal government. She just asserts that it exists, swirling somewhere in the mystical cloud of “executive powers.”

“The Trump administration has resisted such drastic measures, shunting responsibility onto the states, but the power is nevertheless within the executive branch, and it can be imposed without violating the Constitution.”

Wehle’s credentials include “law professor” and “former assistant United States Attorney.” I expect bad constitutional reasoning from lawyers. But Wehle’s argument is bad even by lawyer standards. She takes a tact that borders on juvenile, arguing “one reason the federal government can constitutionally infringe on all kinds of individual rights is that sometimes protecting the greater public good requires it.”

No mention of delegated powers, the limited role of the general government, or the division of authority between the legislative and executive branches. Her “constitutional” argument amounts to “the federal government needs to do it, so it can.”

The actual constitutional calculus is quite simple. Does the Constitution specifically delegate any power to the federal government to institute a national quarantine?

No. (The general welfare clause does not give the federal government a blank check to act and is limited by the delegated powers that follow. I cover that in-depth HERE.)

Is “quarantine power” necessary and proper for the furtherance of a specifically delegated power?

No.

That means the power to quarantine remains with the state governments.

It’s important to note that even if the federal government had some quarantine power, it would be vested in Congress. Under the constitutional system, the legislative branch passes laws. The president merely executes them. He has no authority to will a policy into existence with the stroke of a pen. In an essay known as “Helvidius” Number 1, James Madison clearly states the president’s power extends only to putting existing law into effect.

“The natural province of the executive magistrate is to execute laws, as that of the legislature is to make laws. All his acts therefore, properly executive, must pre-suppose the existence of the laws to be executed.”

Since Congress doesn’t have the constitutional authority to pass a national quarantine law, the president certainly doesn’t have the power to declare one by edict. The notion that the president has some undefined “executive authority” to do such things destroys the integrity of the constitutional system and was never intended. The Constitution would never have been ratified if the president had been given such kingly authority.

But Wehle doesn’t seem to rest her argument solely on executive authority. She claims that the president has “extraordinary powers” under federal law to implement a national pandemic response program and cites several acts that purport to authorize this authority. But the question remains: where does the Constitution delegate this power to Congress?

Short answer – it doesn’t.

So, the power to quarantine remains with the state governments. This is clear under the Tenth Amendment. Interestingly, the bulk of Wehle’s argument reinforces this point. All of the Supreme Court cases she cites in support of a national quarantine revolve around state quarantines.

Wehle starts with  Jacobson v. Massachusetts where the SCOTUS held that a state can constitutionally “require and enforce the vaccination and revaccination of all the inhabitants thereof.”

Wehle correctly asserts, “This category of state power is known as the police power, and it means that states can enact quarantine laws and health laws of every description . . . to protect the public health and the public safety.’” She fails to mention that the Constitution does not delegate police powers to the federal government.

Next, Wehle notes that “In 2014, a number of states implemented quarantines for health care workers and others who had gone to West Africa during the Ebola epidemic, and two federal courts rejected constitutional challenges to the Ebola-inspired mandates.”

She still fails to mention that the Constitution does not delegate police powers to the federal government.

Wehle also cites Morgan’s Steamship Co. v. Louisiana Board of Health, an 1886 case in which the Supreme Court upheld Louisiana quarantine laws. This is the closest she comes to making an argument asserting a federal quarantine power. The court held that “all state laws on the subject will be abrogated [by federal law] at least so far as the two are inconsistent.” The court was referring to quarantines authorized under the commerce clause, not quarantines to deal with a nationwide pandemic, government actions that would fall under police powers.

Have I mentioned that the Constitution doesn’t delegate police powers to the federal government?

While Wehle fails to make a legitimate constitutional argument for a federal quarantine, she does makes a fair pragmatic case for “a coordinated federal response.”

“It is beyond reasonable debate that the current hodge-podge of state and local rules do not go far enough to protect overall public health,” she wrote.

We can have that debate, I suppose, but that doesn’t change the constitutional calculus.

Tench Coxe was an influential supporter of the Constitution during the ratification process. He wrote three essays published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in early 1788 under the pen-name “A Freeman.” In these essays, Coxe offered some of the most forceful arguments asserting the limited nature of the federal government under the proposed Constitution, and he insisted that many of the things necessary to maintain society would nevertheless be off-limits to the federal government.

“It will be found, on a careful examination, that many things, which are indispensibly necessary to the existence and good order of society, cannot be performed by the fœderal government, but will require the agency and powers of the state legislatures or sovereignties, with their various appurtenances and appendages.”

So, just because you can make a compelling argument that federal action would benefit society, or is even necessary, doesn’t mean you’ve made a constitutional argument. You still have to do the constitutional calculus.

Wehle never does. Like any good lawyer, she leaves us with plenty of assertion, supposition and conjecture but she gets an F in constitutional calculus.

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Biden goes on profanity laced rant, claims he supports the second amendment and angrily denies wanting to take guns

Former Vice President Joe Biden got into a heated and profanity-laced argument with an autoworker Tuesday while touring a factory in Detroit, after the individual accused the Democratic presidential candidate of trying to take away his Second Amendment rights.

“You’re full of sh– … I support the Second Amendment,” Biden shot back, stressing he’s not going to take guns away.

The worker then told Biden, “You’re working for me, man,” and told Biden that he saw an online video supporting his claim that Biden is hostile to the Second Amendment.

Biden, pointing at the individual as they were mere inches apart in the middle of a crowd, said he’s not working for him and told him not to be “such a horse’s a–.”

Biden, at one point mistakenly referring to “AR-14’s,” went on to press the individual to acknowledge that machine guns are illegal. Biden appeared to then misspeak in saying AR-15’s are illegal, before questioning why anyone needs “100 rounds.”

The dispute, caught on camera, happened at the Fiat-Chrysler plant as Biden stumped for votes in Michigan, the biggest prize among the states voting Tuesday with 125 delegates at stake.

Biden earlier told the workers, “You made me a hero when I was getting a lot of heat for the bailout, the rescue … You guys saved management. Management didn’t save you.” He also called the autoworkers, “The best damn workers in the world.”

Biden was previously criticized for apparently offering former presidential contender Beto O’Rourke a gun control role in his administration in a pre-Super Tuesday rally. O’Rourke said last year on the campaign trail, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

“I want to make something clear – I’m gonna guarantee you, this is not the last you’re seeing of this guy – you’re gonna take care of the gun problem with me, you’re gonna be the one who leads this effort,” Biden said of O’Rourke. “I’m counting on you, I’m counting on you, we need you badly.”

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Antifa terrorist with history of violence gets no time after attacking rabbi.

Jamal Oscar Williams at ANTIFA rally in Portland, OR

Jamal Oscar Williams, a well-known ANTIFA terrorist based out of the Pacific Northwest, did not receive jail time after “maliciously and intentionally” harassing, threatening, attacking and issuing death threats to a Jewish rabbi and a congregant.

Williams, a 44-year-old proud ANTIFA terrorist, was sentenced to participate in the King County Community Center for Alternative Programs (CCAP) by King County Judge Karen Donohue, who was appointed to the bench by far-left Washington Governor Jay Inslee, in lieu of jail time.

Their website explains CCAP as follows: “CCAP, formerly Day Reporting, holds offenders accountable to a weekly itinerary directed at involving the offender in a continuum of structured programs. The goal of CCAP is to assist offenders in changing those behaviors that have contributed to their being charged with a crime. CCAP provides on-site services as well as referrals to community-based services. Random drug tests are conducted to monitor for illegal drug use and consumption of alcohol. Offenders participating in CCAP receive an individual needs assessment and are scheduled for a variety of programs.”

The court order also states that Williams is a welfare recipient. He receives subsidized housing through Plymouth Housing and will be put again in the Fare Start program to receive free food. These are programs he has been in for years and have done nothing to rehabilitate him.

Journalist Andy Ngo, whose head was battered by the concrete milkshakes of ANTIFA in the Portland, Ore. streets, of The Post Millennial broke the story of how this far-left terrorist menaced Jewish people in sustained acts of anti-Semitic hate.

“Rabbi Shmuel Levitin and Ephraim Block were operating a permitted religious booth for the Sukkot Jewish holiday in downtown Seattle on October 11 when Williams allegedly approached them and shouted: ‘Jews, Jews, Jews … give me your money!’ He then said he had a gun and was going to kill them. Both Levitin and Block have beards and payots, or sideburns, and were wearing yarmulkes. Levitin is a rabbi at the Chabad of Downtown Seattle,” Ngo wrote.

In Aug. 2018, Williams was arrested while counter-protesting against a “Patriot Prayer” and Washington 3 Percenters rally. He also threatened Ngo with death threats later in the year and was caught on video doing so.

“In addition to Williams’s radical political activism with ANTIFA, he has a long history of criminal and harassing behavior. In Washington State, he was convicted in 2015 for felony harassment and domestic violence. He has multiple other convictions for assault and domestic violence. He also has a long violent criminal record in Alaska, where he used to live,” Ngo wrote.

This serial criminal will be on the streets of the Pacific Northwest because the justice system, at least in liberal-dominated areas, is coddling and protecting ANTIFA and their legion of terrorist street thugs. Only after they are declared a terrorist group at the federal level can they be wiped out across the nation.

“Three days later, Williams returned and made similar threats and demands for money. On October 15, Williams followed the men into the lobby of their apartment building. After making more demands for money, he allegedly hurled candy from the concierge’s desk at the men. Police later found and arrested Williams in a nearby area,” he added.

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Sanders campaign hires controversial senior advisor

Over the weekend, the Sanders campaign announced the hiring of Phillip Agnew, a former national surrogate for Sanders, as a senior adviser to the campaign.

“I am excited to welcome Phillip to our team,” Sanders said in a statement, calling him a “gifted organizer and one of his generation’s most critical voices on issues of race and inequity.”

“He has and will continue to push me and this movement to deliver on what is owed to Black people who have yet to experience reciprocity in this country,” Sanders added.

Agnew confirmed his new role on social media, writing:

i’ve joined the campaign as a senior advisor; accepting the challenges & contradictions

to my friends & comrades: thank you for the love & accountability.

this is a people’s position on a people’s campaign.

We will leave no one behind. That is our promise.

However, Agnew remains a controversial figure, given some of the positions he has publicly taken.

Agnew has, for instance, peddled September 11 conspiracy theories. He once publicly suggested that the United States “killed her own citizens” on September 11, 2001 — the day 2,977 victims lost their lives on American soil.

“Tomorrow America remembers the day that she turned on herself, dismantled her constitution, and killed her own citizens in the name of money,” he wrote ahead of the ninth anniversary of the tragic day:

Agnew also commemorated September 11, 2016, by posting on Instagram a political cartoon by Carlos Latuff showing two boomerangs lodged in the twin towers with the words “U.S. Interventionist Policy.” Latuff placed second in Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Competition in 2006. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), both staunch Sanders supporters, have purportedly shared his work as well.

His controversial history extends beyond remarks on 9/11. In 2015, he authored a piece in Ebony, criticizing former President Barack Obama’s remarks on the existence of a Jewish State.

“There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” Agnew quotes Obama as saying. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”

Agnew, however, was not happy with Obama’s assessment, calling Zionism a “racist, exploitative, and exclusionary ideology.”

“In January, I joined a delegation of organizers from the United States in a pilgrimage to Palestine. What I saw there was cold, calculating racism and ethnic privilege masquerading as a Jewish State,” he wrote.

He continued:

There is no direct line from Zionism to the Black Freedom struggle. No rhetorical imagination-acrobatics can conjure one and no amount of intimidation can chart one. It is a racist, exploitative, and exclusionary ideology; its eagerness to attack and silence detractors is only matched by its eagerness to co-opt the struggles of Blacks in this country (by a Black in this country) for its own survival.

Palestinians are far too familiar with lines.  Dotted lines drawn arbitrarily through ancient homelands.  Concrete lines erected through villages, between blood relatives.  Lines of Palestinians waiting at checkpoints.  Cemeteries lined with the bodies of sisters, and brothers, fathers, and mothers.  The political line: “Love for Israel; Hate for Palestinians.”

The Sanders campaign’s press release also touts Agnew’s role in cofounding the activist group Dream Defenders, which put out a manifesto called the “Freedom Papers,” detailing the organization’s radical beliefs and demands. Those include open borders, the elimination of police and prisons, and the end of capitalism.

“Freedom Papers” states that, “by virtue of being born,” people have the “absolute right to adequate food, shelter, clothing, water, health care, effective public transportation, dignified work, living wages, and the right to form unions to protect themselves in the workplace”.

The Sanders campaign has yet to signal any concerns with the senior adviser’s radical positions and views.

“Black people – all Black people – are a central part of our movement. Our platform is about righting what is wrong in this country,” Agnew said in the campaign’s press release.

“Our campaign is inclusive of Black people across age, class, and gender lines. We’ve come a long way and more work to do. I’m excited to continue to grow and amplify the work of our Black organizing department,” he added.

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‘The squad’ opposed to law barring sexual predators and terrorists from being hired at TSA

From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass

It’s still not entirely clear why 174 House Democrats voted against an amendment to the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act, that would ensure people who’ve been convicted of sex crimes, terrorism, and other violent offenses can’t be hired by the Transportation Safety Administration.

The opposition was led by the “squad” of four radical Democratic freshman lawmakers, to include Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., according to Townhall.com.

For what it’s worth, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did not vote on the amendment, which passed with the support of 42 Democrats, who voted along with Republicans, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., said before the vote was held: “We have two options today: Adopt the Underwood amendment and keep sexual predators off of the federal payroll, or reject it and reward sexual predators with a paycheck from the taxpayer.”

De facto leader Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of her “squad” have been preoccupied with trying to get fellow socialist Bernie Sanders elected as the Democratic nominee to go up against President Trump. AOC has not tweeted about Thursday’s vote.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R., Calif., has his own ideas about why the Democrats opposed the efforts to safeguard the public from sexual predators, saying the “socialist wing of the Democratic Party controls the floor.”

“A Democratic member, Congresswoman [Lauren] Underwood, had the amendment and wanted to offer it,” McCarthy said. “It was pulled back by leadership because the socialist wing of the party did not want to have that amendment go forward on this bill.”

“When it was offered, overwhelmingly the majority of the House would like to see the TSA not hire terrorists or those who have been convicted of sexual misconduct with minors and others,” he added. “But the socialist wing of the party, that controls now the Democratic Party, said that that could not be offered.”

The Free Beacon noted that Speaker Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D- Md., did not respond to a request for comment.

Nor did Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib, and Pressley.

A top Republican aide cited the progressive group that got Ocasio-Cortez elected, Justice Democrats, to charge that Democratic leadership is being controlled by the group.

Still one must wonder why progressive Democrats want sexual predators employed at the TSA. Or is it terrorists they’re more interested in running cover for?

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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona to self-quarantine after potential exposure to COVID-19 at CPAC

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (R)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said Sunday they are putting themselves into self-quarantines after revealing they interacted with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus during a recent conservative event.

Cruz released a statement Sunday evening on Twitter saying that he is not experiencing any symptoms. He says in the statement that medical authorities have told him the chance of getting the virus is low because his interaction with the infected person was very brief.

“Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, and because of how frequently I interact with my constituents as part of my job and to give everyone peace of mind, I have decided to remain at my home in Texas this week, until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction,” Cruz says in the statement.

USA Today reports that Gosar says he shook hands several times with the infected individual and that he was with him an extended period of time. Gosar and three members of his staff are self-quarantining, USA Today reports.

Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona (R) is self-quarantining along with three of his senior staff.

The Conservative Political Action Conference was held from Feb. 26 to 29 in National Harbor, Maryland. President Trump gave a speech at the event. According to nj.com, the infected person is a 55-year-old male from Englewood, N.J.

CPAC officials say the man had no interaction with Trump, nj.com reports.

The exposure of Cruz and Gosar is making other members of Congress anxious, NBC News reports. Many members of Congress are over the age of 60 and the virus is more dangerous to older people, medical authorities say.

Two Democratic legislators tell NBC that Congress is considering recessing for two weeks because of the spreading virus. So far there have been no changes on the congressional schedule.

“Members are very nervous,” a senior Democratic leadership aide tells NBC News. “There’s a lot of concern that members could bring it home.”

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As Supreme Court ponders Louisiana abortion case, Sanders promises to ban state regulation of abortion

2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders released a reproductive health care plan Saturday that promises to ban state regulations of abortion as the Supreme Court hears a case pertaining to the same issue.

The Vermont senator’s plan promises to not only codify Roe v. Wade and to undo “all the damage” that President Donald Trump has done through pro-life legislation, but also to ban Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws.

There has been no time in the history of this country when women, especially Black women, have had the reproductive freedom and justice that they deserve,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “In my administration, that will finally change.”

Sanders would “ban state Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws that put undue and unnecessary burdens and regulations on doctors who provide abortion services, with the goal of restricting access.”

He also promised that he will “require preclearance for state abortion laws” to make sure that states cannot “impose undue restrictions” on abortion providers.

Sanders’s plan draws on an abortion case that is before the Supreme Court: June Medical Services v. Russo, in which an abortion provider is challenging a 2014 Louisiana state law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. These admitting privileges would allow a woman to go directly to the hospital if she were to need urgent care.

Opponents say the law would hinder and potentially eliminate abortion access in Louisiana. Louisiana lawmakers and pro-life activists maintain that the law protects women from unsanitary or unsafe abortion clinic practices.

Sanders also criticized 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden on Saturday for the former vice president’s record on abortion, pointing out that Biden once said, “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far.”

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Judge: Man who licked ice cream at store and returned it to the display is going to jail

D’Adrien L’Quinn Anderson

PORT ARTHUR, TX – They say when you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. That’s the case after a judge sentenced the infamous Blue Bell ice cream licker to jail and probation on March 4th.

video posted to Facebook in August of last year showcased D’Adrien L’Quinn Anderson taking out a tub of Blue Bell ice cream from a Wal-Mart display and licking the ice cream before returning it to the display.

In what was likely an attempt to gain that internet-viral fame, instead turned into online backlash. As well as criminal charges.

If Anderson was hoping to get his face recognized everywhere, he certainly accomplished that. Except now, that recognition comes compliments of a mugshot.

Many believe that Anderson was trying to copy the trend that was taking place online at the time, dubbed the #icecreamchallenge.

In nearly every incident recorded, it was Blue Bell ice cream being licked and placed back into displays.

In one of the first known instances of the challenge cropping up online, also in Texas, police identified and arrested a woman for the same act. However, since she was a juvenile, police neither revealed the status of her case nor her identity.

One of the many unamused by the antics of Anderson was Judge Terrance Holmes.

Anderson could have been looking at six months in jail, but Judge Holmes afforded Anderson to take on two years’ probation in lieu of half a year in jail.

During his probation, Anderson will have to complete one hundred hours of community service, pay a $1,000 fine, and also pay $1,565 in restitution to Blue Bell Creameries.

On top of all that, Anderson will still have to serve thirty days in jail. After the judge handed down the sentence, Anderson was immediately escorted from the court room over to the county jail.

When the video first came out and the criticisms were coming from all direction against Anderson, he claimed that he actually purchased the ice cream that he licked.

The Wal-Mart where the incident took place also corroborated the story of his purchase, but it was still too late as the damage had already been done. At that point, police were still intent on pursuing criminal mischief charges, which is exactly what they did.

One of the biggest motivating factors in the case being pursued, whether or not Anderson actually bought the ice cream, was that it caused public health concerns. Posing the question of how many more containers of ice cream were potentially contaminated.

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Congress should ‘see the light,’ make daylight saving time permanent

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On Sunday, 97 percent of Americans will be forced to change their clocks once again, “springing forward” an hour into daylight saving time (DST). The process of having to reset our clocks is an irritatingly outdated practice that we should ditch. We should instead embrace DST as a critically important way to realign daylight time to Americans’ most productive hours, while also improving public health and the American economy.

According to Senators Marco Rubio and Cindy Hyde-Smith say they have a solution. The “Sunshine Protection Act” would shift the United States to permanent DST year-round, eliminating the need to worry about changing clocks in November and March. The bill, which has 12 bipartisan cosponsors, awaits action before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has authority over the Uniform Time Act.

Standardizing DST wouldn’t entail some massive change, nor would it overturn some profound legacy in American history. Originally conceived in 1916 as a wartime effort to conserve fuel in Germany, daylight saving time actually has a varied history in our nation. It only lasted half the year for most of its implementation until 2005, when it was extended to the current eight months. Yes, we endure the hassle of changing our clocks to spend 16 weeks – 33 percent of the year – on Standard Time.

Research sheds light on the significant health benefits of extending DST for the entire year. By recalibrating the portion of the day spent in sunlight to standard work hours, studies suggest that we would see advantages to Americans’ public health, including reduced risks of seasonal depression, cardiac problems and strokes. Children exercise more during DST, and adults spend substantially more time engaged in pedestrian, cycling and other recreational activities.

Similarly, year-round DST would boost public safety. A Brookings study suggests it would bring a 27 percent reduction in robberies committed during the evening hour of gained sunlight, with the overall daily rate dropping by 7 percent. Another group of researchers found permanent DST could also result in fewer car accidents, reducing the rate of vehicle collisions with wildlife as traffic patterns shift an hour away from nocturnal animal behavior.

Extending DST to last the entire year would also spur the economy. A JP Morgan Chase study found that Americans experience decreased economic activity while not on DST, a drop that could be avoided by making daylight saving permanent. It would also benefit our nation’s agricultural sector, which ends up disproportionately affected twice a year through disruptions between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners. Several studies also suggest that it would lead to greater energy savings.

Their bill isn’t radical. Despite the significant economic and health benefits, the Sunshine Protection Act doesn’t alter time zones, change the total number of hours of sunlight per day, or mandate that states and territories that do not observe DST suddenly be forced to join. Instead, it represents a commonsense solution – one supported by states as varied as Maine, Florida, California, Tennessee, South Carolina, Delaware, Oregon and Washington, and under consideration by dozens more, including Mississippi.

Inconveniencing hundreds of millions of Americans to continue changing clocks for 16 dark weeks is antiquated and outdated. With such clear advantages to year-round DST, Congress has no excuse to remain in the dark on the issue. #LocktheClock.

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New York AG warns televangelist Jim Bakker to stop selling fake coronavirus cure

The New York attorney general’s office has ordered disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker to stop misleading consumers about a fake cure for coronavirus.

Lisa Landau, chief of the AG’s Health Care Bureau, sent a cease and desist letter to Bakker on Thursday threatening legal action if he fails to stop touting his “Silver Solution” as an effective treatment for the deadly virus. Landau wrote that she was “extremely concerned” about his latest promotion because there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.

“Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combatting and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law,” the letter warned.

Last month, Bakker interviewed Sherri Sellman, an integrative naturopathic doctor, on his program and asked her if his Silver Solution product would be effective in treating the “influenza that is now circling the globe.”

“Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours,” Sellman said. “Totally eliminate it, kills it, deactivates it and then it boosts your immune system.”

Bakker was a leading televangelist until 1987 when he resigned his ministry amid a sex scandal. He later served more than four years in prison on federal charges that he defrauded his followers.

A statement from Bakker’s program to the media claimed Silver Solution wasn’t a fraud and could cure many illnesses, including HIV, and that links to documentation would soon be provided.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the colloidal silver — particles of silver metal suspended in a liquid — in Silver Solution wasn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition. The National Institutes of Health also warned it could be dangerous.

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Florida reports 2 coronavirus deaths, bringing US toll to 17

Reported cases as of Friday night.

Two patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have died, the Florida Department of Health announced Friday night.

Both of the deceased — one of whom was in their 70s — had recently returned from international trips to undisclosed locations. One was in Santa Rosa County while the other in Lee County.

In addition to the two deaths, Florida’s Department of Health announced two new presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus in Broward County.

This brings the US death toll to 17. These are the first east coast deaths related to Covid-19.

The pace of diagnosis has grown rapidly in recent days, with 79 new cases announced Friday. Though most of the country’s first cases were diagnosed in travelers who had recently returned from overseas, the virus is now spreading rapidly within communities on both coasts, including in California, New York and Washington State. And more states were seeing diagnoses: Health officials in Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota and Oklahoma reported their first coronavirus cases on Friday.

Worldwide since the first cases were detected in central China in December, more than 3,400 people have died and over 101,000 have been confirmed as infected. Experts believe that the virus is more widespread than reported due to a lack of testing and underreporting.

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Colorado congressman trolls Biden & O’Rourke for their promises take away AR-15s.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Ken Buck with his AR-15 in his D.C. office.

A congressman from Colorado released a video on Friday morning that trolled former Vice President Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke for their promises to take away everyone’s AR-15s.

The video was posted just days after Biden promised that if he was elected, he would have the notoriously anti-gun O’Rourke help him solve the nation’s gun woes.

“I want to make something clear — I’m gonna guarantee you, this is not the last you’re seeing of this guy — you’re gonna take care of the gun problem with me, you’re gonna be the one who leads this effort,” Biden said after the failed Presidential candidate endorsed his candidacy on Super Tuesday.

Buck tweeted a video of himself in his office on Capitol Hill and featured him standing in front of a wall with a map of the world and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with an American flag overlay on it.

“I have a message for Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke,” Buck said. “If you want to take everyone’s AR-15s in America, why don’t you swing by my office in Washington, D.C. and start with this one.”

Then he turned and took the AR-15 off the wall and held it confidently. “Come and take it,” the congressman challenged before the video ended.

“This guy makes the case for both an assault weapons ban and a mandatory buyback program better than I ever could,” O’Rourke tweeted in response. “These are weapons of war that have no place in our communities, in our politics or in our public discourse.”

Buck, who is running for his fourth term in office, is also chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

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What’s the difference? Covid-19 vs. the seasonal flu

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

As the coronavirus spread in China, health experts tried to calm fears by saying it was like the flu. But then numbers multiplied quickly and the death rate started to soar.

The symptoms are similar: Fever, body ache, cough.

In fact, people with those symptoms are first tested for the flu, according to Lt. Governor of Hawaii Josh Green, who is also an emergency room doctor.

“They could test positive for the flu and then we’re in the clear,” he said.

“But if they test negative for the flu and they’re feeling that, everyone is asking themselves internally, doctors and patients alike, ‘do I have COVID-19?’”

SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS:

? Fever

? Cough

? Shortness of breath

? Breathing difficulties

Globally, a startling 45 million people have been diagnosed with influenza since October and 46,000 of those have died.

Compare that with COVID-19: There are at least 93,000 infected, according to the World Health Organization, and at least 3,199 have died.

While the flu infects far more ? and kills more ? the death rate is less than 1%. The death rate from COVID-19 is currently listed as 3.4%, according to the WHO.

Green does think that percentage will go down as more people are tested, diagnosed and then recover.

“I think ultimately it’s going to be something like one out of 200 people that die of the coronavirus,” Green said, “That’s still 7.5 times more fatal than the flu.”

And COVID-19 does discriminate. The older the patient, the higher the chance of death.

Those 80 years old have almost a 15% chance of dying. Those under 40 years old have only a 0.2 % chance of death. And no babies have died from the coronavirus.

The flu, on the other hand, has already killed more than 100 kids in the United States.

What makes COVID-19 so much scarier than the flu is a lack of understanding. It only surfaced less than three months ago. There is no vaccine and no treatment so far.

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Cartels pushing huge amounts of meth and fentanyl into the US

If drugs aren’t stopped along the U.S.–Mexico border in Arizona’s remote desert, chances are, a large proportion will end up traveling through Pinal County on its way to Phoenix, AZ a major trafficking hub.

Around 40 percent of illicit drugs enter the United States through Arizona, says Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb.

Hard narcotics—such as heroin, methamphetamines, and fentanyl—are usually hidden in vehicles and driven through one of Arizona’s seven ports of entry along its border, while marijuana has traditionally been backpacked through the desert between border crossings.

In the past few years, Mexican drug cartels have been flooding the United States with methamphetamines and fentanyl, driving the supply so hard and dropping the price so low that it pushes up addiction rates and the market then demands more drugs.

“Our demand is based on what the cartel’s pushing. The demand is what the cartels create in our society,” Lamb said.

“So they go out into areas and they will give out meth at a reduced price, or free, to certain places. They love rural areas—hard-working, blue-collar people that are, life has got its boot on their throats. They get into those communities, and then it trickles into the cities. And once they’re into the cities, it’s a lot easier.”

The increase is reflected in meth seizures at the border, especially at ports of entry. Border agents seized more than 82,000 pounds of meth along the whole southern border in fiscal year 2019, compared to less than 24,000 pounds in fiscal 2014.

“I would venture to say we’re not catching 20 percent,” Lamb said of the border seizures, based on his conversations with the Border Patrol drug unit. “It’s probably more around 10 percent.”

Inside the United States, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seizures of meth more than doubled from about 50,000 pounds in fiscal 2017 to 112,000 pounds in fiscal 2019.

Lamb’s office in Pinal County seized 3,000 percent more meth in 2019 (153 pounds) than it did in 2018 (4.4 pounds).

It’s a billion-dollar business that will only change if the cartels’ bottom line takes a significant hit, Lamb said.

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US defense department linguist charged with espionage on behalf of Hezbollah

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A Pentagon contractor working as a linguist in Iraq has been arrested and charged with espionage for allegedly passing highly classified information about U.S. intelligence sources to an individual tied to Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Mariam Thompson, 61, of Rochester, Minnesota, made her first appearance in U.S. District Court in Washington on Wednesday. She faces one count of unlawfully retaining defense information and one count of transmitting the information to a representative of a foreign government, as well as a count of conspiracy. The latter two counts carry potential sentences of life in prison or the death penalty, under certain circumstances. The sentence for the first count is up to 10 years.

An affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint detailed the allegations against her. In December 2019, Thompson was a linguist assigned to a special operations facility in Irbil, Iraq. One day after demonstrators stormed the American embassy in Baghdad to protest U.S. airstrikes against an Iranian-backed militia, Thompson began collecting information from the Pentagon’s networks about human intelligence sources at the behest of a co-conspirator with ties to Hezbollah, Tehran’s regional proxy, according to the affidavit.

Prosecutors say she accessed 57 files over the next six weeks about eight U.S. sources, information the government says she “did not have a legitimate need to access.” The files contained “names, personal identification data, background information, and photographs of the human sources, as well as operations cables detailing information the human sources provided,” according to the affidavit.

In February, FBI agents searched her living quarters and found under her mattress a handwritten note in Arabic containing the names of three human sources who were collecting intelligence for the U.S., with instructions that their phones should be monitored. The note also said another person, who the affidavit said was a “target of the United States,” should be warned.

After she was arrested, Thompson waived her Miranda rights and told FBI agents that she was passing on the information to a “romantic interest,” known in the affidavit as the co-conspirator. The co-conspirator is a Lebanese national who has ties to Hezbollah, and Thompson said she provided the information at his request, the affidavit said.

Thompson told investigators that she relayed details gleaned from the files by memorizing them, writing them down and sending them via video chat on a secure messaging platform. The FBI gained access to her phone and found a screenshot showing a second note which included the name of another source and details about how the source was gathering intelligence.

In conversations with the FBI quoted in the affidavit, Thompson said she wasn’t sure whether her co-conspirator was affiliated with Hezbollah or Amal, a Lebanese political party. Thompson said she thought Hezbollah was “bad” and that their members are “terrorists,” according to the affidavit.

At her court appearance, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings told Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather that Thompson remains a grave threat to national security and should remain in custody. Meriweather agreed, ordering her held pending a detention hearing on March 11. David Benowitz, an attorney for Thompson, did not object. Benowitz did not immediately respond to a request for comment after the hearing.

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328 Chinese nationals caught trying to illegally enter US at the southern border


At least 328 Chinese nationals trying to enter the United States illegally since January have been intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials as part of heightened awareness on the borders to block the coronavirus from slipping into the nation.

Officials told Secrets Wednesday that since January, 328 Chinese were “apprehended” and sent back across the border or repatriated consistent with existing policy and procedure. Another three from South Korea, where the virus is also spreading, were also caught.

Some 227 foreign nationals from other nations who tried to enter through legal border points from Feb. 2 through March 3 have been turned away due to the travel restriction ordered by the president and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, officials said.

The White House previously announced travel restrictions for China, saying the U.S. would keep out any foreign national who’s been in China within 14 days.

Several agencies within the DHS have been enlisted into President Trump’s “whole of government” attack on the virus, and more than 700 officials have been deployed to the effort.

Senior administration officials said that the president’s three-year focus on the border, the new wall, and the policy of keeping illegal immigrants in Mexico while awaiting permission to enter the U.S., have gone a long way to keep the virus away, especially at the southern border.

But acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Tuesday raised concerns about a court challenge to the Migrant Protection Protocols policy of keeping migrants in Mexico, where the coronavirus has also landed.

“MPP has an uncertain future. We know from experience that the journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions — and they often arrive with no passports, medical histories, or travel manifests. The administration will continue to closely monitor the virus globally, as well as in our hemisphere, and will adjust our proactive measures as necessary,” he said.

Added a senior administration official: “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border. Any halting of MPP would exacerbate that threat.”

DHS acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said, “The department’s top priority is the safety of the American people, and President Trump has directed an aggressive, coordinated interagency response to fulfill that mission.”

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Arizona state House passes bill banning transgender ‘female’ athletes from participating in school sports

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a new bill that if signed into law would ban transgender female athletes from participating in school sports.

The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” introduced by Republican Rep. Nancy Barto, would require interscholastic and intramural sports sponsored by educational institutions to explicitly designate sports as for males or females based on a persons’ biological sex.

“This bill is about fairness. That’s it. What is fair on the field, the court, the track, and in the pool,” Barto said in a statement to ABC News.

House Bill 2706 states that if disputed, “a student may establish the student’s sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement that indicates the student’s sex” and an analysis of the student’s DNA.

The bill was first introduced on Feb. 3 and passed in the House one month later along party lines 31-29 after an emotional hours-long debate on Tuesday.

Barto cited the biological differences between males and females from lung capacity and muscle mass to testosterone levels that she said give men “an undeniable physical advantage over women in sports.”

“That is why we have separated male and female sports. And that is why women have been so successful in achieving greatness on the field, and all the benefits that go with it,” Barto continued. “What has changed is Interscholastic policies allowing biological males identifying as females to compete on women’s teams.”

Currently, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) — the state’s governing body for school sports — has policies in place for transgender athletes to compete “in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity.”

The bill would apply to K-12, community college and universities’ female teams.

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Scientists say they’ve identified 2 strains of COVID-19

Researchers in China have found that two different types of the new coronavirus could be causing infections worldwide.

In a preliminary study published Tuesday, scientists at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai found that a more aggressive type of the new coronavirus had accounted for roughly 70% of analyzed strains, while 30% had been linked to a less aggressive type.

The more aggressive type of virus was found to be prevalent in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan — the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected late last year.

But the frequency of this type of virus has since decreased from early January.

The researchers said their results indicate the development of new variations of the spike in COVID-19 cases was “likely caused by mutations and natural selection besides recombination.”

“These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” they said.

Researchers cautioned that data examined in the study was still “very limited,” emphasizing that follow-up studies of a larger set of data would be needed to gain a “better understanding” of the evolution and epidemiology of COVID-19.

The findings were published in the National Science Review, the journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbs to 11, including 1 dead in California

Life Care Center in Kirkland, WA

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 11 on Wednesday with a patient succumbing in California — the first reported fatality outside Washington state — as federal authorities announced an investigation of the Seattle-area nursing home where most of the victims were stricken.

Officials in California’s Placer County, near Sacramento, said an elderly person who tested positive after returning from a San Francisco-to-Mexico cruise had died. The victim had underlying health problems, authorities said.

Washington also announced another death, bringing its total to 10. Most of those who died were residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, a suburb east of Seattle. At least 39 cases have been reported in the Seattle area, where researchers say the virus may have been circulating undetected for weeks.

Seema Verma, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the agency is sending inspectors to Life Care along with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to figure out what happened and determine whether the nursing home followed guidelines for preventing infections.

Last April, the state fined Life Care $67,000 over infection-control deficiencies following two flu outbreaks that affected 17 patients and staff. An unannounced follow-up inspection in June determined that Life Care had corrected the problems, Verma said.

Meanwhile, public officials in Washington came under pressure to take more aggressive steps against the outbreak, including closing schools and canceling large events. While the state and Seattle have declared emergencies, giving leaders broad powers to suspend activities, they have not issued any orders to do so.

“We have encouraged people who are responsible for large gatherings to give consideration whether it really makes sense to carry those on right now,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Right now, we are deferring to the judgment … of these organizations.”

While some individual schools and businesses have shut down, the governor said large-scale school closings have not been ordered because “there are so many ramifications for families and businesses,” especially for health care workers who might not be able to go to work because of child care responsibilities.

Local and state health officials have not recommended school closings unless the schools have had a confirmed case of the disease.

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