Thursday, February 23, 2017

FBI wants less transparency

From Free Press:

The FBI is planning to take a big step backward for government transparency.

As of March 1, the agency will no longer accept Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests via email. Anyone seeking public records from the bureau will have to use a new online portal — or send requests via fax or snail mail.

Online FOIA portals may seem like a good idea in theory, but in reality, government agencies make them difficult and cumbersome to use and they include unnecessary hurdles.

Tell the FBI to keep accepting FOIA requests via email and cut out arbitrary restrictions.

The Freedom of Information Act gives us a legal right to request public records, which allow journalists and watchdogs to hold the government accountable. FOIA requests uncovered harmful covert operations like COINTELPRO — an FBI program with the goal of dismantling civil rights groups, among others — and also exposed government surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists. Given the Trump administration's hostile attitude toward the press and activists, we need our government to be more transparent, not less.

Our friends at MuckRock, who help journalists and others access public records, raised the alarm when the terms of service of the new FBI portal came to light. These include arbitrary restrictions that aren’t consistent with the law:

• Requests can’t be longer than 3,000 characters.
• Individuals aren’t eligible for the reduced fees available to media outlets, meaning that freelance journalists, and others, will have to pay extra when filing requests.
• Memos, emails, and other internal communications appear to be off-limits to requesters — a restriction that undermines government transparency.

While these terms of service might be improved going forward, the FBI has shown that it can and will arbitrarily change them without public comment.

Tell the FBI to keep its FOIA email up and running and to drop the arbitrary restrictions.

Freedom of information advocates have been fighting with the federal government over FOIA for a long time. And this isn’t the first time a government agency has spent taxpayer money to make public records less accessible.

Our federal government is harming so many communities — we need government transparency now more than ever.

Thanks for all that you do—

Fiona, Mike, Lucia and the rest of the Free Press team
freepress.net

P.S. Urge the FBI to make our government more transparent, not less.

Thank you!


We as a democratic republic cannot tolerate this. The government has to be transparent or the government will become tyrannical. That is why I am suggesting we also contact our Congressional Representative and our Senators and let them know about the FBI's conduct. The more of us they hear from the better.

Tell Trump to leave recreational marijuana alone

From Marijuana Majority:

Let me get right to the point: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just said he believes there will be "greater enforcement" of federal marijuana laws.

This is not acceptable, and would go against President Trump's repeated campaign pledges to respect state cannabis policies.

We need you to take action right now...

Sign our WhiteHouse.gov petition telling the administration that they need to keep Trump's promise to let states implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Tell The White House To Respect State Marijuana Laws.

Stay tuned for more details...

Thanks for doing your part and raising your voice,

Tom Angell
Founder and Chairman
Marijuana Majority

Sessions will crack down on recreational marijuana

From Drug Policy Alliance:

Today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer strongly indicated that the Department of Justice will crack down on recreational marijuana programs.

When asked at a press briefing whether the federal government will take action in states that have legalized marijuana, Spicer said, “I do think you’ll see greater enforcement. The Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into [the issue]. I believe they are going to continue to enforce the laws on the books with respect to recreational marijuana.”

Since 2012, the Obama Administration took a hands off approach to recreational marijuana. That’s about to change.

Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration are on the wrong side of history. Almost 60% of the American people support legalizing marijuana, and support is growing.

It’s time for Congress to act and let states set their own policies. Send a message to your representatives now to support the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017.

We must fight back against the Jeff Sessions Justice Department.

It’s worth noting that thanks to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which DPA and our allies helped pass in 2014, Spicer said the Justice Department will not intervene in medical marijuana states.

But that amendment does not protect the eight states with legal marijuana programs. There’s little that can be done unless we end the federal prohibition of marijuana once and for all.

Stand with us and send a message to your representatives now.

Trump seems insistent on pushing the marijuana market back underground, wiping out tax-paying jobs, and eliminating billions of dollars in taxes.

We can’t let this stand.

Sincerely,

Bill Piper
Senior Director of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Obama's Shadow Presidency


Please don't. Just go away.

From Front Page Mag:

Well-funded Organizing for Action promises to crack conservative skulls to halt the Trump agenda.

February 15, 2017
By: Matthew Vadum

Former President Obama is waging war against the Trump administration through his generously funded agitation outfit, Organizing for Action, to defend his monumentally destructive record of failure and violent polarization.

It is a chilling reminder that the increasingly aggressive, in-your-face Left in this country is on the march.

Acclaimed author Paul Sperry writes in the New York Post:

Obama has an army of agitators – numbering more than 30,000 – who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.

In what's shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn't just staying behind in Washington. He's working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular "America First" agenda.


What is Organizing for Action? It is a less violent version of Mussolini's black shirts and Hitler's brown shirts, or of the government-supported goon squads that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Castro brothers used to harass and intimidate their domestic opponents.

OfA isn't, strictly speaking, a new group. After the 2008 election, the group, then known as Organizing for America, was a phony grassroots campaign run by the Democratic National Committee that sought to replicate the community organizing techniques Obama learned from the teachings of his fellow Chicagoan, Saul Alinsky. OfA was created in large part because the White House could not legally use the 13 million e-mail addresses that the Obama campaign compiled in 2008.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Edgar (D-Penn.), sounded the alarm about OfA in 2013, suggesting the group was dangerous to democracy. "If President Obama is serious about his often-expressed desire to rein in big money in politics, he should shut down Organizing for Action and disavow any plan to schedule regular meetings with its major donors," he said as president of the left-wing group Common Cause. "Access to the President should never be for sale."

"With its reported promise of quarterly presidential meetings for donors and 'bundlers' who raise $500,000, Organizing For Action apparently intends to extend and deepen the pay-to-play Washington culture that Barack Obama came to prominence pledging to end," Edgar said. "The White House's suggestion this week that this group will somehow be independent is laughable."

But Edgar's admonitions were ignored and since then Organizing for Action has thrived and grown rich, just like the Obamas.

As FrontPage previously reported, Obama has rented a $5.3 million, 8,200-square-foot, walled mansion in Washington's Embassy Row that he is using to command his community organizing cadres. Michelle Obama will join the former president there as will the Obama Foundation. To stay on track, Obama wants his former labor secretary, Tom Perez, to win the chairmanship of the DNC in a party election later this month. "It's time to organize and fight, said Perez who appears to be gaining on frontrunner and jihadist Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). "We must stand up to protect President Obama's accomplishments," adding, "We're going to build the strongest grassroots organizing force this country has ever seen."

No ex-president has ever done this before, sticking around the nation's capital to vex and undermine his successor. Of course, Obama is unlike any president the United States has ever had. Even failed, self-righteous presidents like Jimmy Carter, who has occasionally taken shots at his successors, didn't stay behind in Washington to obstruct and disrupt the new administration.

Organizing for Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that doesn't have to disclose its donors, is at the head of Obama's network of left-wing nonprofit groups. OfA, Sperry warns, has "a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country."

On its website, the group claims that there are "5 million Americans who've taken action" with OfA, and that those individuals "are part of a long line of people who stand up and take on the big fights for social justice, basic fairness, equal rights, and expanding opportunity." Among its key issues are "turning up the heat on climate change deniers," comprehensive immigration reform (which includes mass amnesty), "telling the stories of the millions who are seeing the life-saving benefits of Obamacare," fighting for "a woman's health care" which is "a basic right," and redistributing wealth from those who earned it to those who didn't.

OfA communications director Jesse Lehrich told Memphis-based WREG that the "grassroots energy that's out there right now is palpable." The group is "constantly hearing from volunteers who are excited to report about events they're organizing around and all of the new people that want to get involved."

Organizing for Action is drowning in money, by nonprofit standards.

By the end of 2014, OfA, which was formally incorporated only the year before, had taken in $40.4 million, $26 million of which was raised in 2014, according to the organization's IRS filings. OfA's big donors are members of the George Soros-founded Democracy Alliance, a donors' consortium for left-wing billionaires devoted to radical political change. Among the DA members donating to OfA are: Ryan Smith ($476,260); Marcy Carsey ($250,000); Jon Stryker ($200,000); Paul Boskind ($105,000); Paul Egerman ($100,000); and Nick Hanauer ($50,000).

OfA also runs a project called the Community Organizing Institute (COI) which it says partners "with progressive groups and organizations to educate, engage, and collaborate."

Organizing for Action describes COI in almost lyrical terms:

Building upon the rich history of community organizing in Chicago, the COI is a place to share stories, best practices, and innovations in order to build our community and empower individuals in the fight for change. It is a shared space for organizers, policy makers, advocates, and change-agents to come together for workshops, panel discussions, presentations, trainings, film screenings, and social gatherings–building a strong foundation for partnerships.

Translation: at COI you can learn how to spark riots, get arrested to make a political statement, organize lynch mobs and voter fraud on a massive scale, intimidate and shake down corporations, blackmail lenders, race-bait public officials and businesses into submission, smear and terrorize your opponents, shield illegal aliens from law enforcement, lead squatters to invade foreclosed homes, encourage welfare fraud, and use tax dollars to promote cockamamie social-engineering schemes.

Obama is "intimately involved" in OfA's operations and issues tweets from the group's account, Sperry writes. "In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump's upset victory."

"It is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged," Obama said in a post-election conference call from the White House. "But get over it." Progressives have to "move forward to protect what we've accomplished."

"Now is the time for some organizing," he said. "So don't mope."

Organizing for Action has been doing anything but moping.

In recent weeks its activists organized marches across the country. Some became riots. After President Trump issued Executive Order 13769 temporarily banning visitors from seven terrorism-plagued Muslim countries, OfA organized "spontaneous" demonstrations at airports.

Obama praised the airport rabble-rousers, saying through a spokesman he was "heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country."

"Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by the elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake."

Reinforcements are coming to beef up Organizing for Action's position, Sperry adds.

OfA will be soon aided by "the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched last month by Obama pal Eric Holder to end what he and Obama call GOP 'gerrymandering' of congressional districts."

And more unruly protests, rioting, and violent attacks on Trump supporters will follow.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."

A victory over the DEA and more

From Americans For Safe Access:

We are happy to announce that after months of public pressure, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed factually inaccurate information from its website claiming that cannabis was a gateway drug, caused irreversible cognitive decline in adults, and contributed to psychosis and lung cancer. This change comes after we filed a legal request with the Department of Justice last year demanding that the DEA immediately update and remove factually inaccurate information from their website and materials

That said, we still face major obstacles in our fight for safe and legal access to this medicine. I sent a note last week about swearing-in of former Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, a strong opponent of legalizing cannabis. As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Jeff Sessions could cause chaos for medical patients across the country.

That’s why we need your support to help educate Jeff Sessions and other decision makers about why medical cannabis is just that – medicine. In the fifteen years since I started ASA in 2001, advocates of medical cannabis have invested greatly in this fight to move toward creating a safe federal and state environment for patients to access the medicine they need. Every year our patient advocates come to Washington D.C. for the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference to learn about the latest in our industry and how they can help change hearts and minds about how medical cannabis is safe and essential to the health of countless patients.

Over the years, many of our patient advocates have made the difference in our efforts to educate and persuade lawmakers to support our cause. Thanks to scholarship sponsor Dr. Bronner, advocate Lisa Bean, along with fellow advocates Risa Horowitz, and Sarah Armstrong met with California Representative Julia Brownly during the 2016 Unity Conference’s lobby day on March 22, 2016. The very next day, Rep. Brownly co-sponsored the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS)!

Our champions have provided real impact, in their states and with elected official in Washington D.C. We will continue to work to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and legalize its use in the United States, however it’s a long road ahead.

We need your support to accomplish this! Will you help the cause and participate in the 2017 Americans for Safe Access Unity Conference?

Sponsor a scholarship. Your scholarship will make the difference in supporting work to encourage and educate public officials about medical cannabis and holding down the front lines! Send people to learn how to become patient advocates in your states and many others! Contact unity2017@safeaccessnow.org for more information.

Attend the ASA conference and become an advocate yourself! Many attendees of ASA conferences have become leaders in passing medical cannabis laws in their home states! You will meet and learn from other business owners, patient advocates, and researchers invested in the fight. To learn more and register visit

Thanks for being a part of the ASA family and I hope to see you in Washington D.C. in April!

Best,

Steph Sherer
Executive Director, Americans for Safe Access

Safe Access Now

P.S. Check out my editorial on The Hill where I talk about the "discredited gateway theory."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Congressional Cannabis Caucus



With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

The official establishment of a Congressional Cannabis Caucus represents yet another step forward toward ultimately reforming cannabis policy at the federal level. The creation of this caucus is yet another manifestation that our political power is growing -- even inside the beltway.

Email your Congressional Representative and urge them to join the Cannabis Caucus today.

NORML has been in this fight for over 47 years, representing the position that responsible adults who choose to consume marijuana should not be be persecuted or stigmatized. Throughout the country, our chapters are organizing to advocate for state level reforms. NORML represents a growing community of individuals who are coming together and working toward the mutual goals of building a more just and verdant society.

The end of marijuana prohibition will not come overnight. In fact, the forces of prohibition remain strong and the misinformation campaign that has spanned from Reefer Madness to D.A.R.E. is deeply entrenched in the psyches of lawmakers and voters alike. But just as we have for decades, we will not be deterred.

In order for our state and federal laws to be more reflective of the cold truths of reality and science rather than hysteria and racism, we must continue to educate our legislators and neighbors alike. Having a coalition of lawmakers in Washington, DC who will go on the record in support of advocating for cannabis freedom is something we haven’t had before, but it is an event that is long overdue.
So let’s keep building.

Send a message to your member of Congress now and tell them to join the Cannabis Caucus and support sanity in marijuana policy.

Thanks for all you do,
The NORML Team

P.S. Our work is supported by thousands of people throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and at the federal level. Can you kick in $5, $10 or $20 to help us keep going?


Sounds good to me. Let's tell our Senators about this caucus,for them to have a Senatorial version of it. Let's also contact President Trump and let him know that we want him to support it too.

Protect your liberties by supporting the Repeal Real ID Act

From Campaign For Liberty:

The calendar may say 2017, but unless you and I act today it may soon seem like 1984. . .

That's because the Department of Homeland Security has announced it will start requiring states to comply with the so-called REAL ID Act, more accurately called Dangerous ID!

Under this Dangerous ID scheme passed in 2005, but only now starting to be enforced, Washington, D.C. is set to impose a never-ending list of federal requirements for state driver’s licenses. . .

If your state does not conform to the federal standards, your state driver’s license is not an acceptable ID. . .

So when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) begins enforcing Dangerous ID, you could be forbidden from entering a federal building. . .

Or even boarding an airplane!

And that’s just the start!

That’s why I’m counting on you to please sign your “NO Dangerous ID” petition IMMEDIATELY.

As you’ll see, this petition insists your senators cosponsor the REPEAL Real ID Act (S.126).

Without your action, I truly fear what could lay ahead for you and me.

You see, the current law gives DHS unlimited authority to require Dangerous ID for any other activity.

It also allows DHS to require your dangerous ID contains “biometric” features!

Dangerous ID also requires that your personal information — including your biometric identifiers like fingerprints and retina scans — be stored in a federal database.

And, even worse, all of this information about you is shared with other states, various agencies within the federal government, and even foreign governments.

Gun ownership, health records, purchasing habits, religious beliefs — virtually anything you could dream up — could all be added to this massive, Dangerous ID database.

Following DHS's announcement that it would stop granting state waivers from Dangerous ID’s mandates, many politicians in states that have resisted REAL ID are now plotting to surrender your liberty and privacy to bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

The good news is Campaign for Liberty has launched a two-stage program to stop Dangerous ID. . .

First, Campaign for Liberty’s state groups are working to block any attempt by their state governments to cave in to the federal government and force their states to comply with Dangerous ID.

Campaign for Liberty has been fighting at the state level for years to stop politicians from caving in on this critical issue, but now it’s time to take the fight to Congress.

That's why we are launching a second program. . . a national campaign to repeal Dangerous ID.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) has introduced the REPEAL ID Act (S.126), which will fully repeal Section II of the REAL ID Act of 2005, eliminating the need for a national ID card.

It's CRITICAL you sign your NO DANGEROUS ID Petition to your senators at once.

The petition demands your senators cosponsor the Repeal ID Act.

You and I both know the power the federal government gains from Dangerous ID WILL be abused.

Just consider the massive scandal exposing the NSA's spying on American citizens. . .

Not to mention the IRS harassment and intimidation of Tea Party and pro-liberty groups. . .

We have even seen the IRS try to force Campaign for Liberty to hand over confidential information about our supporters!

Can anyone doubt that once "well-meaning" government bureaucrats know exactly how we live, they will ramp up their efforts to run our lives through more laws, regulations, taxes, and other restraints?

In fact, it will only be a matter of time until they spend their workdays making sure you and I don't go anywhere, read anything, eat anything, or drink anything they think we "shouldn't be allowed to."

If we don’t roll back Dangerous ID while continuing to stop states from bowing to D.C.’s anti-liberty demands, all of your information will be shared between states and even with other countries.

Think about what the federal, state, and even foreign governments could track — and control — with access to your ID.

If you've ever legally purchased certain prescription drugs, the government can deny your ability to purchase a firearm. Once they have your ID they can track both sales.

They can also track your financial transactions and all of your travel.

Dangerous ID needs to be stopped.

As I mentioned above, several Campaign for Liberty state groups are fighting the implementation of Dangerous ID in their states right now.

Grassroots liberty leaders are pushing back in the state legislatures where bills are being rammed through.

These efforts are important in delaying Dangerous ID and building a movement to repeal the federal bill. . .

But until we repeal the REAL ID Act, none of us will be safe.

Stopping Dangerous ID will not be easy, since support for the bill cuts across party lines — from statists like Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to U.S. Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

That's why it's so CRITICAL you sign your “NO DANGEROUS ID” petition to your senators now.

Then, please make your most generous contribution of $15, $10, or $5 to help Campaign for Liberty stop Dangerous ID.

With your support, Campaign for Liberty will be able to contact more pro-liberty Americans to alert them to the threat Dangerous ID poses to their liberties and mobilize them to help repeal this law.

And, funds permitting, we will run hard-hitting radio and TV ads.

Your contribution will also help Campaign for Liberty’s state groups turn up the pressure on wavering state legislators.

I know that $15 is not just a lot to ask, but more than you have ever given in the past, but consider the stakes. . .

Dangerous ID is scheduled to be forced on every American in the next few months. . .

So we must not only act, but act fast.

So if $15 is too much right now, please consider a special contribution of $10 or $5.

And make sure you sign your “NO Dangerous ID” petition and then forward this email to your friends and family so they may sign the petition too.

For liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S. Dangerous ID violates the privacy of every American citizen, putting your identity and liberty at extreme risk.

It does NOTHING to make America more secure, despite what proponents claim. In fact, if every state complies, innocent American citizens like you will be monitored. . .

. . . while those who lack proper documentation will go about their lives as usual.

So please sign your “NO DANGEROUS ID” Petition to your U.S. Senators today.

And make your most generous contribution of $15, $10, or $5 to help Campaign for Liberty ramp up our efforts to stop Dangerous ID.