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Sessions ‘surprised’ Americans think the drug war is dumb


Attorney General Jeff Sessions loves the federal drug war– so much so that he’s working on a plan to go after states which have legalized marijuana in recent years. Despite his zeal to rid the nation of dangerous pot smokers, the AG recently admitted he is a little bummed that more Americans aren’t down with the nanny state.

During a speaking engagement at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on Tuesday, Sessions referenced the swift public backlash that emanated recently as a result of his tough talk on marijuana reform.

“When they nominated me for attorney general, you would have thought the biggest issue in America was when I said, ‘I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if they sell marijuana at every corner grocery store,’” Sessions said, according to a report in AZ Central. “(People) didn’t like that; I’m surprised they didn’t like that.”

Sessions, however, artfully minimized the extent to which he evidently wishes to reverse gains made by marijuana legalization advocates in recent years.

Currently, justice Department officials acting under the attorney general’s commands are reviewing the Cole Memorandum, a set of 2013 guidelines key to keeping federal drug enforcers from harassing marijuana businesses and users in legal pot states.

The Cole Memo, along with FinCEN guidelines adopted under the Obama administration, were heralded as the end of aggressive federal marijuana enforcement efforts that would allow state legalization experiments to run their course.

And as we previously reported, governors hailing from the first four states to legalize marijuana recently sent a letter to Sessions asking him to leave the guidelines, which are used as the basis for many of those states’ marijuana regulatory efforts, alone.

Still, Sessions maintains that marijuana is a dangerous drug. His argument, however, is focused less on the effects the plant has on end users than it is his belief that marijuana trade enriches violent criminals.

And that gets to the heart of what people are actually reacting to when they denounce Sessions’ anti-pot position.

Sessions has appointed former federal prosecutor and cop Steven Cook as one of his top advisers at the Justice Department. You probably haven’t heard much about Cook to date — but you certainly will be getting to know him as the Sessions DOJ irons out its criminal justice style.

That’s because Cook is a staunch supporter of the tough crime policies which dominated in the 1980s and 90s. Those policies brought things like an exaggerated focus on drug quantity in possession cases and the steep mandatory minimum sentencing requirements that are much to blame with the nation’s sprawling prison population.

Later reviews of the policies concerning drug possession revealed that lawmakers at the time had little understanding of just how harshly the laws they were making would affect small time users.

Here’s how Eric Sterling, who served as chief counsel to the House as lawmakers created some of the nation’s toughest drug laws in the mid-80s, put it in a 1999 interview with This American Life:

The numbers that we picked in the Judiciary Committee, the 20 grams of crack cocaine, would have triggered a five-year federal minimum. The Republicans in the Senate dropped the 20 grams to five grams and raised the– from 5 years to 40 years because the Republicans were going to be tougher.

There was, again, no sense of, it’s not a large quantity of drugs from a consumption point of view. It’s a very small quantity. And these are folks who have really no clear sense of the dynamics of the business enough to make a just determination. When you’re just picking a number–

Sterling was so disgusted by the legislative one-upmanship that was behind laws that would certainly ruin the lives of many people who’d committed largely victim-less crimes that he went on to quit his job and found the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. The organization is a leading voice in the argument against doubling down on failed prohibition and incarceration efforts in attempts to stem the violence associated with the illegal drug trade.

Sessions and Cook are pushing in exactly the opposite direction. And there concern with liberalized state marijuana policies shouldn’t be at all surprising.

Sessions’ key argument for harsh drug laws, remember, is that the drug trade is steeped in violence. But state initiatives to legalize pot are revealing that the violence is not a symptom of the substances; it’s a consequence of prohibition policies.

As the libertarian CATO Institute points out:

It’s true that the black market for drugs relies on cash transactions and violence, but Cook and Sessions ignore the obvious implication. The drug market has to rely on cash transfers and violence because drugs are illegal. Drug market violence is a function of the market’s illegality, not of the drugs themselves. The same was true of alcohol distributors under prohibition. In 2017 if two alcohol distributors have a dispute, they settle it in court. If two alcohol distributors in 1929 had a dispute, they settled it on the street corner with Tommy guns and Molotov cocktails.

What’s worse about marijuana legalization for an anti-drug crusader like Sessions is that the government’s stereotype of a pot user falls apart when a bunch of middle management types or elderly pain suffers can buy the drug legally in a corner store.

The result of widespread changing attitudes about marijuana would ultimately be an entire rethinking of U.S. drug policy. For Sessions and others with similar professional backgrounds, that’s terrifying stuff. They aren’t afraid that the U.S. would fully legalize even the most dangerous substances creating chaos, crime and widespread death. What attorneys-turned-government-officials fear the most are criminal justice reforms that remove hefty charges for users. Prohibition, you see, creates a steady stream of revenue for the legal profession– members of which are disproportionately represented in government.

Think about it for a minute. Harsh drug policies currently make the government money and they make lawyers money, so obviously– despite drug war laws– they’re making dealers money. Drug dealing is a risky business, so it’s lucrative. Government creates the risk and the drug price inflation.

But take away government prosecution of drug possession and what exactly happens? Do the streets become overrun with murderers and passed out junkies? Nope. Murder, violence, theft, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, failing to care for offspring, etc. all remain illegal. Although, we’d likely see a drop in commission of those crimes because we’d have a smaller population of desperate people whose options are limited by the red X of past drug convictions. Diverting even a small portion of the funds currently used for the drug war to rehabilitation programs would further reduce that population.

There would, of course, remain many people who aren’t able to fully cope with the responsibility that goes along with total personal liberty — but it’s not as if that’s a problem government intervention has ever solved in the past. Insisting that the government can keep people from becoming addicts is simply dishonest. And it’s time for tough crime crusaders to admit that isn’t the goal.

But don’t look to Sessions in the search of the voice of reason.

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs is bad,” he said last month. “It will destroy your life.”

If he wants to be more accurate to his intention, Sessions probably should have said: Our nation needs to say clearly once again that it will destroy your life for using drugs.

Source: Will County News

Camp Invention returns to Homer 33C Sign up by May 1 and save $15

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

April 20, 2017

 

Camp Invention returns to Homer 33C

Sign up by May 1 and save $15

 

Students entering grades K-6 will have an opportunity to create an ultimate spy gadget alarm box, explore a distant exoplanet and launch water rockets during a special summer camp for Homer School District 33C students.

 

The district is partnering with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to bring the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program back to Hadley Middle School in mid-June. Click here to view the flier.

 

The program is open to all Homer 33C students entering grades K-6.

 

“We’re pleased to offer a weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation,” said Hadley Middle School Dean of Students/Discovery Program Coordinator Jeanine Arundel who is organizing this year’s Camp Invention.

 

“Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules,” she added.

 

The weeklong program begins June 12 and concludes June 16. Modules include:

 

Duct Tape Billionaire™

We’re looking for a risk-taking, duct-taping dynamo to start the next big accessory business! Your child will experience invention with a twist in Duct Tape Billionaire. Children can choose to explore their imaginations and invent from scratch, or they can select a basic design to make their own. They explore patents, hear how to launch a business, and present their products to mock investors.

 

Mission: Space Makers™

This mission takes your child out of this world to locate and prepare a new planet for human habitation. Mission Control sends teams challenges to design inventions that transform the atmosphere, terrain and ecosystem of an exoplanet. They set up a Space Lab to hatch eggs and grow crystal trees. Take on the jobs of tomorrow and explore beyond our galaxy.

 

Have A Blast™

Your child will fling, fly and float through high-energy air battles while using physics to boost their advantage. Children engineer a variety of working tools, including “snowball” throwers, a giant air cannon and more. Everyone builds their own high-tech Bubble Blaster with flashing lights to take home. This summer, Have A Blast that will last a lifetime.

 

Operation Keep Out™

A young inventor’s dream come true, children create the ultimate Spy Gadget Alarm Box to keep treasures secure. First, they must decode a note written in invisible ink, take apart worn out electronics and then wire their own unique Alarm Box. The objective in Operation Keep Out is to become an electrical engineering super spy!

 

The price to participate is $225. Those who register before May 1 and use the promo code DISCOVER15 will receive a $15 discount.

 

For more information or to register, visit www.campinvention.org or call 1-800-968-4332.

 

 

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C teams up with Homer Township Public Library to bring more STEAM projects

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

April 20, 2017

 

Homer 33C teams up with Homer Township Public Library to bring more STEAM projects, learning opportunities to children

 

Local children and their families will have greater access to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) projects thanks to a collaborative effort between Homer School District 33C and Homer Township Public Library.

 

The public taxing bodies teamed up to apply for a grant that would enable them to empower middle school learners and public library patrons to create, engage and build using collaborative work spaces called “makerspace.”

In mid-March, they learned their efforts were successful.

 

Their application for a $2,500 RAILS Collaborative Grant Opportunity was accepted, enabling them to purchase the equipment and supplies needed to bring 3D printing and circuit building to children year-round.

 

“We believe that we can facilitate patron learning and provide an enriching experience for all young people in our collective patronage through the collaboration of the school library and public library youth services department,” Dawn Scuderi, library media specialist at Hadley Middle School, and Jody Olivieri, youth services manager at Homer Township Public Library, wrote in their grant application.

 

“While both libraries have had some limited success with makerspaces in their respective spaces, in sharing resources, both curricular and materials, we can expose a wider patronage to and meet a growing demand for STEAM related programming for both the public and school libraries,” they continued.

 

The programming will consist of eight year-round programs with multiple sessions at the public library that will utilize 3D printing, circuit building and building a variety of structures that will focus on a specific point of interest and problem solving skills.

 

In the school libraries, the same resources will be used with eight curriculum supporting lesson plans.

 

“We are excited for the new prospects of this ‘library community’ collaboration and look forward to involving as many students and library patrons in makerspace programming as possible,” said Scuderi and Olivieri.

 

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

Join us April 25 to make calls to encourage our elected officials to do the right thing and freeze property taxes.

Homer/Lockport Tea Party serving the Will County, Illinois area and beyond
Lets make calls together to help FREEZE property taxes, with the assistance of Americans for Prosperity

Join us April 25 to make calls to encourage our elected officials to do the right thing and freeze property taxes.

Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the country, and it time to give the taxpayers some relief.

April 25th from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
at
Iron Horse Lockport Bar & Grill
1225 E 9th St, Lockport, IL 60441

Come help make a difference.

Any questions call 815-407-7024

Source: Will County News

DHS chief Kelly to Congress: ‘Shut up’ or change law

DHS chief Kelly to Congress: ‘Shut up’ or change law

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WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly offered a strong defense Tuesday of the Trump administration’s actions falling under the department’s umbrella, challenging lawmakers who don’t like its enforcement actions to “shut up” or change the law.

The retired Marine general defended actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection in enforcing U.S. immigration and other laws and blamed the sprawling department’s low employee morale on political meddling.

“If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce, then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws,” Kelly said during a 30-minute speech at George Washington University. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

Kelly said DHS employees had been prevented from doing their jobs for “nearly a decade, disabled by pointless bureaucracy and political meddling, and suffered disrespect and contempt by public officials who have no idea what it means to serve.”

The department was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by putting 22 different federal agencies under the Homeland Security banner.

Democratic lawmakers, including those in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have complained that the Trump administration is departing from Obama administration practice by casting a wide net and targeting undocumented immigrants who have committed no crimes.

Data compiled by DHS shows that ICE has stepped up arrests of non-criminal aliens in the first two months of this year, arresting 5,441 non-criminals compared with 2,278 during the same period in 2016.

Reeling off a list of tasks that various agency employees carry out, Kelly referenced the oft-criticized Transportation Security Administration to highlight his point about capabilities at DHS.

“While you’re binge-watching ‘Mad Men’ on Netflix, TSA is stopping an actual mad man with a loaded gun from boarding a flight to Disney World,” he said.

— Gopal Ratnam
CQ-Roll Call
———

 

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Goodings Grove Spring Craft and Vendor Fair Doors open at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 4

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

April 20, 2017

 

Pick up a Mother’s Day gift at Goodings Grove Spring Craft and Vendor Fair

Doors open at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 4

 

Among the vendors participating are:

LuLaRoe

Stella & Dot

Young Living Essential Oils

Scentsy

Thirty-One

Pampered Chef

Tastefully Simple

Mary Kay

PartyLite

Usborne Books

Premier Design

All Stars Dips

Tupperware

doTerra

Rodan & Fields

Custom Crafts

Keep Collective

 

Tickets are $2 at the door and include one raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets are available for $1 each.

 

Proceeds will help pay for a new playground at the school. The event is organized by the Goodings Grove PTO.

 

 

 

 

Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

 

Source: Will County News

Trump News April 19, 2017

The White House 

WHITE HOUSE MEMO
Today, President Donald J. Trump will sign the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act, ensuring our incredible veterans have certainty and continuity of care while the Administration works to deliver the VA reforms that are so desperately needed.
MORNING:

  • 10:30AM: President Trump meets with Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin
  • 11:30AM: President Trump signs S. 544 the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act

AFTERNOON:

  • 2:30PM: President Trump welcomes the Super Bowl Champions: The New England Patriots to the White House – Watch LIVE
  • 3:30PM: President Trump meets with National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster
FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP
OVAL OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS
President Trump signs a Buy American, Hire American Executive Order.
Read Executive Order
Read Remarks
WHITE HOUSE UPDATES
Photo of the Day:

President Donald J. Trump lands in Kenosha, WI on Marine One to deliver remarks at Snap-on Tools and to sign his “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead).
View Photo

President Trump Promotes “Buy American and Hire American”.
Read More

NEWS FROM VICE PRESIDENT PENCE’S ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR
Vice President Pence receives briefing at the DMZ.
Read More

Vice President Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Aso hold a joint press conference.
Read More
Read Joint Press Release


Retweet

PRESS ROOM
Read yesterday’s press gaggle with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders here.

Today’s press briefing will take place at 12:00PM ET in the White House Briefing Room with Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Watch it LIVE here.

NEWS REPORTS
  • Breitbart: “Donald Trump Celebrates ‘America First’ Executive Order in Wisconsin”
    Read More
  • Washington Times: “Pence tells Japanese that U.S. will confront North Korean nuclear threat”
    Read More

Source: Will County News

Illinois highest overall state and local tax burden in the nation.

The deadline to file state and federal income taxes is April 18, but for Illinoisans the sting of Tax Day is year-round. Residents in the Land of Lincoln face the highest overall state and local tax burden in the nation.

And in 2017, Illinois state government expects to spend $38.1 billion in 2017 – $5.7 billion more than the revenues it will collect, according to data from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

Where does the money come from?

The bulk of the state’s money comes from income and sales taxes. Combined, these taxes account for over 70 percent, or $23.6 billion of the $32.4 billion state government collects.

Twelve percent of state revenues come from taxes on cigarettes, liquor and insurance sold in Illinois, totaling $3.8 billion in 2017.

Another 3 percent comes from the net proceeds of the state’s lottery as well as taxes on the profits of gaming river boats and casinos in Illinois – about $1 billion this year.

Public utility taxes on electricity, telecommunications and natural gas companies accounts for another 3 percent of state revenue collected.

The last 10 percent is received from the federal government. The state expects $3.2 billion in reimbursements from the federal government in 2017, primarily to help fund Medicaid.

In all, the state will collect more than $32.4 billion in 2017, or about $3.6 billion less than the peak $36 billion when Illinois’ temporary tax hike was in place.

More money than ever

Any way you measure it, Illinois governments already collect more than enough money from taxpayers. Illinoisans pay the highest property taxes in the nation, and when total state and local taxes are tallied up, Illinoisans face the highest overall tax burden in the nation. Illinoisans can’t afford to pay more taxes.

From 2003 to 2016, Illinoisans paid $70 billion more in taxes than the state would have collected had revenues grown at the rate necessary to cover inflation plus population growth.

But politicians didn’t use that excess money to pay down pensions or debt. Instead, they used it to prop up higher spending on government-worker benefits.

Some politicians are calling for another income tax hike. But as the numbers show, Illinoisans are already shelling out a pretty penny – and the General Assembly hasn’t proved itself capable of managing the money.

Craig Lesner
Budget and Tax Research Director

Source: Will County News

THE MOVE IS ON TO FORCE YOUR FAVORITE GUN SHOP TO CLOSE

Letterhead
URGENT ALERT – YOUR ACTION REQUIRED

THE MOVE IS ON TO FORCE YOUR FAVORITE GUN SHOP TO CLOSE

 April 19, 2017
The Illinois Senate will be holding a floor vote on bill SB1657, sponsored by Senator Don Harmon and supported by Chicago Democrats. This demanding and unnecessary legislation seems intended to regulate gun dealers out of business in Illinois.This bill would affect your ability to sell or refresh your own gun collection, by defining YOU as a gun dealer in Illinois.  Never mind the weight of all the federal regulations that gun dealers and gun owners must deal with, you will have more Illinois regulations and fees now too.

Remember that the anti-gunners have tried repeatedly to force suburban firearms retailers to close by suing them, only to have those suits tossed out.  They have tried to sue the towns that the stores are located in, only to have those suits dismissed as well.  Now they are attempting to change the law of the land, at least in Illinois, and make gun stores do business *their* way, which is no business at all.

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO PRESERVE YOUR GUN RIGHTS

1.  Contact your State Senator and politely tell him/her that you are a law-abiding gun owner and that you expect them to vote against SB1657. To verify who your State Senator is, use the lookup apps available at the Illinois State Board of Elections website. (click here)  Even if you prefer email, also contact them at their Springfield and district offices.  Email can be ignored, phones must be answered.  Remember, the person who answers the phone is usually a state employee reporting to the senator,  and is just doing their job.

2.  Pass this alert on to all your friends and family and have them make calls too.

3.  Post this alert to any and all Internet blogs, bulletin boards, and social media sites to which you belong.

Check out ISRA’s website at www.isra.org! Tell us what you think!

Follow the ISRA on Twitter and Facebook.

Give the gift of an ISRA membership.   Not an ISRA Member?  Join Today!

Illinois State Rifle Association, PO Box 637, Chatsworth, IL 60921

Source: Will County News

Making sense of the economics of Illinois

From Illinois Policy April 2017

Illinois is a state that could have it all.

The Land of Lincoln has economic potential growing from its farmlands and churning from its factories, in its suburban corporate headquarters and downtown tech start-ups.

But the state’s economic engine is choking on a host of tax and economic policies that squash job opportunities.

Illinois’ potential can be unlocked. The key to unleashing job growth and shared prosperity is for policy makers to apply the economic good judgment that prevails in Illinois households. But instead, governments in Illinois are too much in the business of doing things that don’t make sense – writing more rules, enacting higher taxes, and gumming up the wheels of progress with reams of red tape.

A dose of common sense is needed. Lawmakers should recognize the wounds that Illinois has suffered as largely self-inflicted by the state legislature. The magnitude of these errors must be recognized.

The solution is to enact sound policies that prime the pump for growth. Only then can Illinois’ economy produce the good jobs and rising incomes that result in shared prosperity. Illinois families will be rewarded for their hard work after lawmakers clear the way for economic success.

The purpose of my column and work at the Illinois Policy Institute is to recognize these economic afflictions and to propose solutions.

As Vice President of Policy, I focus on unraveling the economic stagnation that has hurt so many Illinois families, and advancing an understanding of the solutions that will lead to better growth. In the past, I’ve been an educator in South Korea and in South Shore, and a financier in Chicago’s trading markets. My passion is for applying education and economic understanding to transform human potential into flourishing prosperity.

I’ve traveled the world, and am fascinated by economic policy – what works and what hurts a local, regional or national economy.

What I see in Illinois is baffling. All of the necessary elements for success are here.

Illinois should be a target for long-term investments by families looking to lay down roots and businesses seeking to build new facilities. So why isn’t the Land of Lincoln bursting at the seams with growth? Well, it’s certainly not for a lack of natural advantages.

Deep, rich soils make Illinois’ agriculture the envy of the world. And a central location in the United States with access to rivers, lakes, trains and airports make Illinois a natural transportation hub.

The state’s industrial backbone is plugged into the nation’s central transportation network, allowing producers to bring farm goods and manufactured products to international markets.

Chicago’s bustling business core and diversified service sector continue to attract talent and innovation. The great city on Lake Michigan’s shores has built-in advantages as the Midwest’s capital and global hub.

Yet, Illinois doesn’t thrive. Instead, the Land of Lincoln is the sick-man economy of the Midwest. People vote with their feet and leave the state at startling rates. Business leaders compare Illinois to a third-world country.

Illinois is thwarted by human error. The state will succeed if a sound approach is taken to government finances and economic growth. But without a change in course, the state will continue to recede.

Economic opportunity speaks loudly and families and businesses hear its call. That’s the story I intend to tell through this column each Wednesday in the weeks ahead. Illinois didn’t become an economic basket case overnight, and it won’t be fixed in a day either.

Illinois needs light shined on its economic strategies to disinfect it from the mistakes of the past and point the way to a stronger future. The goal of this column is to be one such light.

It’s time for a new chapter in the story of this great state. Illinois’ future should be full of dynamic growth, optimism, and the rewarding sense of a job well done that is the consequence of economic opportunity.

Source: Will County News