Monday, October 31, 2016

FBI Director James Comey Begins Briefing Congressional Leaders on Clinton Email Review

Voting rights are also rights of elected officials.

When the public record is manipulated, in this case in congressional hearings, it must be amended, and investigated as the historic record is the rhyme and reason of the committee vote.

FBI Director James Comey has reached out to top Republicans and Democrats in Congress to brief them on the agency's review of newly discovered emails in connection to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, congressional sources tell ABC News.

Comey spoke Saturday with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican of Virginia, and the panel's ranking Democrat, John Conyers of Michigan.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cummings and Conyers Request Full Disclosure from DOJ and FBI on Email Investigation

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 28, 2016) – Today, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and John Conyers, Ranking Members of the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary, sent the following letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey:
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Friday, October 28, 2016

Longest-Serving Member of U.S. House Takes on Reluctant Republican in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District

In the race for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. a trio of challengers are attempting to unseat an incumbent who’s been a fixture in the U.S. House for half-a-century.
John Conyers, Jr. 1965

On the hot August night of Michigan’s statewide primary elections, the longest-serving member currently in Congress glances at the crowd in his campaign headquarters.

It’s a scene 87-year-old Democratic Congressman John Conyers has been familiar with since he won his first primary election en route to entering Congress in 1965.

Conyers at Gompers
Elementary School STEM Program
I was so exhausted after that day, just like today, that I went home and fell asleep,” Conyers said. “And people had to come over to my house to tell me I won the primary. It’s a different kind of
thing now.”

It’s different because, in many ways, Conyers has become a civil rights icon.

And even as he seeks his 27th term in Congress Conyers says he’s keeping an eye on the future.

Especially, he says, on increasing job opportunities in his district, which stretches from Detroit to Garden City. It’s an area saddled with rates of poverty and unemployment far higher than in much of the rest of the nation.

Conyers & Klinefelter
Conyers said, “See, when you say 5% unemployment, that means you have to skip the pockets of unemployment in Detroit that are 20%, 25%. And what we’ve got to do is work on programs that get into that.”

Yet Conyers past work on civil rights issues continues to endear him to supporters like Arthur Featherstone, who worked for the long-time Congressman alongside Rosa Parks in 1965.

Art Featherstone &
John Conyers
Featherstone says the Detroit Democrat, who is also now the longest-serving African American in the history of Congress, demands the respect of constituents.

“I’d tell ‘em to vote for him because of all the things he has done down through the years,” Featherstone said. “Like the Selma drive. In 1965, when they came over the bridge in Selma, about five minutes later Dr. King called. I said ‘Uh oh.’

And Dr. King told John to start a food drive for Selma. We raised two truckloads of clothes and food for Selma.”

Conyers is known as one of the most progressive Democrats in the House.

But at least one challenger for his seat says being a loyal liberal is not necessarily a good thing.

Conyers & Mayor of Westland, Bill Wild
Republican candidate Jeff Gorman is making his second consecutive bid to defeat Conyers.

Gorman said, “He is a rubber stamp for not just his party, but for the extreme part of his party.  And talking to the people, going door to door, ‘cause I’m doing it the hard way, going door-to-door, that’s not where the people of the district lie.”
Conyers & Michigan Governor
Rick Snyder

Gorman says he knows the usual criticism leveled at his opponent, that Conyers has grown too feeble, too distant from the needs of his district, too focused on national issues as the ranking member of the powerful U.S.House Judiciary Committee.
Gorman says he agrees with those arguments, but not the idea that Conyers’ seniority gives him, and by extension his constituents, extra clout in Congress.

This power thing that everybody touts, I don’t think that’s a thing,” Gorman said. “But more fundamentally what’s wrong with it is he’s been there for 50 years. I’m sorry, you can be clean as the driven snow coming there but eventually you’re corrupted in some way by being in the DC and you become part of the problem. I’m all for term limits. It’s an honor and a duty to serve there, (it’s) something that shouldn’t be a career.”

The Dean & POTUS
Gorman acknowledges the difficulty of dislodging someone with a half-century of name recognition.

But he also says the mood of the electorate, both nationally and in Michigan, is one seeking a change from traditional politicians. Gorman contends that feeling is drove the emergence of Donald Trump’s unconventional presidential campaign.

And Gorman says he can provide that change, vowing to weigh issues based on their individual merit, not their ideological significance.
(from left to right) Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Dean of the
U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers, Jr., greeting U.S.
President Barack Obama at Detroit Metro Airport 2016

In fact, Gorman says — especially in the Democratic bastion of Detroit — he’s campaigning as a somewhat reluctant Republican.

“I think it’s hard to run as a Republican,” Gorman said, “Not because of Trump. Just look at our own state here, our own state Republicans. We only just didn’t tell ‘em no but hell no about raising taxes to cover our roads. And they went ahead and did it anyhow. And it wasn’t a Democrat, it was a Republican that did that.”

Other candidates seem to view the race as a chance to publicize their political party as much as their campaign.

Challenger Tiffany Hayden is with Michigan’s Libertarian Party.

She writes in a web post that Conyers is no longer fit to serve because he’s been in Congress too long and does not respond to the needs of his constituents.

Hayden did not respond to repeated requests to be interviewed for this story.

Conyers other opponent, Working Class Party candidate Sam Johnson, declined to comment on his bid for Congress.

But other Working Class Party candidates say this election offers them the chance to introduce their populist group to the public.

That’s something the incumbent in the race does not need.

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CONYERS, JACKSON LEE Laud Additional Presidential Commutations

Conyers & Jackson Lee: Congress Must Pass Sentencing Reform

Washington, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) released the following statements after the White House announced the commutation of the sentences of 98 individuals this week:
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“President Obama continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to addressing unfairness in our criminal justice system by commuting the sentences of 98 additional federal prisoners,” said Ranking Member Conyers.  “It takes strong leadership to address this issue, and I’m proud to have a President that supports commutations for sentences that are too lengthy and which no longer serve a legitimate purpose related to public safety.  I hope the President’s resolve on this issue will serve as an example to legislators in Congress and across the country as our nation works to reform our criminal justice system.  I remain optimistic that, before the end of this year, Congress will pass sentencing reform legislation and other criminal justice reform bills that I have worked on with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.” 

“I applaud President Obama’s commutation of sentences of 98 individuals – who were all victims of unjust sentencing,” said Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee.  “Nearly all of these men and women would have been released and contributing back to society already had they been convicted under today’s laws or reform proposals. I welcome and applaud the commutations of the sentences of these individuals.  Incarcerating people for unwarranted lengths of time serves no constructive purpose.  The President has recognized this, as has Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and I am pleased that the Administration’s Clemency Project continues to address the multitude of cases in which sentence reductions are appropriate.  Of course, the need to engage in such a broad review of sentences exists largely because our sentencing laws and policies, particularly for drug offenses, urgently need to be changed.  We need to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing and let judges impose appropriate sentences based on the facts and circumstances of each case, and we should eliminate the higher penalties for crack cocaine relative to powder cocaine offenses.  I am heartened that there is a growing, bipartisan recognition of the problem of over incarceration and I hope this will lead to sentencing reform this Congress.”

Congressman Conyers and Congresswoman Jackson Lee are cosponsors of the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, which is the first bill that is a result of the House Judiciary Committee’s criminal justice reform initiative.  The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 reduces certain mandatory minimums for drug offenses, reduces the three-strike mandatory life sentence to 25 years, broadens the existing safety valve for low-level drug offenders, and provides judges with greater discretion in determining appropriate sentences.  

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CONYERS Statement On FBI Letter To Congress

Washington, DC – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today released the following statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Connyers, Jr.
“There has already been a lengthy and thorough investigation into Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.  Nothing in today’s letter suggests that the FBI or the Department of Justice will reach a different conclusion than the one they reached months ago, when they decided criminal prosecution was unwarranted.  

“Any inference or conclusion to the contrary would be completely speculative and unjustified.  In fact, the press has already reported that the emails in question did not come from the Secretary’s server—and were not withheld from investigators by Secretary Clinton or her campaign.

“Donald Trump and his allies seem to put their faith in the integrity of the FBI only when it serves their political purposes.  I would expect that this investigation will continue to be impartial, and that this additional step—taken only in an abundance of caution—will further clear Secretary Clinton of any wrongdoing.”

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bipartisan Coalition Presses DOJ About Government Hacking

The United States Congress

File:Seal of the United States House of Representatives.svg
File:Seal of the United States Congress.svg

Lawmakers Seek Answers About How Government Would Use New Hacking Authority, One Month Before Rule 41 Amendments Would Take Effect

Washington, D.C. –A bipartisan coalition of Senate and House lawmakers today asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to provide Congress with more information about a proposed expansion of government hacking and surveillance powers.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Judiciary Committee member Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., and senior Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, led a bipartisan group of 23 lawmakers asking for more information about the proposal, formally known as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal ProcedureUnless Congress acts, these new amendments are scheduled to go into effect on December 1.

“We are concerned about the full scope of the new authority that would be provided to the Department of Justice,” the lawmakers wrote. “We believe that Congress -- and the American public -- must better understand the Department’s need for the proposed amendments, how the Department intends to use its proposed new powers, and the potential consequences to our digital security before these rules go into effect.”

 The lawmakers ask DOJ a number of questions about how Rule 41 will be used, including:
  • The letter was also signed by: Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah., Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
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Carnell Alexander: Detroit Man Pays $32,000 For Child Who's NOT HIS

Welcome to Michigan's Child Welfare System!

Judge says man must pay $30K in child support for kid who is not his

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Maria Pallante Removed as U.S. Register of Copyrights

U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante was removed from her job Friday morning (Oct. 21) by the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who has authority over the Copyright Office.

Officially, Pallante has been appointed as a senior adviser for digital strategy for the Library of Congress, although it’s clear she was asked to step down. Karyn Temple Claggett, currently associate register of copyrights, has been appointed the acting register.

Pallante was locked out of the Library of Congress computer system this morning, according to two sources who spoke with Library employees. Earlier, Hayden had called several members of Congress to tell them about her decision. Later, she called the heads of several media business trade organizations to give them the news, according to one who received such a call.

That executive, and others who represent creators and media businesses in Washington, D.C., expressed surprise and dismay that Pallante, who had the job since 2011, had been removed. “The people in the creative community are furious about the fact that this was done,” says a lawyer who works for organizations that support strong copyright laws, “but especially about the way it was done.”

The Library of Congress has a reputation for using out-of-date technology, and during her tenure, Pallante advocated moving the Copyright Office into the executive branch of government, which would make the register of copyrights a presidential appointee. (The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which oversees the other two most important kinds of intellectual property, operates under the U.S. Department of Commerce.) One source speculated that this could have alienated Hayden.

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Michigan Congressional Democrats Call On DOJ To Review Decision To Block Flint From Suing The State

Michigan – U.S. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) and Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today led a letter signed by every Democratic House member of Michigan’s congressional delegation, calling for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the State of Michigan’s actions to block the City of Flint from suing the State in connection with the Flint Water Crisis.

As stated in the letter, in March 2016, the City of Flint filed a notice of intent to sue the State. Just a week later, the Governor-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) issued a recommendation requiring that it approve the initiation of any litigation by Flint, which was approved by the state treasurer.  The letter raises concerns about the lawfulness of Michigan’s actions and requests the Department of Justice to review whether denying the City of Flint the ability to seek legal redress from the State implicates constitutional due process, equal protection and associated environmental justice issues for the people of Flint.

In their letter, the Members wrote, “First, we are concerned that the state-appointed RTAB’s potentially unauthorized action to restrain Flint’s authority to initiate litigation and its apparent failure to adequately notify the City of the import of its actions may have deprived the City of Flint and its residents of constitutionally protected due process…Given the fact that Flint is a majority African American municipality, the denial of the City’s right to obtain judicial redress may therefore implicate the Equal Protection Clause…Third, we are concerned that the actions of the State may have violated principles of environmental justice, which are premised on notions of Equal Protection.”

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
 “Much remains to be done in the pursuit of justice for Flint residents and to ensure no other community suffers from the actions of unaccountable political appointees that they did not elect,” said Congressman Conyers. “The people of Flint must have their rightfully deserved access to legal redress, due process, equal protection under the law and associated environmental justice. I urge DOJ to thoroughly review actions by Governor Snyder and the Michigan Receivership Transition Advisory Board against the people of Flint. I will continue to monitor the situation in Flint in the months and years ahead.”

“The state of Michigan should focus on bringing clean drinking water to the people of Flint, not maneuvering to prevent them from accessing the judicial system,” said Congressman Kildee. “Our letter asks the Department of Justice to investigate the constitutional and environmental justice issues implicated by the State’s decision to effectively prevent the city of Flint from suing the state. Quite simply, this is wrong.”

The letter to DOJ was signed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congressman Sandy Levin (MI-09), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14).

In March, Congressman Conyers introduced H.R. 4754, the Emergency Financial Manager Reform Act of 2016, to address unchecked decision-making powers that appointed emergency financial managers have in financially distressed cities which cause situations like the Flint Water Crisis.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

A Brief History Of Targeted Populations In Child Welfare In The U.S.

The U.S. no longer discriminates when it comes to assimilation child welfare as the industrial complex of poverty thrives as a multi-billion dollar revenue maximization scheme.

Native Americans are just one more group classified as a "targeted population" for which the U.S. has never issued an apology.

Just another residual of the peculiar institution which continues today because there are no civil rights in child welfare.

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CONYERS & GOODLATTE Statement On The Resignation Of Maria Pallante

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)  today issued the following joint statement after the announcement that Maria Pallante, the former Register of Copyrights, will be leaving the U.S. Copyright Office:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“We are saddened to learn that Maria Pallante, who served with distinction as only the 12th Register of Copyrights and the Director of the Copyright Office for the last five years, will be leaving the Copyright Office.  This will be a tremendous loss for the Copyright Office and for America’s creators, innovators, and users of copyrighted works.

“We have had the pleasure of working closely with Maria over the last few years as the House Judiciary Committee conducted a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law to determine whether the law is still working in the digital age to reward creativity and innovation.  Maria has played an instrumental role in the Committee’s efforts.   We have welcomed her thoughtful testimony on copyright law and policy a number of times and closely studied the reports produced by her office.

“As Maria transitions from the Copyright Office, it is the perfect opportunity to examine the selection process for the new Register.  America’s creativity is the envy of the world and the Copyright Office is at the center of it.  We must ensure that any new Register is fully qualified to lead this important office as it continues to directly advise Congress on copyright policy and law.  The new Register of Copyrights should be dedicated to protecting creative rights and modernizing the Copyright Office.”

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How The U.S. Is Selling Off Child Poverty To Foreign Investors

Some time ago, I was asked to look into what we call the "Million Dollar Green Card".

Blow Out Sale Starts At $500K
In short, if you invest a whole bunch of money which creates alot of jobs, you can become an American citizen.

Yes, of course the EB-5 program is a bit more nuanced than this, but you get the picture that the "rich man immigration program" may have a few flaws which are being addressed.

But, then, I deeply inhaled and realized something was afoul.

The EB-5 is a foreign investment program which "targets", supposedly, economically distressed communities.

It was the word, "target" (a code word for "The Poors") that triggered me to review my issues with social impact bonding.

Private Financing of Social Services

Privatization of Chattel and Services In A Global Economy

For those of you who will not take the time to learn about social impact bonding through the links I have provided, allow me to sum it up with the quickness.

They want the Social Security Trust Fund, really, really badly and plan on doing it by generating targeted populations called "The Poors".

It is called privatization and it was perfected through child welfare programs.

See, in child welfare programs, everything is a secret, protected with privacy laws, arcane recordkeeping systems, and, as everyone should know by now...say it with me..."you cannot audit God."

That is correct, no audits nor oversight, where rampant fraud is but a bit of a monetary civil infraction.

So, now, we have foreign national interests investing in child welfare programs for the purposes of reaping a bountiful return through social impact bonds, while jumping ahead of everyone else to get a green card and grabbing up swaths of land to substantially impact the vote through gerrymandering.

Stay tuned.  I have much more to say.

GAO Immigrant Investor Program: Progress Made to Detect and Prevent Fraud, but Additional Actions Could Fur... by Beverly Tran on Scribd
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Friday, October 21, 2016

JPMorgan Chase Commits $20 Million to Revitalize Neighborhoods in Five U.S. Cities

Collaborative partnerships in Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and New York to develop solutions for distressed neighborhoods

October 19, 2016 (Detroit, MI) – JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced $20 million for five community development organizations working to create economic opportunity in disadvantaged neighborhoods. As part of the firm’s $125 million, five-year PRO Neighborhoods initiative, these five collaborative partnerships will revitalize neighborhoods in their respective cities that have been left behind by the recovery.

“The 2016 PRO Neighborhoods winners have come to the table with very exciting partnerships that aim to draw the urban renaissance and prosperity they are experiencing in their cities into the deeply distressed neighborhoods where they are working” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development for Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud of the innovative approaches this cohort is taking to delivering capital to entrepreneurs of color, diverse neighborhoods, and urban food deserts.  Each is using a data-driven approach that will create opportunities for more people to share in the prosperity of the local economies of their hometowns of Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and New York.”

PRO Neighborhoods provides the necessary capital to local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to address the drivers of economic opportunity in neighborhoods. These CDFIs work together to pool resources and expand lending activities for building health and education facilities, open retail centers and support community services in area neighborhoods. The first grant recipients of this new initiative include:
  • Detroit Strategic Neighborhoods Initiative Collaborative (Detroit, MI) - $5 Million.
  This alliance will combine new loan capital and unique programs with existing funding capacity to provide economic development in the three targeted neighborhoods in Detroit. The focus on helping distressed neighborhoods is informed by and builds upon JPMorgan Chase’s $100 million, five-year commitment to the city’s economic recovery.

“This announcement from JPMorgan Chase is another example of its deep commitment to Detroit and revitalizing its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to this funding, we are going to start seeing new small businesses open, existing businesses expand and new residential developments take place in several key areas of the city. This fits in perfectly with our strategy to revitalize our neighborhoods.”

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

DOJ and HHS Finally Team Up To Address Civil Rights Violations In Child Welfare

Well, it is about damn time!

The U.S. Department of Justice has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to offer joint guidance into civil rights violations in child welfare.
Child Welfare:  The Residuals of the Peculiar Institution

Why, you may inquire?

"So, why are there no civil rights in child welfare?", is the next logical query.
The answer is quite simple because the child welfare system is a residual of the peculiar institution, devoid of any feasibly constructed oversight.

Of course, there are those who will quickly defend the entire child welfare industry, but steadfast as they are, they fail to disclose their financial and political conflicts of interest for personal inurement, which is currently another scope of investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice.

An action, or inaction, of a civil rights violation, is even more egregious when it is perpetrated through the use of federal funds, in order to maximize revenues, in the name of God.

As these child welfare organizations are classified as nonprofits, many Christian, everyone knows that...say it with me..."you cannot audit God."

This means that the iron curtain of child welfare has been impenetrable since its Emancipation Proclamation inception.

This now begs the question, "How are the DOJ and HHS to investigate alleged civil rights violations in child welfare when the databases do not have mandated reported variables?"

The University of Michigan Law School has a civil rights database.

The Department of Education has a civil rights database.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families has a National Youth in Transition Database.

But there is no database on civil rights violations of children and families involved in the child welfare system.

There is not even an exclusionary database of child welfare organizations which have been found to engage in questionable billing practices in dealing with Medicaid, Title IV-B or IV-E.

Here we have U.S. Representative John Conyers speaking upon H.R. 40, a Bill to establish a commission to study the "residuals of the peculiar institution", affectionately misunderstood, as the Reparations Bill.

The study is to address the history of the means and ways of why and how the U.S. has ignored the civil rights (including human rights) violations of the poor but it must be inclusive of all targeted populations.

Only the poor are eligible for the programs in which this joint federal partnership is investigating; therefore, the only way to payback for the social assistance, where being impoverished is statutorily considered moral turpitude, is to lose one's children through termination of parental rights, the edifice of the 13th Amendment.

Canada issued a formal apology on how it has treated aboriginal children and families and did not even have slavery, but not the U.S.

This letter of guidance should be considered more along the lines of a notice of intent.

There are other areas of awakening within the DOJ and HHS, but the work will be slow and arduous as there are many, many, powerful players who do not want a single thing to change.

To my #Superfans ... you know where to find me.

Here is the guidance for the DOJ and HHS.

Who knows, perhaps one day when the U.S. admits child welfare has no civil rights, it will finally agree to sign on.

If you believe you or a child's civil rights have been violated, file up with your stories.

Information about filing a Title VI complaint with DOJ can be found at

Individuals who believe they have been aggrieved under Title VI should file complaints at the earliest opportunity. You can also file a Title VI complaint with OCR at

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CONYERS Blasts New GOP Conspiracy Theory About Secretary Clinton's Emails

No factual evidence shows a quid pro quo between the Department of State and the FBI

Washington, DC – Yesterday, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the House Judiciary Committee’s majority alleged that newly-released FBI interview notes “raise serious questions about whether Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy violated federal laws . . . by offering a ‘quid pro quo’ to the FBI.”  The interview notes contain no factual basis for these claims:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.

§  As early as January 2016, the Inspector General for the Department of State concluded that there was no undue or inappropriate influence in the review and classification of Secretary Clinton’s emails. 

§  The FBI released a public statement that categorically rejects the accusation, noting that “[a]lthough there was never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the appropriate officials for review.” 

§  The now-retired FBI agent who spoke to Undersecretary Kennedy has told reporters that the two matters—staffing overseas posts and the classification review of Secretary Clinton’s emails—were wholly unrelated discussions, and no exchange or deal linking the matters was ever proposed.
§  FBI files released weeks ago explained that Undersecretary Kennedy “‘categorically rejected’ allegations that he attempted [to] influence FOIA markings to protect and/or mask classified information.”

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), today released the following statement:

“The FBI, the Department of State, and virtually every individual with firsthand knowledge of the pertinent facts have flatly denied allegations of any attempt to arrange a quid pro quo on Secretary Clinton’s behalf.  The FBI looked into the matter and found no evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever.  There is no new factual information in these interview notes that would lead us to believe otherwise. 

“The majority will find few answers in unsupported and unsubstantiated speculation.  I hope that when we return to Washington in November, there is room for more substantive discussion.”

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Kansas Privatizes Poor Children For Profit

In order to understand why Kansas and its "Michigan privatization revenue maximization replication
"Homes for Children" (pre-code for foster care)
is not going so well, let us reflect upon the history of the "residuals of the peculiar institution" in its child welfare system.

Kansas-Nebraska Act Just Alike


Kansas, Meet the Queen of Judicial Lobbying: Maura Corrigan

More the likely, no one even took the time to go through the links I have provided, above, but that is not the point, here.

The point is that there is a delicious trail of spectacular morsels which have been placed in the faces of the imperialistic morality parade, or as I like to call it, "Privatization in the name of God".

Kansas CPS snatching poor kids for free labor
Back in the days, after the "glorious" (stated with sarcasm) Emancipation Proclamation, selling children as chattel was a lucrative alternative form of labor acquisition called orphan trains, for the purposes of saving souls.

Yes, poor parents, typically immigrants and emancipated slaves, who could not afford foundling homes to care for their children while they worked in slave conditions, ended up witnessing their children being shipped of to the burgeoning West where parental prayers of hope for their children were met with an deafening silence all because the parents were poor, the mother was alone, and the child labor was free.

Kansas, living the residuals of stripping sweet grass for the American dream of agriculture, experienced the Great  Dust Bowl, and other ills of poverty..

The response, to glorify child poverty, was the "Wizard Of Oz".  " There is always hope in fantasy".

So, If the lawmakers, community leaders and all other stakeholders interested in the economic future of the State of Kansas have yet to follow the "Yellow Brick Road" to understanding that they are on the wrong path to socio-economic sustainability through privatization, then I guess, we must sit back and morbidly laugh at the reconstruction of the oldest form of survival, selling chattel, the oldest form of survival.

Look at your own data.

So, if the people of Kansas cannot understand what privatization is, then, let them continue to experience it first hand, until they repulse themselves.

New national report questions privatized government services like those in Kansas

 — At a time when the state of Kansas' privatized child welfare programs are coming under heightened scrutiny, a new national report says privatization generally leads to lower quality services, especially for the poor and people of color.

The report, by the Washington, D.C., think tank In the Public Interest, says that privatization, especially at the state and local level, is threatening the very mission of programs that provide public goods and services.

"Private companies have left social safety net programs in tatters," the report states. "Many workers employed by government contractors have plunged further into poverty because of declining wages and benefits. And as private interests continue to siphon money away from public services, the dismantling of public goods not only perpetuates pervasive economic inequality, but also contributes to increasing racial segregation."

In the Public Interest describes itself as a research and policy center whose goal is to "ensure that government contracts and agreements and related public policies increase transparency, accountability, efficiency, and shared prosperity and opportunity through the provision of quality public goods, services, and assets."

Over the last 20 years, Kansas has gone further than many other states in privatizing social safety net services for the poor and underprivileged.

In 1997, during former Republican Gov. Bill Graves' administration, Kansas became the first state in the country to hand over virtually all of its child welfare services, including foster care and child adoption programs, to outside contractors.

More recently, in 2012, Gov. Sam Brownback's administration fully privatized its Medicaid program, turning over responsibility for paying claims and managing patient care to three for-profit insurance companies and changing the name of the program to KanCare.

And in 2013, the Brownback administration outsourced its child support enforcement program to private contractors.

All of those moves have been controversial to varying degrees, but none more so than foster care and adoption, which is now the subject of an ongoing Legislative Post Audit review, which is due to be released in February.

Concerns about privatized child welfare services also came up Sept. 30 when the State Finance Council, a group made up of the governor and legislative leaders, approved paying $100,000 as partial settlement to the family of a 4-year-old boy who was killed while in custody of the state's foster care system.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, said after that meeting that he opposed privatizing child welfare services during the Graves administration, "because this is the type of thing that I think the government should be responsible for ... and this is a perfect example of why I believe I was right in opposing the privatization of our child welfare system."

According to In the Public Interest's report, such tragedies are not uncommon under privatized child welfare programs, and the negative consequences of privatization fall disproportionately on the poor and people of color.

"Researchers have found that Native American, African American, and Latino children in certain states are, compared with white children, removed from families at higher rates once identified by child protective services," the report states, citing a 2011 study in the journal Protecting Children.

"Children of color also stay in foster care for longer periods, experience more placement moves, and exit the foster care system without permanence, while their parents receive fewer services."

ITPI executive director Donald Cohen said the fundamental problem with privatization is that it's based on the promise of cutting costs. And while some contractors may be able to perform the job at a lower cost than government, he said, public agencies still need people to monitor the contractor to make sure the job is being done right.

"They always say they can save money by doing it," Cohen said during a telephone interview. "But agencies never increase their monitoring staff, because it’s all about saving money. If you don’t watch, bad things happen. When you contract to paint your house, if you’re not watching a little bit, bad things happen."

"It’s not all crookedness," he said. "It may be corruption or it may be incompetence. It may be unintended events. There’s no shortcut to doing high quality stuff in services. It costs money. It requires expertise."

Cohen also noted that monitoring the performance of an outside contractor is often more difficult than monitoring the state's own employees.

"The distance between the person doing the purchasing — which is who is accountable to the public and basically responsible for the outcomes — the distance between that person and the person providing the service is now longer because there are intermediaries," he said.

And the distance gets even greater under models like the one Kansas uses, where two major contractors provide services in different regions of the state, and those contractors then subcontract with more than a dozen local-area subcontractors.

Privatization still has its advocates in Kansas, especially within the Brownback administration which says KanCare — the privatization of Medicaid through managed care plans run by private insurance companies — marked a significant improvement to the state's Medicaid system.

Prior to KanCare, much of the Kansas Medicaid program was already privatized. Pregnant women, children and families, who make up the bulk of the Medicaid population but only a fraction of its cost, were enrolled in managed care plans administered by private insurance companies.

KanCare extended that model to the remaining Medicaid population, primarily the elderly and disabled, who make up a smaller share of the population but account for a much larger share of the overall cost.

"The previous system was a one-size-fits-all system which did not provide people with a choice of plans and services available to them under KanCare," Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said in an email statement.

"There are more than a dozen states following our lead and implementing KanCare" said Brownback's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, argued that KanCare has slowed the rapidly spiraling cost of Medicaid while providing patients with better care.

"Each individual with a complex condition under KanCare has a care coordinator who makes sure they are getting the full care they need whether it is medical, mental health or home-based care," she said.

But even the supporters of privatization in Kansas concede that it still requires vigorous monitoring and oversight by the agencies that outsource public services.

In 2015, the conservative Wichita-based think tank Kansas Policy Institute and the libertarian think tank Reason published a paper on the benefits of privatization that included a list of "best practices." Among them were suggestions to focus on "best value" rather than "low bid" contracting, and ensuring accountability through "rigorous monitoring and performance evaluation."

"Governments should never sign a contract then walk away," the report said. "The public sector role does not end with privatization, but rather shifts to a position in which public managers are responsible for ensuring that their private partners live up to their contractual commitments."

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Has The Flint Water Crisis Made It Into Michigan's Investigative Gubernatorial Race?

Ah, the Flint water crisis has now made its way into the Michigan gubernatorial campaign! 

Perhaps, not intentionally, but it is now.

Feds side with Gov. Snyder, ask court to lift orders tied to Flint water crisis

FLINT, MI -- Federal health officials are joining with Gov. Rick Snyder and the state Department of Health and Human Services in asking that protective orders blocking state agencies from health information tied to the Flint water crisis be lifted.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed a brief Friday, Oct. 14, in support of the Michigan DHHS, which is asking the state Court of Appeals to block protective orders issued by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut.

The orders limit the information DHHS can receive from the Genesee County Health Department and McLaren-Flint regarding cases of Legionella and Legionnaires' disease while special prosecutors are still investigating criminal wrongdoing related to the Flint water crisis.

But, wait!  The Michigan Attorney General has his own special appointed investigation going on and it is pretty darn nasty.

DHHS involvement in water investigation would taint probe, attorneys tell court

FLINT, MI -- Allowing the state Department of Health and Human Services to investigate legionella cases at McLaren Flint hospital would serve no purpose but to compromise ongoing criminal investigations tied to the Flint water crisis, according to attorneys defending a Genesee County Circuit judge's ruling.

In filings with the Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday, Sept. 2, attorneys for the county countered a DHHS complaint, which seeks to give the agency access to and information from McLaren -- something protective orders issued by Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut forbid.

The orders limit information that DHHS can receive from the county Health Department and McLaren regarding cases of legionella and Legionnaires' disease while special prosecutors are still investigating criminal wrongdoing in the Flint water crisis.

So, why is the U.S. HHS taking the side of Governor Snyder?  I am guessing it has to do with one of those bullshit pitches about being able to care for the children.

If Michigan cannot even care for families and children not in foster care, then how do you think the rest of them are fairing? 

Perhaps Mr. Schuette and the boys will take this opportunity to look into the Michigan DHHS child welfare programs and its revenue maximization schemes.

Foster care families and children impacted by Flint's water crisis

FLINT (WJRT) - (08/31/16) - The water crisis is having an impact on foster care in Flint.

Children already go through a lot being put into the system, so for them and for the parents who take them in, the contaminated water adds another layer of intimidation and concern.

Jennifer Stevens, the Program Director at Samaritas Foster Care Services in Flint says, "They already experience, because of the trauma, educational issues, developmental issues, and medical issues. This could increase those concerns, immediately but also long-term, so it's really important for us to know what's going on with those children, so we can make sure their needs are being taken care of. "

Wednesday evening, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services held a resource fair for foster parents and for those considering opening their homes to children in need.

The goal is to make sure they know they're not alone in dealing with the water crisis fallout and to connect them with agencies who can help.

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Michigan Bills To Discuss Juvenile Justice Reform

The following are Michigan Bills to reform juvenile justice, but before reviewing the positions of the Michigan State Bar, here are links for background:

Michigan Juvenile Justice Reform To Battle Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare

Debtors' Prison For Kids: The Residuals Of The Peculiar Institution

Yes, That Is Correct, Michigan Prepares Youth For Human Trafficking

The Superpredator Mentality: We Treat Our Children In Poverty Like Animals, Too

Chattel Law Lives: White House Report on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color

Michigan Juvenile Justice Programs Need To Be Investigated, Again

DOJ Finds Kids Have No Civil Rights in Child Welfare

Rapes in prisons, foster care and residential facilities go unreported

Michigan Moves To Close Kiddie Jails 

I believe this is enough background to begin understanding the support of these Bills, but now, Michigan must address its issues with fraud, waste and abuse, along with the policies of poverty as a moral turpitude and its treatment of youth in residential institutions.

Always remember, it takes a judicial determination to turn the funding spigot!

Testimony Only:
HB 4947 Modify age of juvenile court jurisdiction and location of juvenile detention in some instances;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4947: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4947: Support.

HB 4948 Provide for jurisdiction in the family division of circuit court for juveniles under age 18 arrested for nonlisted offenses;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4948: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4948: Support.

HB 4949 Modify age of juvenile court jurisdiction in juvenile diversion act;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4949: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4949: Support.

HB 4950 Modify age of juvenile jurisdiction in youth rehabilitation services act;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4950: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4950: Support.

 Modify age of juvenile in disposition of persons found not guilty by reason of insanity;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4951: 
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4951: Support.

HB 4952 Revise code of criminal procedure to revise age limit for procedures for sentencing juveniles prosecuted for personal protection order violation;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4952: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4952: Support.

 Modify definition of adult in Michigan indigent defense commission act; 
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4953: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4953: Support.

HB 4954 Raise age eligibility for youthful trainee status to 18 years;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4954: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4954: Support.

HB 4955 Revise criteria for juveniles who may be sentenced in the same manner as an adult;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4955: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4955: Support.

HB 4956 Modify factors to consider when determining jurisdiction over juveniles in certain circumstances;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4956: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4956: Support.

HB 4957 Modify detention of juveniles in certain circumstances;
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4957: Support.

HB 4958 Preclude prejudication confinement of juveniles under 18 years of age in jail;
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4958: Support.

HB 4959 Prohibit of youth under 18 placement with adults during confinement, trial, or transport;
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4959: Support.

HB 4960 Eliminate certain offenses that do not require adult sentencing from the list of specified juvenile offenses in code of criminal procedure;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4960: Support.

HB 4961 Modify specified juvenile violation definition in the revised judicature act;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4961: Support.

HB 4962 Modify specified juvenile violation definition in probate code of 1939;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4962: Support.

HB 4963 Require monitoring and oversight of juveniles under the age of 18 placed under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections, and provide for certain reporting;

HB 4964 Increase county child care fund reimbursement rate;

HB 4965 Establish family advisory board;
Criminal Law Section Position on HB 4965: Support.
Prisons & Corrections Section Position on HB 4965: Support.

HB 4966 Develop policies to limit time confined in cells for incarcerated individuals under 21 years of age.

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