Friday, March 24, 2017

Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch
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The motto of Judicial Watch is “Because no one is above the law”. To this end, Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities.

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There goes the neighborhood.

The U.S. Army had to pay to get a high-ranking transgender Pentagon official to appear at its military academy on Transgender Day of Remembrance, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of the Army. The event, held at West Point, was organized by the Army’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, to “promote an environment of compassion and understanding” and memorialize “members of the transgender community across the globe who were murdered in the last year.” Instead of attending pro bono for the cause, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Amanda Simpson, a former test pilot named Mitchell, required that her expenses be paid.

It cost the Army $1,099.92 to get Simpson, who also served as Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives, to be a guest speaker at the West Point transgender event. The Defense assistant secretary, who underwent a sex change about 20 years ago, gained notoriety during Barack Obama’s presidency as the highest ranking transgender appointee of any administration in history. Obama first appointed her to the Department of Commerce in 2009 and by 2013 Simpson was elevated to head the Army’s energy initiatives. In 2015 Simpson was sworn in as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, making her the highest openly transgender official at the Pentagon. As a man named Mitchell, Simpson obtained degrees in physics, engineering and business administration.

An estimated 35 people—20 cadets and 15 faculty—attended the West Point Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was held on November 30, 2016 at the military academy in New York. The only attendee that required government funding was the registered speaker (Simpson), the Army records state, because “all other attendees are local and will provide their own transportation to the event.” The records list “Ms. Amanda Simpson” as the only registered speaker and identify her as the highest ranking openly transgender official in President Obama’s administration. “Attendees will benefit from her sharing her experiences as both a transgender woman and senior ranking defense department official,” the records provided to Judicial Watch state.

A lengthy biography of Simpson is included as well as a pamphlet with a West Point masthead advertising the event. It features a picture of Simpson with a group of uniformed West Point cadets and a retired transgender Army colonel, Diane Schroer, in uniform. The Army also had to pay for Schroer to appear at the academy’s transgender affair in 2014, the records show. The pamphlet says that the purpose of the 2016 Simpson transgender celebration is “to promote an environment of compassion and understanding in accordance with USMA’s [United States Military Academy] diversity efforts by memorializing members of the transgender community across the globe who were murdered in the last year.”

The 2014 transgender event featuring Schroer was held to demonstrate “the Army’s commitment to supporting professional development opportunities that enhance West Point’s diversity and inclusion efforts.” Schroer was a decorated Airborne Ranger who transitioned from male to female after more than two decades of military service. It cost the Army $840.50 to have her speak, the records show. More than 40 cadets, staff and faculty paid respect to those who “were killed due to bias and hatred based on gender identity and expression,” according to a West Point newsletter with photos of the event. Several pages are entirely redacted as well as some of the names that appear throughout the records. The Army cites an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) known as (b)(6) which protects personnel and medical files from an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Even the captions identifying individuals in the West Point newsletter are redacted, though the pictures were left intact diminishing the credibility of the (b)(6) exemption argument. One of the “anticipated benefits” of Schroer’s appearance was to foster awareness in the West Point community about an Obama administration change in Department of Defense (DOD) policy allowing transgender people to openly serve in the military.

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IRS: Satan Club? Yeah, cool, you're approved.

While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes conservative groups wait years for tax-exempt status an “After School Satan Club” launched to hinder Christian-based counterparts got its nonprofit ranking in just ten days, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. The classification is offered to charitable, religious and educational organizations that operate as nonprofits. Under the Obama administration IRS political appointees illegally targeted conservative groups, either making them wait up to seven years for tax-exempt status or denying their application altogether. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal and has obtained piles of government records showing how the IRS illegally colluded with another federal agency to single out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as patriot and Tea Party in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status.

In the meantime, leftist groups like the Satan club got fast tracked. The principle goal of establishing the Satan clubs in public schools throughout Washington State appears to be to counter existing enterprises operated by a Christian-based group. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch include the process of establishing an after-school Satan club at Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma. The entity behind the club is a nonprofit called Reason Alliance, which is based in Somerville, Massachusetts, and operates in Washington State as the Satanic Temple of Seattle. Its director, Lilith X. Starr, established the Point Defiance Elementary Satanic club, the records show. In its application the club states that its purpose is “character development” and that adult instructors are vetted by the Satanic Temple’s “Executive Ministry.” Children ages 5-12 will develop basic critical reasoning, character qualities, problem solving and creative expression, according to the Satanic Temple filings included in the documents. The club logo is a pencil with devil’s horns. Records obtained by Judicial Watch from the Treasury Department show that the Satanic cult applied for tax-exempt status on October 21, 2014 and received it on October 31, 2014.

The parent permission forms ask for the name of the child’s church and pastor, the records show. They also reveal that Starr, the Seattle Satanic Temple director, told Tacoma School District Superintendent Carla Santorno that the clubs are led by “caring Satanists” and each child receives a membership card. Starr also tells the superintendent that the effort to establish after-school Satan clubs in Tacoma schools is in direct response to the Christian-based Good News Clubs operating in campuses throughout the district. This ignited concern among some Tacoma district officials, the records show. In one electronic mail exchange, Tacoma Schools official Andrea O-Brien-Henley sends colleague Paul Koch a citation from the Satanic Temple’s website noting that the temple only wants to establish after-school Satan clubs in school districts with Christian Good News Clubs. O’Brien-Henley notes that it’s odd that the Satanic Temple only targets schools that have Good News Clubs, writing to hear colleague: “If they really want to get their message out to kids it seems kind of odd that they would only be targeting schools with a Good News Club; one would think that they would want to start clubs anywhere there is an *interest* in them.”

Here’s the citation that O’Brien-Henley forwarded to fellow school district official Koch from the Satanic Temple’s website: “How do I start an After School Satan Club in my school district? If there isn’t a chapter of The Satanic Temple near you, but you’re interested in starting and After School Satan Club in your school district, please contact The Satanic Temple. Please keep in mind that the Satanic Temple is not interested in operating After School Satan Clubs in school districts that are not already hosting the Good News Club. However, The Satanic Temple ultimately intends to have After School Satan Clubs operating in every school district where the Good News Club is represented.”

In another exchange, the Executive Director of Communications for the Tacoma School District, Dan Voelpel, expresses concern to colleagues that people will confuse the school district’s message of tolerance toward the Satan Club with tolerance toward alleged “hate-related activities around the country in the wake of the presidential election.” In the records the principal of Point Defiance Elementary reveals that, two weeks after the Satan club was launched, no one had signed up for it. The fact remains however, that the IRS fast-tracked a deranged Satanic cult to operate as a nonprofit in taxpayer-funded elementary schools.

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Is someone calling this kettle black?

The Trump administration is being accused of racism for cutting a wasteful program that’s given leftist groups tens of millions of dollars to help poor, minority and indigenous communities attain “environmental justice.” The initiative was launched under Barack Obama’s first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief, Lisa Jackson, to help low-income populations obtain the same degree of protection from health and environmental hazards as wealthy communities. Over the years, heaps of taxpayer dollars have filled the coffers of leftwing groups—including some dedicated to helping illegal immigrants—that teach black, Latino and indigenous folks how to recycle, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization” and participate in “green jobs.”

The cash flowed freely through the EPA’s special environmental justice office, which the Trump administration plans to get rid of as part of a broader budget cut for the famously bloated agency. This is great news for American taxpayers who were forced to fund this nonsense. Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the EPA’s environmental justice boondoggle and exposed the atrocities that occurred under the reckless initiative. Here are some examples of how the money was used; to teach residents of public housing about recycling, seniors to reduce their “carbon footprint,” inner city neighborhoods about “climate-change readiness” and middle school students with a “disparate economic and racial/ethnic composition” how to “identify and mitigate air pollution and solid waste disposal issues.” Low-income public school students were taught asthma self-management skills, poor minorities got asthma-friendly homes and a New Jersey group called Lazos America Unida that helps Mexican immigrants got money to create a “lead-safe backyard gardening” program to protect members from the risks associated with gardening in lead contaminated soil.

Another environmental justice grant recipient, a migrant farm workers’ group in Missouri, used its taxpayer dollars to explain symbols and key words on television weather advisories and to “increase awareness about the dangers of sun and heat exposure” in migrant communities. Other leftist groups used their environmental justice cash to educate migrant workers from Mexico and Guatemala about “pesticide exposure” risks and to help the poor “evaluate toys and find out about toy recalls.” The list of ludicrous programs funded by the EPA’s environmental justice office goes on and on. The Obama administration also forced virtually every major government agency—including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Justice, Health and Labor—to participate in its environmental justice initiative. This required making environmental justice part of their mission and providing the public with annual progress reports on their efforts to help minorities that live in the shadows of society’s worst pollution.

The Trump administration plans to put an end to this madness that’s fleeced Americans out of huge sums. News reports indicate that 25% of the EPA’s budget will get cut and that will translate into the end of several Obama-era programs such as environmental justice, Global Change Research and Clean Power Plan, among others. This means that the gravy train will come to an abrupt halt and leftist groups as well as their allies in the mainstream media are incensed. The nation’s largest and most influential environmental organization has even whipped out the race card, accusing the Trump administration of being racist for slashing the environmental justice office. In a mainstream news report that was widely reprinted, a director at the Sierra Club club said this: “To cut the environmental justice program at EPA is just racist. I can’t describe it in any other terms than a move to leave those communities behind. I can’t imagine what the justification would be, other than racism.”

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Let the deportations commence.

The chief of police in an upscale northern California town has issued a letter in Spanish to illegal immigrants in his city assuring them that they’re safe from deportation because his agency “will not engage in federal immigration enforcement activities.” Police in Windsor, which is situated about 60 miles north of San Francisco, will not arrest or detain any person for immigration violations or conduct “sweeps” to locate those “illegally present in the United States,” the letter states.

Windsor’s police chief, Carlos G. Basurto, reveals in the letter that he is the grandson of illegal immigrants and knows that an overwhelmingly large percentage of illegal aliens are good, decent and hard-working.
“I am committed to provide them and all other segments of our community with a safe and healthy community for all to enjoy and prosper and to have a feeling of equality,” the chief writes to illegal aliens in his municipality of about 28,000 residents. Basurto concedes that in his 28 years in law enforcement he’s seen illegal immigrants who are violent gang members, drug dealers, murderers, rapists, human traffickers and child abusers. “To think that this does not exist and that all immigrants are good people, is to be either naïve, uninformed or in denial,” the chief writes, confirming that “there is a segment committed to violence, drugs and domestic terrorism.”

With that said, the top law enforcement official in this California town vows to protect illegal aliens from federal authorities, even those with minor offenses. “Our community involves and includes everyone,” Chief Basurto writes. “I don’t want anyone, and I emphasize anyone, to be afraid to call upon us for assistance, information, advice or to report any crime or issue in our town.” The reassurances continue; “If you are an undocumented immigrant in the Town of Windsor, you do not need to fear the officers of the Windsor Police Department nor assume that they have any reason to bother you, detain you or arrest you for simply being undocumented. Your immigration status is completely irrelevant to us.” He adds that his agency collaborates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to apprehend “serious or violent criminals” under the condition that ICE refrain from arresting any person based immigration status or low-level offenses.

Deep in the three-page letter the chief acknowledges that illegal entry to the United States is against the law, but his personal convictions evidently allow him to look the other way. His grandparents came from Mexico and worked in the fields and ranches of California and when he was in junior high he and his brother worked in the prune fields to earn money for school clothes. This taught Basurto to appreciate immigrant workers. “We also knew that most, if not all of these people, emigrated here from other countries to do this work, for little pay, in hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families,” the chief writes. “In essence, I can relate to these people, because like many of us in this town, we are these people.”

Guaranteeing illegal aliens that they’ll be shielded from federal authorities technically constitutes a sanctuary city, but Windsor officials say this could bring consequences under the new administration so they’re keeping it quiet. A local Spanish newspaper article reports that town manager Linda Kelly, a seasoned government official, has recommended that Windsor keep its sanctuary practices under the radar because President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal funds to sanctuary cities. Instead, Windsor will adopt a resolution that omits the word sanctuary, instead declaring the town to be a united community that values diversity and the contributions of all residents.

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US pays Soros to disrupt foreign politics

The U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros’ Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The cash flows through the State Department and the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), which is charged with providing global economic, development and humanitarian assistance. USAID has allocated about $5 million to leftwing Soros groups in Macedonia since 2012, documents show, and at least $9.5 million has been earmarked by the agency to intervene in the Balkan nation’s governmental affairs for 2016-2011. State Department figures have been tougher to come by and Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the numbers. Judicial Watch also fired off a public records request to USAID because the preliminary figures, obtained through various sources in both the U.S. and Macedonia, appear to be incomplete.

Here’s how the clandestine operation functions, according to high-level sources in Macedonia and the U.S. that have provided Judicial Watch with records as part of an ongoing investigation. The Open Society Foundation has established and funded dozens of leftwing, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government. One Macedonian government official interviewed by Judicial Watch in Washington D.C. recently, calls it the “Soros infantry.” The groups organize youth movements, create influential media outlets and organize violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government. One of the Soros’ groups funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” into Macedonian. The book is a tactical manual of subversion, provides direct advice for radical street protests and proclaims Lucifer to be the first radical. Thanks to Obama’s ambassador, who has not been replaced by President Trump, Uncle Sam keeps the money flowing so the groups can continue operating and recruiting, sources in Macedonia and the U.S. confirm.

With a population of about 2 million, Macedonia has one of the more conservative governments in Europe. This includes the lowest flat tax in Europe, close ties with Israel and pro-life policies. The country recently built a border fence to crackdown on an illegal immigration crisis that overwhelmed law enforcement agencies. Between 10,000 and 12,000 illegal aliens were crossing the Greek-Macedonian border daily at the peak of the European migration crisis, a Macedonian official told Judicial Watch, and the impact was devastating. This is likely of big interest to Soros, a renowned open borders advocate who pushes international governance, diminished U.S. global power and an increase in Muslim immigration. Soros spent tens of millions of dollars to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Just this month Hungary’s prime minister lashed out against Soros for funding groups to secretly influence the country’s politics. “Large-bodied predators are swimming here in the waters,” said Viktor Orban in his annual state of the nation speech. “This is the trans-border empire of George Soros, with tons of money and international heavy artillery.”

This appears to be the case in Macedonia with the help of American financing. There have been a number of violent protests in recent months that have been coordinated by Soros’ Open Society Foundation through its U.S.-funded NGOs, sources tell Judicial Watch. Some U.S. members of Congress have expressed interest in the issue and have demanded answers from Ambassador Baily, USAID and the State Department. In typical fashion, the State Department has stonewalled the inquiries and USAID hasn’t been much more forthcoming. Last month Utah Senator Mike Lee sent Ambassador Baily a letter asking questions involving the U.S. Mission to Macedonia’s involvement in the political process and its connections to the Open Society Foundation. It’s unlikely that Americans will receive answers, especially since Baily is probably on his way out. The fact remains however, that millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have already been spent on this illicit operation and the government agencies need to be held accountable.

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What a difference a year—and a presidential victory—makes. President Donald Trump was persona non grata at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington D.C. He ended up bailing at the last minute from speaking at the annual event, but had he kept the appointment grass-roots conservatives were planning to walk out during the address.

At the time the bombastic billionaire, a CPAC veteran known for engaging deliveries, was running for president and many conservatives shunned him, asserting that he wasn’t conservative enough. It didn’t help that he blew them off. The former chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts the annual event said in a news report that Trump’s cancellation was “about as strong a slap in the face as you can get.”

Fast forward to this year’s conference in National Harbor Maryland, outside of Washington D.C. Trump received a rock star ovation and, appropriately, exited the stage to the classic Rolling Stones tune “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” He took the stage to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” Ronald Reagan was the last U.S. president to speak at CPAC in his first year in office and that was more than three and a half decades ago.

Trump came out firing at the media, which occupied about half of the ballroom floor. More than 1,300 credentialed reporters, photographers and camera crew covered the event, some from student outlets and conservative organizations but the traditional mainstream media was also represented in full force. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and the Los Angeles Times were among those present.

Trump spent a chunk of his speech trashing the establishment, charging that “fake news” outlets are “the enemy of the people.” His delivery was sprinkled with blow after blow directed at the mainstream media. “They’re very smart, they’re very cunning,” Trump said as the crowd cheered loudly.

“There are some terrible dishonest people and they do a tremendous disservice to our country.” Needless to say, the targets were less than thrilled and the media sphere exploded. One mainstream newspaper called it “a declaration of war on the news media.” Another accused the president of being “totally obsessed with the media.” Yet another major paper determined that Trump used CPAC to complain about the media.

The electrified crowd sucked it up and often erupted chanting “U.S.A, U.S.A!” The president spoke about strengthening the military, protecting the southern border, trade and repealing Obamacare. “As part of my pledge to restore safety for the American people, I have also directed the defense community to develop a plan to totally obliterate ISIS,” Trump said. He also revealed that “as we speak today, immigration officers are finding gang members, drug dealers and criminal aliens and throwing them the hell out of our country. And we will not let them back in.

They’re not coming back in folks.” Of interesting note is that small flags resembling Russia’s flag with Trump plastered across them, were waved by a few dozen attendees. It’s not clear if it was a prank, but a young man with a blue CPAC bag was distributing them for free in the hallway outside the ballroom where the president spoke. CPAC staff members were observed confiscating some of the flags.

Genevieve Peters, an educator who works for the Los Angeles public school district, described Trump’s speech as “phenomenal.” Peters made the trek from her home in the bastion of liberalism with a friend, who is Mexican-American, and also a big Trump supporter.

The women let loose at CPAC because they assert that it’s downright dangerous to express conservative ideas where they live in Los Angeles County. “I can’t wear my ‘Make America Great Again’ hat in L.A.,” Peters said. “I’m as bold as they get and I attended campaign events all over the country, but when I got back home, everything went in the drawer.” Her favorite thing about Trump is that he’s “America first.”

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On the second day of CPAC, it was obvious who the crowds came to see and Trump delivered a memorable speech.

Many in the Trump administration also spoke at the convention. The administration was well represented on the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C. The president’s beleaguered counselor, Kellyanne Conway, kicked off a morning session at the annual political event and a few hours later Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took the stage of the main ballroom of the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor Maryland just south of the capital.

Both women have served as mainstream media punching bags lately and undoubtedly enjoyed a friendlier crowd at the annual powow. Conway ran President Trump’s campaign and spoke about what it’s like to work for the commander-in-chief.

DeVos, who recently endured hostile Senate confirmation hearings, joked; “I’m sure you heard all the wonderful things the media has called me” and reminded the crowd that she was the was the first to tell former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Minutes after DeVos spoke in the main ballroom, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House Strategist Steve Bannon took the stage together. Always good for an entertaining soundbite, Bannon referred to the media as the opposition party and said “they’re corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda.”

Reporters from virtually all of the nation’s mainstream media outlets sat in the back area cordoned off for press. Priebus countered rumors that he and Bannon are rivals competing for influence in the White House. Thursday was the day of appetizers, but everyone is really excited for Trump.

The big talk among the thousands of attendees, many of them college students, is the presidents much-anticipated appearance on Friday. Trump has spoken at CPAC many times, but only as a sort of entertainment figure.

Now he’s the leader of the free world. “It’s very exciting to see a president, right here,” said a college junior from Nebraska. A Florida woman who hasn’t missed a CPAC in six years, predicts she won’t sleep tonight. “I thank God he won the election,” she said. “Can you imagine what would become of our country if he didn’t.” A similar feeling of enthusiasm filled the conference.

When Trump took stage the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic, and why shouldn’t they be excited.

See the speech below.

Thoughts? Comment below.

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Native Hawaiian

The Department of the Interior (DOI) last year promulgated a rule intended to provide a way to organize “a Native Hawaiian government” that could “seek a government-to-government relationship with the United States.” In plain English, this is an attempt to grant tribal status to Native Hawaiians by executive decree. The means for accomplishing this would be a vote, restricted by the regulation to those who had at least one drop of Native Hawaiian blood.

This atrocious rule, which is almost certainly unconstitutional, should immediately be repealed. Congress has the power to do so now under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). This law allows Congress a certain time to object to any new rule if it believes, for example, that an agency has overstepped its legal authority. If the President agrees, the rule is repealed.

The DOI’s regulation amounts to (another) attempt by the now-departed Obama Administration to use an executive order to circumvent Congress – and the Constitution. Under art. I, § 8, Congress is vested with the authority to regulate commerce with Indian tribes. This has been interpreted to mean that Congress has complete power to make this decision. Starting in 2000 and for more than a decade, Hawaii’s Senator Akaka tried to convince Congress to pass the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, popularly known as the “Akaka Bill.” The Akaka Bill would have granted Native Hawaiians a pathway to federal tribal status. But Congress never passed the bill.

Switching tactics, the Obama Administration decided to try to accomplish the same thing by executive action. Relying on a hodgepodge of federal statutes, the DOI argued that a “special” or “trust” relationship existed between the U.S. government and Native Hawaiians, and that this provided the basis for the DOI to adopt a regulation creating a pathway to Native Hawaiian tribal status. This approach is dishonest. The federal government has never recognized Native Hawaiians as a sovereign entity like other Indian tribes. If it had, there would have been no need for the Akaka Bill. When members of Congress expended political energy for more than a decade trying to pass that bill, were they wasting their time? The DOI’s regulation is based on a fiction and ignores the obvious: Native Hawaiians have not been granted federal tribal status because Congress rejected the effort to do so.

Even worse is what the DOI’s regulation does. It requires members of the Native Hawaiian community to adopt a “governing document” – meaning a constitution – and then to submit that document to a “ratification vote.” Under the DOI’s regulation, that ratification vote would be restricted to voters who can prove that they were descendants “of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawaii.” A single drop of blood is enough to be allowed to vote. This is the same ugly standard applied during the Jim Crow era to define a person as black for the purposes of the segregation statutes.

Such a rule would define more than 500,000 Americans as “Native Hawaiian.” (Only 1.3 million people live in Hawaii.) If such a tribe ever were formed, it would instantly become the largest tribe in the United States, by a wide margin. Indeed, this looks more like a secession movement that the designation of a tribe. When Hawaii tried to take advantage of this regulation by holding an election restricted to “Native Hawaiians,” using the same definition as the DOI, Judicial Watch sued on the grounds that this constituted racial discrimination in violation of the Constitution. (Akina v. State of Hawaii, No. 15-322.) The Supreme Court appeared to agree when it granted an injunction in December 2015 stopping the election. Hawaii later abandoned its efforts to hold such an election.

This is a strong sign that the Supreme Court would also enjoin any other attempt to hold a racially exclusive, “Native Hawaiian” election. The DOI’s rule is nothing but an invitation to violate the Constitution. It should be repealed now under the CRA.

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Weeks after the House Minority leader blasted President Donald Trump for pledging to investigate voter fraud, a federal appellate court has ruled that a Peruvian immigrant can be deported from the U.S. for illegally voting in a federal election. The decision comes on the heels of a spat between Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the president.

The California Democrat accused Trump of making false claims of election fraud and said that undermining the integrity of our voting system is “really strange.” Most Democrats in Congress agree with the former House Speaker and strongly oppose an investigation, asserting it will limit access to voting.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media coverage promotes the Democrats’ inaccurate version of the facts. One news network referred to Trump’s voter fraud claims as “baseless” and simply an excuse to enact restrictive voting laws. Another wrote that “Trump’s ‘iIlegals voting’ comments are false and divisive,” calling voter fraud by undocumented immigrants “patently false.”

In an editorial titled “The Latest Voter Fraud Lie,” a mainstream newspaper writes that the “baseless claims continue to get converted into policy in the form of stricter voting laws like requiring prospective voters to show a photo ID…” A multitude of similar media reports have flooded the news wires in the week’s following Trump’s meeting with congressional leaders to address the issue.

This week’s appellate court ruling provides a jolt of reality that the media has chosen to ignore. Election fraud was a significant concern in 2008 and 2010, which is why Judicial Watch launched an election integrity project in 2012. The project is a legal campaign to force cleanup of voter registration rolls as well as monitor elections. As an example of the pervasive fraud, Judicial Watch uncovered that 1,046 aliens, or residents who are not U.S. citizens, were on the voter rolls in eight Virginia counties leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

If that rate of non-citizen registration held in the rest of Virginia’s counties, that would mean that about 6,500 non-citizens are registered to vote in the state. Additionally, Judicial Watch’s investigation found that 57,923 Virginians were registered to vote in at least one other state as well as 19 deceased individuals. Similar issues have been uncovered in several other states as part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing probe into election fraud.

The Latin American woman in the recent court ruling who voted illegally is hardly an isolated case. Her name is Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick and she lied about being an American citizen on an Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle form. It was that easy. Fitzpatrick, a legal U.S. resident with three kids, voted in two federal elections in 2006 and claims that she had official approval to cast a ballot after presenting her Peruvian passport and green card.

An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals, the government’s highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, determined that Fitzpatrick should be deported because non-U.S. citizens cannot vote in federal elections and can be removed from the country for doing so.

The Peruvian woman did not back down, appealing the decisions in federal court. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the two previous rulings in favor of deportation, though it acknowledged that Fitzpatrick “led a productive and otherwise-unblemished life in this country.” In its decision, the court states that the motor vehicle form sternly warns aliens not to check the U.S. citizen box and that Fitzpatrick is “literate in English and has no excuse for making that misrepresentation.”

Aliens are forbidden to vote in federal elections, the ruling says, adding that “another statute provides for the removal of aliens who vote in violation of either state or federal law.” During oral argument, the appellate judges inquired whether Fitzpatrick is the kind of person the Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security want removed from the United States. “The answer was yes,” the ruling states.

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The Feds are pushing drugs . . . again.

The U.S. government’s multi-billion-dollar effort to counter narcotics in Afghanistan is a humiliating failure that’s resulted in a huge increase in poppy cultivation and opium production. Despite the free-flow of American tax dollars to combat the crisis, opium production rose 43% in the Islamic nation, to an estimated 4,800 tons, and approximately 201,000 hectares of land are under poppy cultivation, representing a 10% increase in one year alone.

Uncle Sam’s embarrassing counter narcotics effort is part of a broader and costly failure involving the reconstruction of Afghanistan. More than $100 billion have been dedicated to help rebuild the war-torn country and much of it has been lost to waste, fraud and abuse not to mention corruption. The drug initiative is a recent example, documented by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a quarterly report to Congress. The document is painful to read because it goes on for 269 pages, but Judicial Watch created a link for the counter narcotics section, which is around 19 pages and includes informative charts, graphs and the latest available statistics.

As of December 31, 2016, the United States has spent an astounding $8.5 billion for counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan since 2002, the report reveals, making it clear that the cash will continue flowing. “Nonetheless, Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium, providing 80% of the global output over the past decade, according to the United Nations,” SIGAR writes. The watchdog includes statistics from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) confirming a 10% increase in the amount of Afghan land that was under poppy cultivation between 2015 and 2016. Despite Uncle Sam’s generosity, poppy eradiation results were the lowest this decade, the watchdog states. “No eradication took place in the biggest opium-growing provinces because of the grave security situation,” the report reveals, noting a steady rise in production and cultivation in the past decade. “Eradication efforts have had minimal impact on the rise in illicit opium cultivation.”

This, of course, translates into a large increase in opium production—43% in a year—the watchdog reveals, to an estimated 4,800 tons. “The reported production increase reflected the larger area under cultivation, higher yields, and lower eradication results.” Part of the problem, U.S. authorities say, is that between 2.5 and 3 million Afghans are drug users and the country lacks sufficient treatment centers to address the growing drug-abuse problem, particularly for women and children. American cash hasn’t put a dent on that problem either. A State Department branch known as the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) doled out $12.9 million in 2015 for drug treatment and education programs in Afghanistan and has allocated millions more despite past failures. INL also funds a scandalous, multi-million-dollar program called Governor-Led Eradication (GLE) that pays provinces for the cost of eradicating poppies. Between 2008 and 2016 INL disbursed $4.6 million, according to the SIGAR.

Afghanistan reconstruction has been a huge debacle that continues fleecing American taxpayers. Judicial Watch has reported on the various boondoggles over the years, most of them documented in tremendous detail by the SIGAR. Highlights include the mysterious disappearance of nearly half a billion dollars in oil destined for the Afghan National Army, a $335 million Afghan power plant that’s seldom used and an $18.5 million renovation for a prison that remains unfinished and unused years after the U.S.-funded work began. Among the more outrageous expenditures are U.S. Army contracts with dozens of companies tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The reconstruction watchdog recommended that the Army immediately cut business ties to the terrorists but the deals continued. Another big waste reported by Judicial Watch a few years ago, involves a $65 million initiative to help Afghan women escape repression. The government admits that, because there’s no accountability, record-keeping or follow-up, it has no clue if the program was effective.

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