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Urine Samples Required From Welfare Recipients In Just-Passed TN Bill

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Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield‘s bill requiring drug testing — presumably, urine tests — for welfare recipients was just passed in the Senate by a 24-9 margin. Applicants for TANF — Temporary Assistance For Needy Families — may have to be drug-tested first if they might be drug users, now or in the future. It’s unclear who would make that determination, or what the basis for that determination might be…

It’s unknown when the Tennessee House will vote on the bill, or if the Governor will sign it.

It seems Campfield, best-known as the sponsor of Tennessee’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, might fail a reading test just as quickly as he might fail a math test, because Campfield apparently either couldn’t or couldn’t be bothered to read last week’s New York Times article, “No Savings Are Found From Welfare Drug Tests“:

Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data.

“Many states are considering following Florida’s example, and the new data from the state shows they shouldn’t,” said Derek Newton, communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which sued the state last year to stop the testing and recently obtained the documents. “Not only is it unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy, but it doesn’t save money, as was proposed.”

This week, Georgia instituted a nearly identical law, with supporters saying it would foster greater personal responsibility and save money. As in Florida, the law is expected to draw a legal challenge. The Southern Center for Human Rights, based in Atlanta, said it expected to file a lawsuit once the law takes effect in the next several months. A number of other states are considering similar bills.

The Florida civil liberties group sued the state last year, arguing that the law constituted an “unreasonable search” by the government, a violation of the Fourth Amendment. In issuing a temporary injunction in October, Judge Mary S. Scriven of Federal District Court scolded lawmakers and said the law “appears likely to be deemed a constitutional infringement.”

From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.

Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.

As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.

And the testing did not have the effect some predicted. An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.

What the Times article neglected to mention is that Florida Governor Rick Scott is a co-founder of — and he or his family likely have a financial interest in — the company hired to do the drug testing. Nifty, huh?

But, we digress.

Back to Tennessee State Senator Stacey “Don’t Say Gay“ Campfield’s drug bill.

“If the bills are passed it would mean welfare recipients would have to go through a screening process before being approved for benefits,” a report yesterday in the Examiner states. “If it appears as though an applicant has used drugs in the past or that they would use drugs in the future, then they would have to submit to a drug test before being approved.”

Think about that. Republicans go nuts when they hear the term “hate crime.” They hate the very idea of hate crime legislation so much one lawmaker attempted to get the name of the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Bill changed to the Matthew Shephard Thought Crimes Bill.

Yet Campfield thinks he can determine which welfare applicants might use drugs, now or in the future?

Sounds a little like Campfield would want to, say, give a kid a maturity test before entering kindergarten.

Then there’s this from a local Nashville news channel:

One local man has issued a challenge to lawmakers : take the same drug test they are proposing making welfare families submit to.

Alex Friedman spent the day Monday on Capitol Hill challenging every State Senator and every State Representative to take the same test that Tennessee residents applying for welfare might be asked to take.

Back to Tennessee State Senator Stacey “Don’t Say Gay” Campfield, whose math skills are as dull as his reading skills.

Campfield, you’ll remember, is the lawmaker who was kicked out of a local Knoxville, Tennessee restaurant in response to his comments about how HIV/AIDS originated from a gay guy “screwing a monkey.”

Campfield actually had gone on the Michelangelo Signorile radio show and did math in his head and concluded, falsely, that it is “virtually impossible” to contract HIV via heterosexual sex.

Which is the other reason he got kicked out of that Knoxville restaurant.

Now, if only we could come up with a test that would get him kicked out of the Tennessee  Senate.

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OPINION

Speaker Johnson: Marjorie Taylor Greene Turned Me Into a ‘Mental Health Counselor’

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Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the House, admitted to a local Louisiana radio station talk show that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and some others in the GOP conference force him to spend “half” his day “as a mental health counselor.”

Appearing on KEEL’s “Mike & McCarthy” show, as Daily Mail reported, Speaker Johnson on Tuesday was asked if he and the far-right Christian nationalist congresswoman had “kissed and made up” after she tried to oust him in a dramatically failed “motion to vacate.”

“Oh good grief. You know me, I don’t I don’t carry grudges,” Johnson replied. “I don’t you know, you know, I don’t keep a record of wrongs. I went up to her right after her ridiculous tirade and said, ‘You know what, still gotta work together, Marjorie. … How about training some of that energy against the Democrats?'”

“Look. This is all gonna work out. I spend half my day as Speaker of the House and the other half as a mental health counselor,” getting everybody “through their issues.”

Daily Mail also reported that “in November, McCarthy had a piece of advice for his successor: ‘Bring in a psychiatrist for many of these members.'”

READ MORE: ‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

In addition to his remarks about the Georgia Republican, Speaker Johnson went after President Joe Biden.

Asked about the southern border, Johnson defended House Republicans, insisting, “we’ve been fighting since Joe Biden walked into the Oval Office and started issuing executive orders to open it wide.

That’s false, there are no executive orders “to open it wide.”

He also ignored how in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans worked for months and came together to craft a tough immigration and border security bill that was supported by President Biden, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators on both sides of the aisle – until Donald Trump killed it.

Johnson appeared uninterested in working with Democrats, whom he said he told Congresswoman Greene to fight.

He also insisted House Republicans have been “fighting tooth and nail” against Democrats.

“Here’s the problem. Everybody has to remember. We have the smallest majority and only one chamber of Congress and I have a one vote margin, right,” Johnson lamented. “So I can pass things in the House. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna become law, because the progressive Democrats run the White House and the Senate and so we sit over our legislation, we pass resolutions. We impeached Secretary Mayorkas at Department of Homeland Security. First time a Cabinet Secretary has been impeached in the history of the United States.”

That too is false. In 1876 the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Secretary of War William Belknap.

Johnson also falsely claimed President Biden and the Democrats “wanted us to not fund the government and [to] shut it down. Because they know that [would be] blamed on Republicans, it would be very painful for the American people and then that would that would make sure that we lost the House majority, the narrow majority that we have, in November.”

During Speaker Johnson’s tenure and during his predecessor’s, Democrats joined with Republicans to keep the federal government open and running, while far-right extremists, including Rep. Greene, wanted to shut it down.

One fact Speaker Johnson neglected to mention: Democrats saved his job when Congresswoman Greene tried to oust him.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

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News

‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

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A prosecutor in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s state prosecution of Donald Trump is being praised for his closing argument Tuesday by a top legal scholar who says the ex-president’s crime was “arguably the biggest felony in American history.”

Trump is on trial in lower Manhattan, facing 34 felony counts. Lawfare’s Anna Bower had summed up the case earlier on Tuesday: “Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records in order to commit or cover-up a conspiracy to promote his election to the Presidency by ‘unlawful means.'”

Calling his closing argument “devastating,” Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a professor of law and top constitutional scholar, quoted New York prosecutor Josh Steinglass.

READ MORE: ‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

“This scheme could very well be what got President Trump elected,” Steinglass told the jury.

Professor Tribe then remarked: “Think this was a minor crime? Think again! It was arguably the biggest felony in American history. Certainly the most harmful.”

MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang offered some background.

Referring to AMI, then the parent company of the National Enquirer, she writes:

“STEINGLASS: Once AMI purchased stories on a candidate’s behalf and in coordination with the campaign, those purchases became unlawful campaign contributions. I suggest to you that the value of this corrupt bargain at the Trump Tower meeting cannot be overstated. It turned out to be one of the most valuable contributions ever made…. ‘This scheme, cooked up by these men…could very well be what got President Trump elected…'”

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

 

 

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News

‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will be removed from overseeing the trial in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Espionage Act case against Donald Trump, predicts a top constitutional scholar who is calling her rejection of an urgent request from federal prosecutors to place additional restrictions on the ex-president “wildly lawless,” and a “smoking gun.”

Last week Donald Trump, his campaign, and almost immediately his supporters, falsely claimed President Joe Biden had tried to assassinate the ex-president in 2022 when FBI agents executed a legal and lawful search warrant on Mar-a-Lago. Trump had been storing well over 1000 White House items he had taken, including hundreds of classified documents, at his Florida residence and resort. Among those were some of the nation’s top nuclear secrets.

In a fundraising email one week ago Trump’s campaign claimed, “Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.” Trump was out of state when the FBI entered Mar-a-Lago. Federal agents had conferred with Secret Service, and had planned for the search warrant to be executed when the ex-president was not at the club.

READ MORE: ‘The State is Not God’: DeSantis Paid Educators to Teach ‘Christian Nationalism’ Report Says

“Cannon’s wildly lawless rejection of Special Counsel Smith’s clearly correct request for a gag order against fake and dangerous claims that the FBI was ordered to assassinate him is good news,” declared University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe, a professor of law and top constitutional scholar who wrote a major textbook on the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s the smoking gun that will finally lead to her removal from the stolen secrets case,” Professor Tribe added.

Not responding to the substance of the Special Counsel’s request to order the ex-president to not make any statements that could be dangerous to law enforcement, Judge Cannon instead rejected the motion on the grounds Smith’s attorneys should have conferred with Trump’s attorneys before making the request, as ABC News reports.

“The Government moves to modify defendant Donald J. Trump’s conditions of release, to make clear that he may not make statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” federal prosecutors wrote in the filing that Judge Cannon rejected.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

While the Special Counsel’s prosecutors did confer with Trump’s attorney, Judge Cannon claimed their efforts were “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy,” according to ABC News. “Trump’s lawyers argued that the special counsel violated Local Rule 88.9, which says both parties must ‘meet and confer’ before flings motions so the court and the parties’ time is used efficiently. In a filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked Cannon to strike the special counsel’s request and impose sanctions on any prosecutors involved in filing their motion.”

Trump’s attorney had wanted to delay any meeting to confer over the issue until Monday, but federal prosecutors, concerned about Trump’s recent remarks, said they could not wait.

“As we also tried to explain earlier, our judgment was that the situation your client has created necessitated a prompt request for relief that could not wait the weekend to file,” Special Counsel prosecutor David Harbach told Trump’s lawyers via email, according to ABC News. “We understand your position and represented to the court that you do not believe the government has engaged in adequate conferral here.”

READ MORE: Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

 

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