Senator Chuck Schumer to Unveil Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana at the Federal Level

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference following weekly policy luncheons on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference following weekly policy luncheons on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images
By KATIE REILLY

Updated: April 19, 2018 5:39 PM ET

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to introduce a bill on Friday that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, he said in a new interview with VICE News.

“The legislation is long overdue based on, you know, a bunch of different facts. I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had small amounts of marijuana and served time in jail much too long,” Schumer said in a video clip shared by VICE News on Thursday. “Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?”

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Matt House, Schumer’s communications director, said in a tweet that the Senator will unveil the bill on Friday — 4/20, a day that has become a celebration of marijuana. House teased the interview with a photo of Schumer signing a bong for VICE’s Shawna Thomas, who conducted the interview. The full interview will air at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on HBO.

Schumer had previously been hesitant to support legalizing marijuana at the federal level. “It’s a tough issue. We talk about the comparison to alcohol — and obviously alcohol is legal, and I’m hardly a prohibitionist — but it does a lot of damage,” Schumer said in an MSNBC interview in 2014. “The view I have — and I’m a little cautious on this — is let’s see how the state experiments work.”

“I’d be a little cautious here at the federal level and see the laboratories of the states — see their outcomes before we make a decision,” Schumer added.

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and six states have followed since then. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has begun to crack down on the marijuana industry this year, angering lawmakers and cannabis growers in states where it is legal.

Schumer hinted Thursday that he has changed his mind on the issue, tweeting, “People can change.”

The 11 most eye-opening lines in James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ ranked

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The 11 most eye-opening lines in James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ ranked

(CNN)Days before its official release, excerpts of James Comey’s memoir about his time as FBI Director under President Donald Trump have leaked. Actually, flooded.

There’s a lot of pieces of the Comey book — “A Higher Loyalty” — kicking around the media world at the moment. Some are salacious, others are stunning and some are just plain surreal.
I scanned through all of the available excerpts and plucked out the lines that are most devastating for Trump. Then I ranked them by level of damage they are likely to cause. Here they are, ranked from least to most problematic for the President of the United States.

11. “His face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his…..As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”

This is, in a word, dumb. Or, in another word, petty. If Comey wanted to build the narrative with this book that he is truly committed to the good of the country rather than in selling books or scoring partisan points, he’d have been better served to leave this stuff out. Noting the size of Trump’s hands or the fact that he tans feels beneath the broader stated mission of the book: To reveal why Trump is simply not fit for the office he currently holds. Comey also mentions that Trump was shorter than he looked on TV. First off, everyone is short to the 6’8″ Comey. Second, who cares?

10. “I stared at the soft white pouches under his expressionless blue eyes. I remember thinking in that moment that the president doesn’t understand the FBI’s role in American life.”

Again, the fact that Trump has “soft white pouches” under his “expressionless blue eyes” feels more like an unnecessary jab than an essential insight. BUT, Comey’s next sentence is important — because he’s right. Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he simply doesn’t understand — or doesn’t care about — the unique role the Justice Department plays within the federal government. Yes, they work under him. But they don’t exactly work for him. He’s never seemed to get that.

9. “I had often wondered why, when given numerous opportunities to condemn the Russian government’s invasions of its neighbors and repression — even murder — of its own citizens, Trump refused to just state the plain facts…Maybe it was a contrarian streak or maybe it was something more complicated that explained his constant equivocation and apologies for Vladimir Putin.”

There’s no question that prior to the last week or so, Trump has been largely unwilling to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country as a whole. (The Syrian chemical attack and Russia’s continued support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to have changed how Trump thinks about Putin.)
But, we already knew that. And everything else in this excerpt is pure speculation. “Maybe it was something more complicated” isn’t exactly hard and fast evidence.

8. “Another reason you know this isn’t true: I’m a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me, no way.”

This one is more salacious than anything else. But, that Trump feels the need to convince Comey that he never watched two prostitutes pee on one another is, um, something else.

7. “He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ . . . adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a 1 percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true….In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?”

Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as simply salacious. Yes, there is that. But it is absolutely telling about the state of Trump’s marriage that he was asking the FBI director to prove the falsehood of the “pee tape” to his wife — almost certainly because she wouldn’t believe him.
Then there’s the fact that Trump seems to believe that proving the tape doesn’t exist to Melania Trump is a worthy use of the FBI’s time. Which is, um, something.

6. “It is also wrong to stand idly by, or worse, to stay silent when you know better, while a president brazenly seeks to undermine public confidence in law enforcement institutions that were established to keep our leaders in check.”

Comey here is echoing people like Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake who have castigated their fellow Republicans for refusing to condemn Trump when he attacks the Justice Department or the Intelligence Community. The argument is that silence is essentially assent. Only by saying, “No, what Trump is doing is wrong and should stop immediately” can Republicans hope to have a party in the post-Trump era.
Amid Trump’s ramped-up rhetoric on deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller, it will be interesting to see what Republican reaction will be if the president decides to fire either (or both) of those men. Will Republicans speak out?

5. “Asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.”

Two things are at work here — one not terribly problematic for Trump, the other potential more so. The first is that he demonstrates he has a massive ego and believes that he is so appealing to women that any story about him frequenting prostitutes simply can’t be believed.
The second is that he is intimately familiar with the details of the bevy of accusations made against him by a number of women during the 2016 campaign. That level of interest/obsession belies the public face of dismissal and unconcern Trump and his people have presented when confronted with the allegations.

4. “Now it was pretty clear to me what was happening. The setup of the dinner, both the physical layout of a private meal and Trump’s pretense that he had not already asked me to stay on multiple occasions, convinced me this was an effort to establish a patronage relationship.”

This is very important. What Comey is alleging here is that Trump, from the start, saw his relationship with Comey as entirely transactional. I’ll let you stay in your job as FBI director but I want something for it. That something, as we now now, was a loyalty pledge that Comey refused to give.
Trump’s approach to every encounter appears to be similar to what Comey describes here. Let’s make a deal where you get something but, far more importantly, I get something.

3. “[Kelly] said he was sick about my firing and that he intended to quit in protest. He said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner. I urged Kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president. Especially this president.”

This anecdote is going to make chief of staff John Kelly’s life even harder than it already is. Rumors of him clashing with Trump and/or being on the way out are everywhere. Now, he’ll have to face a barrage of questions over whether Comey’s recounting of the moments right after Trump fired him are accurate. And if Kelly says they are, how can he stay in his job? If he says Comey got it wrong, will Trump even believe him?

2. “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

In this excerpt, Comey is comparing Trump to a mob boss. Which is a tough comparison to make when you are dealing with the President of the United States. But, Comey is right in the main when it comes to how Trump sees himself and how he leads his team. Trump must always be the strongest and toughest one in any room. He expects total loyalty from those who work for him — and works to rid his inner circle of those he believes have shown even a speck of disloyalty to him. He doesn’t tell the truth about things that are easily and provably false — largest inauguration crowd ever, millions of illegal votes cast — and then dares those around him to question him.
I don’t know any mob bosses personally but there’s not question that Comey nails Trump here.

1. “This President is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

These two sentences are the most damaging thing to Trump so far in the Comey excerpts because they speak to a number of demonstrated truths. We know that Trump said more than 2,000 things in his first year in office that were either partially or entirely untrue. We know he looks at every situation as a chance to extract something for himself. That he is immensely self focused to the point of a blindness as to how his actions might be perceived by people who aren’t him. We know that he either misunderstands or chooses to ignore traditional norms for how a president acts, what he says and how he treats those who work for him.

Trump likened to mob boss, called ‘unethical and untethered to truth’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

James Comey book: Trump likened to mob boss, called ‘unethical and untethered to truth’

https://uw-media.usatoday.com/video/embed/33783779?sitelabel=reimagine&continuousplay=true&placement=uw-smallarticleattophtml5&keywords=james-comey%2Cdissolution%2Ctorment%2Coverall-negative&simpleTarget=&simpleExclusion=disasters&pagetype=story

Police are investigating a “prior relationship” between the gunman who wounded two students inside his Maryland high school Tuesday morning and a female victim. The shooter died during a confrontation with a school resource officer. (March 20)AP, AP

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James Comey’s tell-all book details his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and private interactions he had with President Trump, a man he blasts as “untethered to truth,” according to multiple reports.

Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, is set to hit shelves on Tuesday but copies were obtained by several media outlets, including the Associated Press, The Washington Post and New York Times. 

Comey likens Trump to a mob boss while writing about his career as a prosecutor and highlights “loyalty oaths,” one of which he claims Trump asked of him. The former FBI director describes Trump as creating a “cocoon of alternative reality that he was busily wrapping around all of us,” according to The Washington Post.

The book is filled with vivid details of his encounters with many of Washington, D.C,’s elite — both Democrats and Republicans, including members of Trump’s Cabinet. It details Comey’s career and “the forest fire that is the Trump presidency” that he says led to the end of it.

“This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes in the book, according to The New York Times. “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

In one of the more salacious tidbits, the book alleges Trump asked Comey for an investigation of the alleged “golden shower” tape to reassure his wife that it was fake, according to a report by the New York Post.

The unsubstantiated allegations, which were described in a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, say that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate in front of him in a hotel room in Moscow.

“He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ … adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a one percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true,” Comey wrote, according to the Post.

Trump continued unprompted, Comey said, “explaining why it couldn’t possibly be true, ending by saying he was thinking of asking me to investigate the allegation to prove it was a lie. I said it was up to him.”

More: Comey’s book promises ‘truth’ about troubled FBI tenure

Related: Comey: ‘Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon’

Comey cautioned the president that any probe might “create a narrative” that the FBI was investigating him, the Post reported.

Privately, Comey wrote, he wondered why there would even be a 1 percent chance Melania Trump would believe the allegations.

“In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?” he wrote in the book.

Comey also talks about his inner battle with how he handled the Clinton email investigation, even talks he had with President Obama and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing — nothing — has happened in the last year to change my view,” Obama told Comey in a private Oval Office meeting, according to The Washington Post. 

Comey describes Lynch as having a “tortured half-out, half-in approach” to the Clinton investigation and that she had asked him to refer to the probe as a “matter” instead of an “investigation.”

‘Teflon don, Trump’ About To Go Down In The Flames Of Impeachment?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

(Is The ‘Teflon don, Trump’ About To Go Down In The Flames Of Impeachment?)

Right Turn

Trump melts down after Cohen raid — and only hurts himself

  
 April 10 at 9:00 AM 
 2:01
Trump fumes ‘attorney-client privilege is dead’ after FBI raid

President Trump tweeted his outrage at an FBI raid of his personal attorney Michael Cohen’s home and offices, calling it a “witch hunt.”

In an extraordinary series of events, the FBI executed a no-knock raid on President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel. The president, seated alongside his top military and civilian national security advisers to discuss a response to the Syrians’ use of chemical weapons, launched into a rant in which he did not rule out firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, accused law enforcement of bias, whined that Hillary Clinton was not being prosecuted, suggested Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had behaved improperly in signing off on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, railed again at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself (and thereby allowing the investigation proceed) and deemed execution of a warrant signed off on by a federal judge and approved by a U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general, both of whom he appointed, to be an “attack” on the country.
Let’s start with the raid. The Post reports:

Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case.
FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about Cohen’s clients and personal finances. Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to another person familiar with the investigation.
Investigators took Cohen’s computer, phone and personal financial records, including tax returns, as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center, the second person said.
In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients — including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to both people.

Let us not understate how extraordinary a development this is. The standard of proof required to raid any attorney’s office is exceptionally high. To authorize a raid on the president’s lawyer’s office, a federal judge or magistrate must have seen highly credible evidence of serious crimes and/or evidence Cohen was hiding or destroying evidence, according to legal experts. “The FBI raid was the result of an ongoing criminal investigation *not* by Mueller but by the interim US Attorney personally interviewed and selected by Trump himself, pursuant to a warrant issued under strict standards by a federal judge, subject to approval by the head of the Criminal Division,” said constitutional scholar Larry Tribe. He warns that “firing Sessions or Rosenstein (or reining in Mueller) would trigger a crisis for the Constitution and our national security but wouldn’t even extricate Trump from criminal investigation of his innermost circle.” In short, Tribe concludes, “This is every bit as shattering as many have surmised.”

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What we don’t know is whether the suspected wrongdoing extends to Trump or is solely attributable to Cohen. (By referring the matter to the New York prosecutor, Mueller may have signaled this is not germane to the Russia investigation; however, any possible crimes concerning Stormy Daniels, for example, may or may not implicate Trump.) Whatever the FBI sweeps up may very well further enmesh Trump in an investigation in which what seemed like a series of separate topics — Trump’s personal finances, potential obstruction of justice, possible Russian collusion and hush money paid to a porn star — have begun to bleed into one another. Trump is as vulnerable as he has always been, in part because he plainly does not know what federal prosecutors now have in their possession and because intense pressure may be brought to bear on Cohen to “flip” on Trump.
Trump cannot take much comfort in the attorney-client privilege. For one thing, it applies to legal communications; if Cohen is acting as a businessman/”fixer,” no privilege may attach. Moreover, the attorney-client privilege cannot apply to communications that are part of a crime (e.g., a conspiracy to obstruct justice). Trump once said investigating his finances were a “red line” for Mueller; the latest move in raiding Cohen transgresses any limitation Trump could possibly have dreamed up. His reaction reflects his fury in not being able to fend off Mueller.
Trump’s response was disturbing on multiple levels.
First, Trump in essence declared war on the rule of law. “It’s, frankly, a real disgrace. It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for,” said the president, who now equates the operation of the criminal-justice system under the rule of law to be an attack on the country. He is the country in his eyes. Those who challenge him are enemies of the country. There is no better formulation of his authoritarian, anti-democratic mindset than this.

 3:03
Opinion | Trump can fire Mueller, but that won’t get rid of the Russia investigation

Opinion | If President Trump fires the bane of his legal troubles, he could spark a legal and constitutional crisis.

Second, his tirade against Sessions should rekindle concerns that he is contemplating firing him and putting in a flunky to protect himself. “The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself,” Trump said. “Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a — put a different attorney general in. So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country.” That, too, is a picture-perfect distillation of his warped view of the presidency. He hands Mueller another admission that he thinks the DOJ should protect him from, instead of conducting investigations into criminal and counterintelligence matters.
Third, Trump’s attempts to discredit Mueller’s team and the FBI should highlight the necessity of Congress protecting the special counsel. (“This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen.”) When he says the investigation is a “witch hunt,” he may be plowing the way to fire Mueller and/or Rosenstein or refuse to cooperate with an interview. In either event, we would face a constitutional crisis.
Fourth, Trump’s insistence that his campaign has been exonerated from “collusion” (“So they find no collusion, and then they go from there and they say, ‘Well, let’s keep going.’”) is baseless. More than 70 different contacts between Trump team and Russian-related figures have been found. Multiple indictments and plea deals have been struck. The investigation continues. His false certainty that there is no evidence of collusion can now be seen as the motive for his attempts to discredit and derail the investigation, to obstruct justice, in other words.
Finally, Trump’s rambling, unhinged reaction — after his attorneys no doubt counseled him to keep quiet — should shake his supporters. The pressure of the investigation and vulnerability to prosecution and/or impeachment are not going to vanish. His family and his fix-it lawyer won’t stop Mueller. His TV friends cannot keep the FBI at bay. He lashes out like a cornered animal. The angrier and more panicked Trump becomes, the greater chance he will behave in extreme and destructive ways.
“The president cannot help himself,” former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen told me. “Instead of doing his job as our chief federal law enforcement official and allowing the rule of law to operate unimpeded, he lashes out when he feels personally threatened.” He adds, “The president’s words were more befitting a mob don when the feds are closing in. Given Michael Cohen’s role in Trump’s past, perhaps they are. The American people will not stand for any Trump attempt to match his hostile words with aggressive action against Mueller, Sessions, Rosenstein or other DOJ officials. If he does, it will be the beginning of the end for his presidency.”
Now would be a good time for Republicans to find their spines, remember their oaths and act to insulate Mueller and Rosenstein from Trump. A simple declaration that firing either would be an impeachable offense would, frankly, be a help to Trump. He could use some outside restraint.

FBI Raids The Office Of Trumps Personal Lawyer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The FBI raided the office of Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer and confidant of President Donald Trump, Cohen’s attorney confirmed to CNN Monday.

One source familiar with the matter told CNN that included in the documents authorities seized was information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006 that the White House has denied.
Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said in a statement that the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York had executed “a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications” between Cohen and his clients.
A White House official said Trump had been watching TV reports of the FBI raiding Cohen’s office, and that Trump knew about the raid before the news broke.
Ryan’s statement called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” and said federal prosecutors had told him it stemmed partially from a referral by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller,” Ryan said in the statement. “… It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients. These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
The New York Times first reported on news of Monday’s raid.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the searches Monday.
A person briefed on the search told the Times that the FBI also seized emails, tax documents and business records, including communications between Trump and Cohen.
The White House official said it is unclear if Trump has spoken to Cohen.
Cohen is a longtime ally of the President, and admitted earlier this year to setting up a limited liability company in 2016 to pay Daniels. She has alleged she had an affair with Trump a decade earlier, and that the payment was hush money. The White House has denied Daniels’ allegations of an affair with Trump.
Asked about the Daniels controversy last week, Trump said he did not know about the payment and declined to comment further, instead referring questions to Cohen.
“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” Trump said. “Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”

As A Former Long Haul Trucker: The New Hours Of Service Law Is Smart

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘FREIGHT TECH’)

(I WAS AN OTR DRIVER FOR OVER 30 YEARS, RETIRING IN 2013. POLITICIANS HAVE WRITTEN LAWS FOR THE TRUCK DRIVERS THAT ARE TOTALLY IDIOCY AND THEY ARE DEADLY. THESE POLITICIANS WHO ARE SO AGAINST THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY HAVE MADE LAWS CONCERNING ‘HOURS OF SERVICE’ THAT WANT THE HUMAN BEINGS BEHIND THE WHEEL TO FIT THEIR WORKING SCHEDULE IN EACH DAY AS IF THE DRIVER IS A COMPUTER AND THIS IGNORANCE IS DEADLY. COMPUTERS WANT TO TELL THE DRIVER WHEN THEY ARE TIRED, WHEN THEY ARE TO BE SLEEPING AND WHEN IT IS NOW OKAY TO START YOUR DRIVING DAY. THE LAWS AT THIS TIME TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE OUT OF HOURS, SO NOW, YOU HAVE A 10 HOUR MANDATORY BREAK AND YOU ARE EXPECTED TO GET AT LEAST 8 HOURS OF SLEEP AT THIS TIME AND THEN AT THE END OF THE 10 HOURS YOU MUST NOW GET BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL AND DRIVE. PROBLEM IS, A LOT OF THE TIME YOU CAN CRAWL BACK INTO YOUR BUNK AND TRY YOUR BEST TO GO TO SLEEP, BUT YOU JUST CAN’T DO IT. AT THE END OF YOUR 10 HOUR REQUIRED BREAK THE COMPUTER SAYS YOU ARE WELL RESTED, NOW GO DRIVE. TROUBLE IS THAT IT IS THEN THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY SLEEPY AND TIRED AND YOUR BODY WANTS/NEEDS THE SLEEP, NOW. THE COMPUTER SAYS NO, YOUR RESTED, DRIVE. IT IS THIS KIND OF BUREAUCRATIC IGNORANCE THAT CAUSES MANY DEATHS EVERY YEAR ON OUR NATIONS HIGHWAYS. HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT COMPUTERS!) 

Late Thursday evening Texas Rep. (R) Brian Babin introduced a bill in the House that will change the hours of service regulations for American truckers. The bill is intended to modify the 14 hour rule and would allow drivers to enjoy a three-hour break without the time counting against the driver’s available hours.

The act, called “The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers (REST) Act” would require the Department of Transportation to update Hours of Service regulations to allow a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to 3 consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty, effectively pausing the 14-hour clock.  However, drivers would still need to log ten consecutive hours off duty before the start of their next work shift.  It would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.

While Rep. Babin has become a polarizing name in trucking circles with his fight over the ELD mandate, changing the hours of service rules would allow drivers to judge their own bodies and current conditions. It would also be an enormous victory for truckers. We also argue that it will make the industry safer.

FreightWaves’ own Chief Analytics Officer, Dean Croke (who ran data science at the largest ELD provider in North America) argued that the 14 hour rule should be scrapped all together. In his article, Why the 14-hour clock rule is the most dangerous of them all, Croke states that “the idea that by regulating hours worked we somehow magically ensure drivers are well-rested for the next shift is completely flawed.”

He describes that drivers need to have flexibility built into their available hours. Current regulations force drivers to compromise sleep schedules to maximize their earnings.

Drivers are paid on a per mile basis, but their capacity to earn is limited by how many hours they are able to drive. The more time drivers are delayed at docks, the less time they have to drive and earn. When shippers create delays, drivers end up pushing harder to make up for lost time.

Also (and perhaps less appreciated) is the impact of disrupted sleep caused by inconsistencies in the shipper community around loading/unloading schedules.

Transparency18.jpeg

The politics of this debate will play out over coming months and there will be a lot of arguments here. As an organization that believes the answer lies in data and not in political expediency, we are of the opinion that the REST Act is one where data is on Babin’s side. We get millions of ELD data points daily, which we use to answer all sorts of questions around economics, capacity, pricing, driver behavior and safety. Based on our analysis, the drivers that experience the most volatile dock loading and unloading schedules are also the most prone to incidents or accidents.

Clearly, the irregular pattern at which shippers operate has an enormous impact on driver sleep schedule. Anyone that has traveled on a multi-city business trip with flight delays can relate to how exhausting this is.

In an ironic twist, ELDs that Rep. Babin fought so passionately against will end up proving that his proposed REST bill will make the industry safer. Overhauling the HOS rules and allowing for the driver to take a break without penalty will end up encouraging drivers that need a nap the opportunity to do so.

While ELD data can not prove Rep. Babin’s view that the ELD mandate is the “Dodd-Frank law of the trucking industry,” it can prove that driver fatigue without the opportunity for a break is a recipe for disaster.

As with any regulation change, carriers would want to ensure that this time is not given up to shippers for their own benefit. ELDs, combined with blockchain has the potential to prevent this from happening. ELDs record dock times and with blockchain carriers can find out what average wait times and schedule are at a given stop, prior to accepting a load. They can also hold shippers accountable for having inconsistencies either in the form of detention or refusing to accept their loads to begin with.

Stay up-to-date with the latest commentary and insights on FreightTech and the impact to the markets bysubscribing.

If Saudi Arabia Is Honest About Reform They Must Free Raif Badawi!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Ensaf Haidar, wife of the jailed Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, shows a portrait of her husband as he is awarded with the Sakharov Prize, on Dec. 16, 2015 in Strasbourg, France.
Christian Lutz—AP/REX/Shutterstock
IDEAS
Silver is a member of Raif Badawi’s international legal team; Abitbol is cofounder of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom.

“We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance.”

“For me, liberalism simply means, live and let live. This is a splendid slogan.”

Who could have imagined that these equally conciliatory concepts would result in such conflicting consequences?

Yet in Saudi Arabia, the advocate of one is heralded as a reformer, while the other is harassed for being a radical.

Indeed, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman said the former; imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the latter.

Born one year apart, these millennials have given expression to the vision and values of a younger generation, one that is empowered by the digital age, implicated in a globalizing world and impervious to the religious orthodoxy of some clerical elite.

However, while the Crown Prince travels the world touting a transformed Kingdom, Badawi has languished in a Saudi prison for almost six years now, for professing his vision for remaking the region.

Using a blog to exercise his right to freedom of expression, Badawi unmasked a culture of corruption and criminality, as well as the impunity that underpinned them; he challenged religious intolerance and extremism, and sparked a discussion on modernization. In short, Badawi paved the way for today’s discourse and developments in Saudi Arabia concerning what the Crown Prince himself has called a “moderate Islam” and combating the “cancer of corruption.”

But will these commendable principles and policies have permanence, or were they simply a prelude to the Crown Prince’s Western ties–building tour and PR campaign? The litmus test for legitimacy is the freeing of Raif Badawi — the champion of these changes.

Indeed, releasing Raif would be in the kingdom’s own self-interest.

As the Crown Prince looks to raise foreign direct investment to 5.7% of GDP, he is seeking to “create an environment attractive to… foreign investors, and earn their confidence in the resilience and potential of [the Saudi] national economy.” Building this investor confidence will require increasing trust in Saudi legal norms, including those of constitutions and contracts — a crucial assurance for investors against arbitrary treatment.

Yet the treatment of Raif Badawi is in standing violation of domestic Saudi law and further obligations that Saudi Arabia has assumed under international law. The Court that convicted Badawi lacked jurisdiction. The witnesses in his case were inadmissible. He was denied his right to counsel — his lawyer and brother-in-law Waleed Abu Al-Khair was himself imprisoned — and he was not informed of the charges against him, nor given the necessary time and means to prepare his defense. His sentence of lashings was itself illegal — as physical torture is prohibited under the Arab Charter on Human Rightsratified by Saudi Arabia in 2009, and the U.N.’s Convention Against Torture, which the nation ratified in 1997. The criminalization of Badawi was ultimately the criminalization of the protected rights he sought to exercise and of freedom itself.

In the face of these standing violations of their own sacred laws and treaty agreements, why should investors trust that Saudi Arabia would respect their business commitments? Investors could just as easily be treated with the same arbitrariness. However, it is not too late for Saudi Arabia to make an important statement to the international investor community about rule of law and remedy these standing violations by releasing Badawi and his lawyer.

To release Badawi would also be a stroke of geostrategic genius.

Faced with the regional resurgence of violence emanating from the Iranian Regime — such as the recent firing of rockets at Riyadh by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen — the Saudi Crown Prince has been encouraging the international community to increase economic and political pressure against Iran. Similarly, the Crown Prince spearheaded a regional move to sever ties with Qatar to protect “national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.” The collective action aimed to pressure Qatar to end its support for terror groups, including elements of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

But when the Saudi ambassador to Canada tried to host a major press conference on Qatar with his Egyptian and Emirati counterparts in July 2017, his message was lost. Journalists asked about Badawi at the Conference — and the ambassadors were forced to abandon their advocacy on Qatar to defend the unjust imprisonment.

Indeed, Raif Badawi may be the most celebrated prisoner of conscience in the world today. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he is a recipient of scores of prestigious human rights awards and honorifics, including the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament, the PEN Pinter Prize and the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize. Foreign Policy named him as one of 2015’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, and he received the Courage Award from a coalition of 20 human rights groups from around the world at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. His case and cause have been championed by a broad and inclusive cross-section of leaders from both civil service and civil society.

Rather than distract from Saudi efforts, releasing Badawi would help advance their campaign. Indeed, Badawi would be an articulate ally and spokesperson for shining a spotlight on Iran and Qatar, which are among the most regressive and repressive regimes in the world — and as a human rights activist Badawi has been a forceful critic of each. Living in liberty, Badawi — with his established and influential global network — can play a transformative role in growing a grassroots campaign and cultivating a collective coalition against the state-sanctioning and support of extremism of the Regimes in Iran and Qatar.

With such a critical mass of reasons to release Raif, any claims to the contrary are certainly surmountable.

The slippery slope argument — that the Saudi state would face an emboldened movement to release other prisoners, some of whom may pose a risk to national security — is mitigated by the exceptional nature of Badawi — an international icon, whose views now largely parallel those of the new Saudi leadership. His release would have a positive worldwide resonance, and attest to the genuine authenticity of reforms to this global audience.

Ultimately, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has full authority to grant clemency. When he releases the list of pardons in advance of Ramadan next month, the Crown Prince should take the opportunity to propel his agenda forward — both within Saudi Arabia and across the globe — by freeing Raif Badawi, and allowing him to join in Canada his wife Ensaf, and children Najwa, Terad and Miriyam.

ICE spokesman in SF resigns and slams Trump administration officials

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

ICE spokesman in SF resigns and slams Trump administration officials

  • A spokesman in San Francisco’s division of ICE resigns
  • He says statements from ICE acting director and Jeff Sessions were ‘misleading’

San Francisco (CNN)James Schwab, a spokesman for the San Francisco Division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has resigned, citing what he says are falsehoods being spread by members of the Trump administration including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“I just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false,” he told CNN on Monday.
Schwab cited Acting Director Tom Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as being the purveyors of misleading and inaccurate information, following Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s controversial decision to warn the community of an upcoming ICE raid.
ICE released a press release on February 27 about the operations in Northern California in which Homan stated that “864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision.”
Sessions also repeated a similar estimate in his remarks while visiting Sacramento last week.
“Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community — 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action,” Sessions had said.
Schwab said he took issue with their characterization.
“Director Homan and the Attorney General said there were 800 people at large and free to roam because of the actions of the Oakland Mayor,” he told CNN. “Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible. I think she could have had other options. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.”
“It’s a false statement because we never pick up 100% of our targets. And to say they’re a type of dangerous criminal is also misleading.”
Schwab said he brought up his concerns to ICE leadership and was told to “deflect to previous statements. Even though those previous statements did not clarify the wrong information.”
“I’ve never been in this situation in 16 almost 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry — when the data was not correct” he said.
The Oakland mayor said in response to the former spokesman speaking out, “I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie. Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard.”
Schwab also said he is a registered Democrat, but has been a loyal federal servant, regardless of which party is in power.
CNN has reached out to ICE in Washington and the Department of Justice for comment.

Police And Public Relations With ALL People

Police And Public Relations With ALL People

 

I guess this post is my strong request to all Law Enforcement Personnel and Departments. Please consider my thoughts on this issue of public relations and how Your Profession is taking such a bad hit right now. When a Law Enforcement Officer comes walking up to us when we are out and about would it not be to the Officers benefit if we the people welcome you as a friend? Most people I have ever know, of every skin color are leery of and a lot of the time, scared of you. I know a lot of folks among you say great, that is exactly what we want. No it isn’t you redneck dummy! I qualify that statement with this disclaimer, there isn’t much of anything wrong with being a redneck, but you gotta be a decent human being at all times, especially when you’re wearing shiny boots, stars, and Kevlar. Your reputation as a Law Enforcement Officer, as a human being, and as a Child of God depend on it.

 

All over the country the people know of Policing Departments who spend millions on old military weapons. Officers all over the country you see wearing combat boots and BDU’s, with their DI hats and attitudes. I have heard Sheriffs on the AM radio referring to themselves and their Departments as “Para Military Organizations”. Ladies and Gentlemen, no you are not, you are Public Servants. You are and should be considered as friends and neighbors, the first line of exterior defense that I as a citizen will feel safe to call to my home. Way to often in way to many neighborhoods the general public are very concerned about having any contact with the Officers, they simply don’t trust you on many different levels. Officers, you must Police Yourselves from the inside. You as an individual, as a Department, and as a Profession if you ever want to get the trust of the people. Trust has got to become a major issue for Your Profession, when you have the trust of the public you will have the safety and the respect you deserve and it will then become a lot safer for you when you are wearing that uniform.

Because Of President Putin I feel Sorry For The Russian People

Because Of President Putin I feel Sorry For The Russian People

 

Most people in their lives simply want certain basic things to be a reality for themselves and their loved ones. People want to feel safe in their own homes, communities, and countries. People want a safe and dependable economy so that they can afford housing and food along with such thing as social services, good schools, dependable utilities and regular trash pickup. They also want their government officials to have all these things at the top of their to get it done list, people want the government to work for their best interest, not always the politicians best interest. I am not saying that everything is perfect here in the U.S. because it isn’t. Our government at seemingly every level is only interested in their own bank accounts and getting reelected.

 

Depressing would be one way to describe the evil that saturates the worlds governments, and unfortunately the wonderful country of Russia and all of their people are in the Iron fist of a President that only seems to care about personal power and reforming a Communist Soviet Empire. When Mr Putin first took the reigns of power in Russia I had some high hopes for him and the Russian people because of the knowledge that his Mom was a Christ believing person even though he himself is an atheist.

 

I believe that the vast majority of the people in both of our countries want more than anything to live in peace with all nations and all people’s, but the current reality makes this hope quite futile. Mr Putin just like George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, in my opinion, are all guilty of mass murder and they all should be arrested by the ICC, taken the the Hague, and tried for their crimes against humanity. I do believe that because of our current, illegal unconstitutional actions in Syria that President Trump should be added to this list of international criminals along with Presidents Assad and Putin. President Putin seems far more interested in power and domination of people and their countries over peace and prosperity for his own people. Spies and military career type people very seldom manage to be effective peace-loving leaders who put the people’s well-being first. The American leaders (Bush, Cheney) had no legal Constitutional right to invade Iraq and the blood of the people will be upon their hands when they stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ. President Putin is guilty of the spilled blood all over Crimea and Ukraine.  President Putin seems to have set as his main agenda the reoccupation of the former Soviet Satellite countries even though it would have best served all people in the region to have good relations with their neighbors for the purpose of economic growth and prosperity for their people.

 

America and Russia should have enough good sense to forge economic and security ties with each other for the benefit of all their citizens. Divide and conquer has been a war strategy since evil first entered the heart of mankind. There is a war coming that neither Russia, the US, Europe, Asia, or any of the other nations on earth are going to be able to avoid and the blood will run high upon all the lands and I am not speaking about these fore mentioned conflicts. Every nation on Earth will suffer for the current stupidity and egos of many of the worlds leaders actions of today’s time. I will fully explain exactly what Armageddon is in a soon to come post, this is not what I am speaking about at this moment, but what is going on IS a major building block toward that direction.

 

If you as a person who lives in Russia, or China, should be able to understand, as should all our leaders, there is a real Cancer on their door steps called Islam and they will never stop attacking until all of us/you are dead. We the people of the freedom loving world, and I do include the people of all Nations, even if our so-called leaders are either blind, ignorant, or just plain evil, want to be able to live in peace, but that is not going to happen. I know that this is not going to happen, but until all people of the world insist that all people who serve/believe in Allah as a god are removed from all the non-Islamic Nations we will always have hate filled mass murderers among us. Our current President here in the US seems to be ignorant to these realities of the Islamic faith, makes me wonder if he is either ignorant, or a traitor to the ideals of our fore fathers here in America.

 

The Russian and American nations are now at a crossroad in human history. We can all forge strong economic and security ties along with all of Europe and Asia or we can rot from the cancer of ignorance and hate. Any military General knows that if you can infiltrate your target from the inside then you can have a much better chance of victory when you attack from the outside. The last count I know of said there are about 18 million Islamist living within the American borders. There is absolutely nothing that is peaceful about Islam, their prophet orders that all people of the earth must die who are not completely devoted to, and worshiping servants of Allah, and then the spoils of Jihad will be theirs. This so-called “war on terrorism” will never end until the Second Advent of Christ. Life as we in civilized society know it is soon going to explode, these current days are going to be the “good ole days” for our children and their children, and that is a sad reality.

 

I beg the leaders of all Nations to quit fighting against each other, to form strong peaceful relationships with each other. All nations badly need to cultivate all needed energy resources that will totally eliminate all oil imports from all Islamic nations and quit giving the Islamic leaders/worshipers the financial and physical means to kill you and your families with.  Allah is not God, I know that the believers of Islam do believe that they are worshiping God the Father but they are mistaken, they have been mislead. I admire the believers of the Islamic faith for their devoutness to their beliefs, they put the followers of most other religions to shame in that respect. The word Allah is a very old Arabic name for God the Father so believing that they are worshiping God is very understandable. The trouble is that their faith/religion has been high-jacked and it is not God whom they are actually worshiping. Allah is the THE Anti Christ, for those who follow him will lose their Souls, lives, and their countries to pure evil.

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