Jeff Sessions Own Church Charges Him With: Child Abuse, Immorality, Racism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE HILL’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Hundreds of members at Sessions’s church write formal complaint over immigration policy

More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church signed on to a letter Monday condemning Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant parents and children at the U.S. border.

In the letter, the group of churchgoers, including clergy and church leadership, accuse Sessions of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the doctrine of the United Methodist Church.

They note in the letter that Sessions is a member of Ashland Place United Methodist Church, in Mobile, Ala.

“While other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples, Mr. Sessions — as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position — is particularly accountable to us, his church,” the letter reads. “He is ours, and we are his. As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage.”

The letter comes as President Trump and his administration face backlash over its policy to separate migrant families.

Sessions announced the “zero tolerance” policy earlier this year, saying the Department of Justice would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S. As a result, families who crossed together would in some cases be separated, he said.

Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy, and administration officials have asserted that only Congress can fix the issue by passing immigration reform.

Members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the practice of separating families, while simultaneously urging Trump to unilaterally stop the separations.

Proof Of Trump’s Policy To Separate Children From Parents At Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE WASHINGTON INSIDER’)

 

Conclusive proof that it is Trump’s policy to separate children from their families at the border

Border Patrol Child Girl
A Honduran mother with her daughter shortly before the two were separated at the US-Mexico border.
John Moore/Getty Images
  • The Trump administration has repeatedly denied that its policy is to separate children from their parents when families cross the US border illegally.
  • But its own internal documents contradict that.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s website put out a press release on Friday saying it would separate children from their families.
  • A “zero tolerance” policy from Attorney General Jeff Sessions mandates that anyone illegally crossing the border be treated like a criminal.

The Trump administration has repeatedly sought to distance itself from its policy separating children from their parents when families cross the US border illegally, but its own internal documents contradict those efforts.

President Donald Trump had previously tried to blame the policy on Democrats, but over the weekend his secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, flat-out denied that such a policy existed.

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,” Nielsen tweeted.

But the Department of Homeland Security does separate children from their parents at the border, and it just put out a press release about it on Friday, explaining its new “zero tolerance” policy for border crossers.

From the DHS website:

“The Attorney General directed United States Attorneys on the Southwest Border to prosecute all amenable adults who illegally enter the country, including those accompanied by their children, for 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a), illegal entry.

“Children whose parents are referred for prosecution will be placed with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).”

Another FAQ section deals with questions including “Why Are Parents Being Separated From Their Children?”; “Where Are Children Going?”; and “What Happens to Children in HHS Custody?”

DHS separates families border children
An image of the memo from the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS.gov

The DHS made a step-by-step guide for detained adults who are trying to reach their children called “Next Steps for Families.”

Furthermore, the rise of facilities that house children separated from their families at the border during Trump’s administration has been well documented.

Nielsen’s real argument is that border crossers are criminals

friendship park us mexico border
Mexicans at the US-Mexico border fence on May 1, 2016, in Tijuana, Mexico.
Getty Images

Nielsen continued: “For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law.”

Unauthorized border crossings have always been illegal, but previous administrations did not criminally prosecute all border crossers the way Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has.

Detainees in the US who are charged with criminal wrongdoing have always been separated from their children; by treating all adult border crossers as criminals, Trump’s administration has therefore crafted a policy that leads families to be separated at the border.

Trump Says He Will Probably Support Marijuana Legalization Bill

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE)

 

Trump Defies Sessions by Saying He Will ‘Probably’ Support Marijuana Bill

The president appears to be joining a group of lawmakers pushing back on the attorney general’s marijuana policy

Could Trump really support a bill that would end federal marijuana prohibition? Evan Vucci/AP/REX Shutterstock

Before heading on a trip abroad that will take him to the G-7 summit in Canada on Friday, and then to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong-un early next Tuesday, President Trump hinted that he is likely to support a bill introduced Thursday that would protect state marijuana laws from federal interference. “I really do,” Trump said when asked outside the White House on Friday whether supports the bill, which was co-authored by Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado. “I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting it, yes.”

Though over half of all states have passed some form of legislation legalizing marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin, LSD and other drugs the government deem to have “no currently accepted medical use.” Marijuana business is growing rapidly in states where it is legal, but federal restrictions have led to a number of complications. Most banks, for instance, refuse to have relationships with marijuana-related companies, for fear prosecution from federal law enforcement.

“There are federal laws about not being able to put your money into banks if the money comes from illegal activities,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, who co-authored the bill with Gardner, explained Thursday morning on MSNBC. “So long as the sale of marijuana is illegal at the federal level, that means that marijuana stores that are perfectly legal in Colorado or Massachusetts or other states have to do an all-cash business. It’s dangerous and it’s dumb.”

The STATES – or Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States – Act would remove marijuana from the federal schedule of controlled substances in states where it is legal, and allow financial institutions to deal with marijuana businesses as long as those business are legal under state law. The Tenth Amendment reserves that states are in control of all “powers” not outlined in the Constitution. “Our founders intended the states to be laboratories of democracy and many states right now find themselves deep in the heart of that laboratory, but its created significant conflict between state law [and] federal law,” Gardner said alongside Warren as they introduced the bill on Thursday.

Though the bill would largely strip away federal influence from how states are able to enforce their marijuana laws, there are a few caveats. The bill holds that employees of marijuana businesses must be 18 years or older, and that recreational marijuana may only be sold to people 21 and over. It also stipulates that dispensaries may not be set up at rest stops along interstate highways.

Though the president has in the past voiced a desire to leave marijuana legalization up to the states, many have wondered if this latest expression of support may be a result of his intensifying feud with his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization and has used his position as the government’s chief legal authority to crack down on convictions related to the drug. In January, Sessions put an end to an Obama administration policy that limited the degree to which federal authorities could enforce marijuana law in states where the drug was legal. Gardner, whose home state of Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana, criticized the move immediately.

Cory Gardner

@SenCoryGardner

This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.

Cory Gardner

@SenCoryGardner

I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.

Gardner isn’t the only lawmaker pushing back against Sessions’s draconian stance on the drug, and those supporting reform have stressed the bipartisan nature of their efforts. In April, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and California Democrat Kamala Harris wrote a letter to the attorney general asking him to cease blocking research in to marijuana’s medicinal properties. As Gardner and Warren introduced the STATES bill on Friday, Representatives Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and David Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, introduced a companion bill in the House. At a news conference Thursday, Warren said, “lining them up like Noah’s Ark as they come on two-by-two,” in reference to her and Gardner’s desire to match each of the bill’s co-sponsors with one from the other party.

Despite the attorney general’s vigilant opposition to any form of legalized pot Gardner has said he’s received multiple assurances from President Trump that he would support a bill giving power back to the states, and the president’s comments Friday morning reinforce the belief that he will ultimately endorse the bill. Trump has in recent months made good on several controversial campaign promises, including removing American from the Iran deal and relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Marijuana reform could soon be added to the list.

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump told the Washington Post while campaigning back in 2015. “Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen – right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

Trump’s lies betray his desperation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

Column: 

Trump’s lies betray his desperation

Here’s what I hope Robert Mueller will conclude when he is done investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign: The president is innocent of criminal wrongdoing. He did not know of or approve contacts with Russians to influence the election. His interactions with FBI Director James Comey and other Justice Departmentofficials never rose to the level of obstructing justice.

But it would require an extraordinary faith in Trump’s character and a stubborn disregard for his behavior to expect that outcome. If there is one inference to be drawn from everything he has done with respect to the investigation and the Russian government, it’s that he suffers from a powerful consciousness of guilt.

The latest came in a tweet expressing bitter regret that he didn’t choose someone other than Jeff Sessions for attorney general — because Sessions recused himself and therefore can’t send Mueller packing. Trump doesn’t want a fair and impartial investigation; he wants no investigation.

He insists over and over that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. But we already have evidence there was — in the form of guilty pleas by Trump aides Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos for lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russians.

We have evidence in the 2016 meeting hosted by son Donald Jr. and attended by son-in-law Jared Kushner with a Russian lawyer who had promised information from the Kremlin incriminating Hillary Clinton. Meeting secretly with Russians in hopes of cooperating for mutual benefit is collusion, whether illegal or not.

This week, we got confirmation that the statement Donald Jr. issued — claiming the meeting was primarily about adoption issues — was dictated by his father. When The Washington Post reported that last year, the White House denied the story. In a memo to Mueller obtained by The New York Times, however, Trump’s lawyers admitted it was true.

Yet he has insisted that “nobody’s found any collusion at any level.” The assertion is not only false; it’s flagrantly, obviously false.

Over and over, Trump has resorted to complaints, attacks and deceptions. He fired Comey ostensibly because of how the director mishandled the investigation of Clinton. But Trump went on to say repeatedly that he did it because of the Russia probe. Recently, though, he tweeted, “I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” Lying is generally not a manifestation of innocence.

His shifting position on being interviewed under oath by Mueller likewise betrays him. When the question first was posed, Trump declared himself “100 percent” willing. Or maybe it’s zero percent. In January, his lawyers sent a letter to Mueller rejecting the idea.

“Your office clearly lacks the requisite need to personally interview the President,” they told him. “Having him testify demeans the Office of the President before the world.” One of his lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, added another reason for this reluctance, expressing concern that Mueller might “trap him into perjury.”

But someone who tells the truth is in no danger of committing perjury. What Trump might be in danger of is admitting to crimes that could lead to his indictment or impeachment.

Giuliani, however, has not ruled out that Trump, if subpoenaed, might invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. (Trump in 2016: “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”) Nor has Giuliani ruled out refusing to submit to a subpoena.

If that weren’t enough to indicate the president has a large pile of things to hide, Trump now claims the power to grant himself a full pardon. But a pardon would be necessary only if he is guilty of specific crimes.

It’s impossible to exaggerate his lawyers’ claims about his impunity. They say a president may not be indicted. Giuliani said Trump could not be indicted even “if he shot James Comey.”

The president can’t obstruct justice, his team insists, because the president has complete power over federal law enforcement. Anything he does in that realm is therefore legal.

Maybe his pattern of chutzpah and untruth is just the essence of his toxic character, which bubbles over no matter what. But more likely, the conduct of Trump and his attorneys reflects their knowledge that he is guilty of serious offenses and their fear that he will be exposed and punished. He looks like someone terrified of going to prison.

Even congressional Republicans say he won’t do anything so foolish as to fire Mueller or pardon himself. But desperate men do desperate things.

Steve Chapman, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/chapman.

[email protected]

Twitter @SteveChapman13

Trump again expresses regret for choosing Jeff Sessions as attorney general

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

(opinion)(Donald Trump is a far bigger crook and traitor than even Richard Nixon!)(oldpoet56)

Trump again expresses regret for choosing Jeff Sessions as attorney general

 0:40
Trump: Sessions made ‘a very terrible mistake for the country’

President Trump on April 9 said Attorney General Jeff Sessions made “a very terrible mistake for the country” by recusing himself from the Russia investigation. 

May 30 at 10:57 AM
President Trump said Wednesday that he wished he had picked someone other than Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, renewing a slight of the former senator who recused himself from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
In morning tweets, Trump quoted Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who during a Wednesday morning television interview on CBS voiced sympathy for Trump’s past expressions of frustration with Sessions’s recusal from the inquiry.
“If I were the president and I picked someone to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘Oh by the way, I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office,’ I would be frustrated too,” Gowdy said, according to Trump’s tweets. “There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!”
After that, Trump added, in his own voice: “And I wish I did!”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment about Trump’s assessment of Sessions. As president, Trump has the power to end Sessions’s employment at any time.


President Trump walks from the Oval Office across the South Lawn to board Marine One at the White House on Tuesday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Sessions, one of Trump’s biggest boosters during the 2016 campaign, recused himself in March 2017 from any investigations related to the campaign. The announcement came a day after The Washington Post revealed that Sessions had twice met with Sergey Kislyak, the U.S. ambassador to the United States, during the campaign and did not disclose that to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing in January.
Career lawyers at the Justice Department had advised Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, to step aside, citing ethics guidelines about impartiality and his role as a prominent Trump supporter.
Since then, Trump has repeatedly berated Sessions for his decision, at one point last summer calling it “very unfair” to him.
The New York Times reported Tuesday night that Trump, during a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida shortly after Sessions’s announcement, lambasted Sessions and told him he should reverse his decision, but Sessions refused.
Since that encounter, Trump has called Sessions “beleaguered,” among other derogatory terms, and questioned why the Justice Department has not been as aggressive about investigating Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, as it has his campaign.
Associates have said that Trump believes that if Sessions had not recused himself, a special counsel never would have been appointed to investigate possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
Trump’s response to the inquiry also has raised the possibility of obstruction of justice charges, which special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is investigating.
Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein after Sessions recused himself.
Trump’s tweets Wednesday come as he and his lawyers have been seeking to discredit Mueller’s investigation and have cast doubt on whether Trump will voluntarily submit to an interview by Mueller’s team.
On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said that he will not agree to an interview until prosecutors allow the president’s legal team to review documents related to the FBI’s use of a source to interact with members of Trump’s campaign.
In a separate television interview on Tuesday night, Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said the FBI was justified in using a secret informant to assist in the Russia investigation — an assessment at odds with Trump’s recent complaints that it amounted to illegal spying.
Gowdy attended a classified Justice Department briefing last week about the FBI’s use of the confidential source, identified as Stefan A. Halper, a former university professor.
Trump’s tweets Wednesday did not mention Gowdy’s comments about the informant.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Rep.Trey Gowdy, “I don’t think so, I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward. If I were the President and I picked someone to be the country’s….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office, I would be frustrated too…and that’s how I read that – Senator Sessions, why didn’t you tell me before I picked you…..

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” And I wish I did!

Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

How Medical Marijuana Reduces Opioid Use; Saves Lives, Money

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘INSURANCE JOURNAL’)

(SIMPLY PUT: JEFF SESSIONS AND DONALD TRUMP ARE IDIOTS AND MORONS ON POWER TRIPS)

How Medical Marijuana Reduces Opioid Use; Saves Lives, Money

By  | April 3, 2018

Medical marijuana laws could be a boon to those battling the opioid epidemic, according to researchers who have identified a link between increased access to medical marijuana and a reduction in opioid prescriptions.

The studies suggest medical marijuana laws (MMLs) have helped save and could continue to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars now being lost to opioid addiction.

There is a downside: The promise of MMLs in reducing opioid use shows up thus far in urban areas, but not in rural America.

The marijuana laws have an effect similar to when any replacement for a drug is introduced, say researchers. In this case, marijuana appears to be a substitute for opioids as a pain medication in many cases.

This week the JAMA’s Journal of Internal Medicine published two studies that conclude that medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) laws have the potential to reduce opioid prescriptions. One study looked at Medicare Part D patient data and the other at Medicaid enrollee data.

The Medicare study (Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population by Ashley C. Bradford, BA; W. David Bradford, PhD; Amanda Abraham, PhD; and Grace Bagwell Adams, PhD, at the University of Georgia) found that opioid prescriptions fell in states that permit medical marijuana. Prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year from an average of 23.08 million daily doses per year when a state instituted any medical cannabis law. Prescriptions for all opioids decreased by 3.742 million daily doses per year when medical cannabis dispensaries opened.

A second JAMA Journal study (Association of Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana Laws With Opioid Prescribing for Medicaid Enrollees, by Hefei Wen, PhD, and Jason M. Hockenberry, PhD, Department of Health Management & Policy, University of Kentucky College of Public Health) found that “medical and adult-use marijuana laws have the potential to reduce opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a segment of population with disproportionately high risk for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose.” Using Medicaid prescription data for 2011 to 2016, the researchers found lower opioid prescribing rates where there were medical marijuana laws (5.88 percent lower) and adult-use marijuana laws (6.38 percent lower).

One of the MML researchers, Dr. W. David Bradford, discussed his past and recent research into medical marijuana and opioid prescriptions as well as other research at the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) annual symposium last week in Boston.

Among Bradford’s observations: the effect of MMLs on lowering opioid prescribing, while encouraging, is not fairly distributed.

“All of this is happening in urban areas. We can find no benefit, in this or any of our studies in rural America. As is often the case, people in rural sections of the country are getting a little left out from innovations,” Bradford said.

Bradford is the George D. Busbee Chair in Public Policy at the University of Georgia and former director and founder of the Center for Health Economic Policy Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has been a visiting faculty member at Yale Medical School, and a tenured faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Bradford has over 70 publications.

Bradford and his fellow researchers, including his daughter who is also a professor, looked at whether medical marijuana is being used as a substitute for other pain medications including opioids, as well as the effect this usage has on spending and on opioid mortality.

“We wanted to compare changes in pain medication use for people in states that don’t have medical cannabis and how those changes compare to the changes for people in states with medical cannabis laws,” he said of their first foray into the field.

They considered whether the state allows home cultivation or requires dispensaries. With dispensary-based distribution, it’s a lot easier to have “surety of the supply, a lot easier to get very finely defined hybrids that have the particular mix of cannabinoids,” according to Bradford.

They reviewed Medicare Part D enrollee data from 2010 to 2014 and then later updated this to include 2015 data. The number of states with an MML grew from 15 in 2010 to 24 over these years. They compared physician prescriptions in states with and without an MML for nine drug groupings: anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity.

In their analysis, they found that the use of prescription pain drugs fell significantly after a medical marijuana law went into effect. There were 1,230 fewer annual doses for all pain medications for these conditions per physician under all medical marijuana laws. They found 2,338 fewer daily doses per year for dispensary-based laws and 1,193 fewer daily doses per year for home-cultivation-only laws.

In their recent follow-up research, they focused specifically on opioid prescriptions. They found about a nine percent reduction in opioid prescriptions under any MML – but a higher 14 percent reduction in states with dispensaries. There was about a seven percent reduction in home cultivation states.

As Bradford puts it, when MMLs are implemented, use of prescription drugs falls “just as would happen if any effective new drug were approved by the FDA [Federal Drug Administration].”

Bradford and his colleagues did similar research using Medicaid data and came to the same conclusion that MMLs reduce use of prescriptions and opioids.

However, one troubling finding is that nearly all of the effect is happening in counties with more than 50,000 residents. “There was no benefit for rural counties,” he said.

They also calculated the financial impact. The combined 2014 savings to Medicare and Medicaid were $1.04 billion for states that had MMLs. Bradford said this could have been savings of $3.4 billion if all states had an MML.

“So these are nontrivial savings to Medicaid and Medicare – about one and a half percent of prescription spending is possibly diverted away from the programs,” he said, noting that the enrollees are the ones paying for the marijuana, not the payers.

Opioid-Related Deaths

They also have conducted research that is under review on the effect of MMLs on opioid-related deaths, using data on all non-heroin opiate related deaths for all 3,144 counties in the U.S. from 2000 to 2015. For all prescription opioid related deaths, they found: statistically significant reductions in mortality associated with any MML for all years from 2010 to 2015 in all counties together and no statistically significant effects in rural counties. For only non-synthetic opioid related deaths (i.e., no fentanyl) they found statistically significant reductions in mortality associated with any MML and with dispensary-based laws for all years from 2010 to 2015 in all counties together.

“We’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of a 20 to 30 percent reduction in mortality over what it would be,” Bradford said.

Bradford referred to a 2014 study by researchers at Albert Einstein Medical School in New York that also found a connection between MML states and a reduction in opioid deaths. This study (Study on the relationship between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose deaths) reviewed 1999-2010 data from 23 states with MMLs. The authors compared opioid overdose death rates in states with medical cannabis programs to overdose deaths rates in states with no cannabis laws. They found about a 25 percent reduction, which translated to an estimated 1,729 fewer deaths than expected. The authors excluded opioid deaths from suicide and included overdose deaths related to heroin, since heroin and prescription opioid use are interrelated for some individuals.

“It looks like access to cannabis, when you design the policies appropriately, can save both lives and money,” Bradford told the WCRI audience.

“But again, in rural counties, there is zero estimated effect. We’re not finding any benefit in terms of mortality for the rural counties,” he reiterated.

Federal Marijuana Policy

Currently cannabis is listed in the Controlled Substances Act under Schedule 1, which means that it is a drug along with LSD, peyote heroin and others that have been “deemed to have no medically recognized uses and a high potential for abuse and therefore completely illegal.” It’s the most restrictive category. Physicians cannot prescribe cannabis, people cannot possess it, no one can sell it under federal law.

The view that marijuana has no medically recognized uses was challenged in January of 2017, when the National Academy of Scientific Engineering and Medicine published what Bradford considers a landmark study. The NAS reviewed more than 10,000 peer-reviewed clinical publications to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to draw conclusions regarding the medical application of cannabis.

“What they concluded is that there is indeed conclusive evidence that there are benefits to cannabis for chronic pain in adults, for nausea associated with chemotherapy and for spasticity and seizures. There is moderate evidence for many other conditions,” Bradford said.

The 2017 NAS report is “quite good evidence that cannabis is useful and, of course, what this implies is that a fine reading of the Controlled Substances Act would reschedule cannabis away from Schedule 1 and then to probably a 3 or a 4. That would be a level that physicians could prescribe it and could get involved.”

The Trump Administration has taken a harder line against legalized marijuana than did the Obama Administration, thereby complicating how medical marijuana laws and usage may play out. Currently 29 states and D.C., representing two-thirds of the U.S. population, have some form of medical cannabis law that runs counter to federal policy.

Public opinion on the subject has largely been supportive of legalizing marijuana for medical use. A January Quinnipiac Poll found that 91 percent of Americans support allowing people with their doctor’s assistance to get access to cannabis. The same poll found voters oppose 70 to 23 percent enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Workers’ Comp Reimbursement

The workers’ compensation industry has generally been focused on the impact of medical marijuana on employees and safety in the workplace. As Bradford noted, patients, not insurers, are typically the ones now paying for their medical marijuana, even where it is a replacement for an opioid prescription.

There have been several court decisions approving reimbursement by health insurers or self-insured employers but for the most part states have remained silent on the matter of if and when reimbursement by an insurer or workers’ compensation carrier is allowed or required.

However, even in this uncertain legal environment, medical marijuana is gaining traction as an accepted treatment paid for by workers’ compensation, at least anecdotally, according to experts in a recent Claims Journal interview.

Brian Allen, vice president of government affairs for Mitchell, and Mark Pew, senior vice president of PRIUM, a division of Genex Services, said there is some reimbursement for medical marijuana being done on a voluntary basis when it is deemed a reasonable and necessary treatment. “The decision is really based on whether that patient is achieving benefit from it,” Pew said.

Pew said that carriers paying for medical marijuana treatment are not necessarily making it public.

When such cases reach courts, Allen thinks judges will be reluctant to get in the middle of a doctor-patient relationship. “I think the courts are going to defer to the doctors every time,” said Allen.

Pew agrees. “I think any court is probably going to lean towards the anecdotal story of the individual patient and if it’s helping with their pain and it’s reasonable and necessary based on the advice of doctors in that state,” he told Claims Journal. “I would assume that most states are going to come to that same conclusion.”

While marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, the Trump Administration has indicated that marijuana enforcement will be at the discretion of local assistant U.S. attorneys. Allen believes it’s unlikely they will pursue a medical marijuana case, unless there is some “egregious abuse.”

Both agree that for marijuana to become a more widely accepted alternative to opioids, researchers will have to shed light on the drug’s side effects. “They talk about the pluses. We really don’t hear a lot about the minuses, and we know there are some out there,” Allen said.

Pew believes more research needs to be done into the many chemicals within marijuana. “Just saying we’re going to reclassify marijuana or make it legal — it’s much more complicated,” Pew said.

Related:

FBI: Andrew McCabe speaks out in op-ed after firing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Andrew McCabe speaks out in op-ed after firing

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is speaking out over he was apparently fired from the bureau for a “lack of candor.” McCabe authored an op-ed published in the Washington Post Friday night, claiming those accusations are “not true.”

“Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe wrote.

McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions two days before he could retire, after FBI officials recommended that he be fired. McCabe is expected to be the subject of criticism in an upcoming Department of Justice Inspector General report.

“I have been accused of ‘lack of candor,'” McCabe wrote. “That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators. When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.

At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted — and for that I take full responsibility. But that is not a lack of candor. And under no circumstances could it ever serve as the basis for the very public and extended humiliation of my family and me that the administration, and the president personally, have engaged in over the past year.”

McCabe’s firing last week was not unexpected. But it was how he was fired that the former FBI official found disconcerting. McCabe claimed he learned he was fired after a friend called to to tell him the news from TV.

“So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way — third-hand, based on a news account,” McCabe wrote. “Shortly after getting word, I noticed an email from a Justice Department official in my work account, telling me that I had been ‘removed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the civil service.'”

McCabe said he awoke to a tweet from President Trump praising his firing.

“I was sad, but not surprised, to see that such unhinged public attacks on me would continue into my life after my service to the FBI,” McCabe wrote. “President Trump’s cruelty reminded me of the days immediately following the firing of James B. Comey, as the White House desperately tried to push the falsehood that people in the FBI were celebrating the loss of our director.”

Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!

McCabe said young people cannot be “dissuaded” from public service by the “divisive politics and partisan attacks that now so characterize our national discourse.”

“There is nothing like having the opportunity to be a part of the greatest law-enforcement organization in the world, working every day for goals that you respect and cherish,” McCabe said. “It is the best job you will ever have. Even if a president decides to attack you and your family. Even if you get fired on a Friday night, one day from your retirement.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that McCabe had overseen a criminal probe investigating whether Sessions was untruthful in congressional testimony last year about his contacts with Russians. A Justice Department official claimed Sessionsdid not learn of the probe until it was reported this week, after McCabe’s firing.

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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.

Trump calls out Sessions over ‘disgraceful’ handling of FISA probe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump calls out Sessions over ‘disgraceful’ handling of FISA probe

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly chastised Attorney General Jeff Sessions over an investigation into alleged surveillance abuses.

The scathing tweet is the latest in a long line of public rebukes the President has leveled against his attorney general, a man who broke with much of his party to endorse Trump early in his presidential run.
“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc,” Trump wrote. “Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”
Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department is looking at whether the FBI has properly handled applications for surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Sessions, appearing at a news conference announcing a new opioid task force, was asked about House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ controversial memo outlining purported surveillance abuses and told reporters that “the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he’ll deal with.”
The Justice Department’s inspector general is Michael E. Horowitz, a longtime department official who has worked under Republican and Democrat administrations. He was confirmed for the inspector general job in 2012 under then-President Barack Obama.
While Trump is correct that Horowitz does not have prosecutorial powers, he can — and often does — make criminal referrals to the Justice Department based on his investigations. An investigation into improper FISA use would fall squarely onto Horowitz, too, given his charge instructs him to “investigate alleged violations of criminal and civil laws by DOJ employee.”

Latest attack on Sessions

Sessions under renewed scrutiny over Russia

Trump’s anger toward Sessions stems from his decision to recuse himself from all investigations into the 2016 campaign, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives bent on meddling in the election. Sessions made that decision after he did not fully answer questions during his confirmation hearing about his conversations with Russian diplomats during the 2016 campaign. Trump, in turn, has said he wouldn’t have named Sessions to lead the Justice Department had he known he would have recused himself.
That animosity has played out publicly ever since.
Trump pestered Sessions for not looking into Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, slammed him for being “very weak” on Clinton’s “crimes” and labeled him “beleaguered” in July.
As pressure mounted on Sessions last year, his standing in the administration appeared untenable to people inside the West Wing. During the first six months of Trump’s presidency, Trump asked for Sessions’ resignation, called the attorney general an “idiot” but then later declined to accept his attorney general’s resignation letter.
Sessions has so far weathered the incessant incoming from the White House and sources close to the attorney general have told CNN that he is unlikely to go anywhere soon. But the saga between the two top Republicans has played out in public for much of Trump’s first year in office and the President’s chronic antipathy towards the top law enforcement official has defined Trump’s view of the Justice Department.
Trump’s anger boiled over in June, too, when the President pushed then-chief of staff Reince Priebus to obtain Sessions’ resignation, according sources familiar with the exchange. Priebus later said that he talked Trump out of the firing.
The latest chapter in the saga between Trump and Sessions came just one week ago, when Trump challenged Sessions to launch an investigation into the Obama administration for failing to do enough to stop the 2016 election foreign interference.
“Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation?” Trump asked. “Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!”

GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Fiery Senate speech on pot spotlights GOP Sen. Cory Gardner

GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal

  
  • Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, broke with his party twice recently
  • He plays a key role as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee

Washington (CNN)When famous marijuana advocates come to mind, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is not typically on that list.

After all, he opposed his own state’s initiative to legalize pot in 2012.
But the first-term senator has since defended Colorado’s decision, and in the past 24 hours he’s become the face of a bipartisan effort that has him butting heads with the Trump administration.
At 8:58 a.m. ET Thursday, Gardner learned through Twitter of a Justice Department decision that would soon lead him to the Senate floor with a fiery speech railing against the attorney general.
He was furious that Jeff Sessions had rescinded a memo that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws. Critics, like Gardner, say the move violates states’ rights and causes uncertainty in legal marijuana industries.
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It also goes against a campaign promise that Donald Trump made in 2016, when he told a Colorado news station the state should be allowed to keep observing its marijuana laws. “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person,” Trump said at the time. “I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”
On the Senate floor Thursday, the usually mild-mannered Gardner was outraged, calling the decision “a trampling of Colorado’s rights, its voters.” He vowed to put a hold on every Justice Department nominee until Sessions reverses course.
He also said the decision by Sessions broke a personal pledge the former Alabama senator had made to Gardner before his confirmation last year: “I would like to know from the attorney general: What changed?”
Gardner spoke briefly with Sessions by phone afterward and the two men plan to meet soon, according to a Gardner aide.
It was the second time in recent months that the senator has very publicly gone against members of his party.
But Gardner, who hails from a state with a libertarian streak, is still a largely reliable vote for Republicans. He holds a leadership position in the caucus as chief of the Senate GOP campaign arm. Despite landing in the headlines recently for challenging those in his own party, it’s unlikely he’ll join the small chorus of Republicans who’ve become outspoken critics of President Trump, a la Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Still, it was just months ago that Gardner led the risky charge to expel a potential Republican colleague.
As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he released a bombshell of a statement in November shortly after The Washington Post reported allegations of sexual abuse against Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in the Alabama US Senate special election.
Gardner said if Moore “refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him.” While many Republicans in the Senate urged Moore to drop out of the race, none of them had publicly gone as far as Gardner in saying Moore should be expelled if he were elected.
Even when the Republican National Committee decided to resume its support for Moore’s campaign, despite cutting ties just weeks earlier, Gardner and the NRSC held fast. “Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee,” Gardner told The Weekly Standard. “I won’t let that happen. Nothing will change. I stand by my previous statement.”
When Moore was defeated days later in an upset win by Democrat Doug Jones, Gardner didn’t need to follow through with his call to expel Moore: “Tonight’s results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the US Senate.”
Gardner has also joined Flake and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in working heavily with Democrats to pursue a deal on immigration — and has stood apart from his party leadership in supporting Graham and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin’s legislation that would make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program permanent.
Elected to the Senate in 2014, Gardner, 43, was previously a two-term US congressman and a member of the Colorado House of Representatives. He served as a congressional staffer early in his career.
In the Senate, he’s sought to build up his foreign policy credentials as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a focus on North Korea. He is also a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee.
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