Lawmakers Ask White House to Delay Kratom Ban, Claiming Improper Procedure

Dozens of Democratic and Republican lawmakers are calling on the White House to thwart the Drug Enforcement Administration’s moves to ban kratom, claiming the herbal opioid substitute was rescheduled in violation of procedural law. The lawmakers, organized by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), asked Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan on Monday to “use your statutory authority” to the delay implementation of the rule change. Fifty-one US Representatives, including 22 Republicans, signed the letter, according to The Huffington Post. Under… Keep Reading


Intelligence Whistleblower Award Created By Obama Administration

The intelligence community is establishing an award to recognize whistleblowers, according to a report on open government released last week by the White House. Intelligence officials will now be recognized for “effectuating change by speaking truth to power, by exemplifying professional integrity, or by reporting wrongdoing through appropriate channels,” according to the paper. As Steven Aftergood noted in Secrecy News on Monday, there are already more than a dozen awards regularly given out to members of the intelligence community, but none are for flagging malfeasance.… Keep Reading


Climate Denier Ad Blitz Targets Influential D.C. Court

Radio ads are blanketing the nation’s capital ahead of proceedings in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case that could, literally, determine the fate of the world. On Tuesday, the appellate court will hear oral arguments in a suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan—the Obama administration’s proposal to thwart rising global temperatures. The initiative would cut carbon emissions by nearly one-third by 2030 by imposing emissions caps on new plants. It is strongly opposed, however, by twenty-four states and the… Keep Reading

al franken glasses 2016

Saudi Apologia Beginning to Crack in the Senate

The bloody Saudi-led bombing of Yemen is having an effect on the psyche of US Senators, with more than a quarter of the upper chamber on Wednesday calling for a halt to weapons shipments to the Kingdom. Twenty-seven Senators voted in support of a resolution condemning a scheduled $1.15 billion arms transfer to Saudi Arabia that was announced last month. Although the resolution failed, the roll call vote was a sign that Riyadh’s inhumane bombing campaign in Yemen is fraying relations in Washington. “[The] very fact… Keep Reading

Vice President Joe Biden

Biden: Ramming TPP Through Lame Duck “Our Only Real Shot”

Vice President Joe Biden said that “our only real shot” of Congress approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a vote during the upcoming lame duck session. Biden made the remarks on Wednesday at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, while conceding the agreement has a “less than even chance” of passage. “Sometimes when there’s no election to face and people are leaving and others who are staying, they may see the wisdom of TPP,” said Biden, according to Reuters. One consideration might involve post-Congressional… Keep Reading

electronic voting machines

Legislation Introduced to Designate Voting Machines as “Critical Infrastructure”

Reacting to concerns about the integrity of elections in the US, one Democratic lawmaker has put forward a measure to provide federal cybersecurity protections to all voting machines. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced the Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act on Wednesday. The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to classify election systems around the country as “critical infrastructure.” The department identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the US that receive enhanced cybersecurity assistance from the federal government. They include water treatment facilities, energy… Keep Reading

Bayer and Monsanto logos

Seventy Percent of Worldwide Farm Tech To Be Controlled By Two Firms, If Mega-Mergers Approved

The proposed mergers between Monsanto and Bayer and Dow Chemical and Dupont would create a duopoly that controls 70 percent of the entire world’s agricultural technology market, according to testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The claim was made Tuesday by the president of a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting cartel behavior, at a hearing alongside executives from the four companies. Diana Moss, head of the American Antitrust Institute, noted that the plans to merge are already occurring amid “increasingly high prices paid by farmers… Keep Reading

New York City on September 11 2001

Democrats Having Second Thoughts on JASTA

Lawmakers who unanimously backed a bill that would allow terrorism lawsuits against foreign governments that aren’t officially considered sponsors of terror are starting to rethink their support, in response to fierce White House opposition to the legislation. President Obama is expected to veto the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) this week. In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised votes next week to override the presidential veto. JASTA was passed by unanimous consent in both chambers, though some lawmakers are now beginning to… Keep Reading

Wells Fargo sign

“Too Big to Manage…Too Big to Regulate” — Senators Say Wells Fargo Shows Need to Break Up Banks

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about the massive bank’s management practices. Instead, some questioned if the firm should even legally exist. Stumpf apologized for recent revelations about the bank, which was found to have opened more than 2 million accounts in their customers names, without proper authorization, to boost sales numbers. But he stressed that the wrongdoing was carried out by “only one percent” of the bank’s total workforce of 100,000 employees. Senators… Keep Reading

Trail of Tears in Tennessee

Watchdog Demands Probe of U.S. Forest Service’s Trail of Tears Desecration

A Washington, DC-based oversight group is demanding a federal probe into how a nearly a mile long section of the Trail of Tears was ripped up during an unauthorized construction project at the sacred site. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a complaint with the Department of Agriculture’s Secretary and Inspector General, calling for an investigation into the US Forest Service, which oversaw the damage to the historic trail. “This is one the most blatant official desecrations of a sacred site in modern American… Keep Reading

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie arms crossed

Trump Sticking With Christie As Transition Team Head, Despite Bridgegate Revelations

Donald Trump said that he would stick with Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) as the leader of his transition team, the day after federal prosecutors said that Christie was aware of a 2013 bridge closure, which had been ordered in retaliation for the lack of a political endorsement. In a statement made to The New York Times, the Republican Presidential nominee lauded Christie, giving no indication he would drop the embattled governor. “I have known and liked Chris for 15 years,” Trump said. “After his recent… Keep Reading

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