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Category Archives: politricks


Ashley Parker 6 hrs ago

No clear plan yet on how to reunite parents with children
He’s done it on Twitter. He’s done it in the White House driveway. And he’s done it in a speech to a business group.
President Trump — a man already known for trafficking in mistruths and even outright lies — has been outdoing even himself with falsehoods in recent days, repeating and amplifying bogus claims on several of the most pressing controversies facing his presidency. Since Saturday, Trump has tweeted false or misleading information at least seven times on the topic of immigration and at least six times on a Justice Department inspector general report into the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. That’s more than a dozen obfuscations on just two central topics — a figure that does not include falsehoods on other issues, whether in tweets or public remarks.
The false claims come as the president — emboldened by fewer disciplinarians inside the West Wing — indulges in frequent Twitter screeds. A Washington Post analysis found that in June, Trump has been tweeting at the fastest rate of his presidency so far, an average of 11.3 messages per day.
Inside the White House, aides and advisers say they believe the media is unwilling to give Trump a fair shot and is knee-jerk ready to accuse him of lying, even in cases where the facts support his point.
The president often seeks to paint a self-serving and self-affirming alternate reality for himself and his supporters. Disparaging the “fake news” media, Trump offers his own filter through which to view the world — offering a competing reality on issues including relationships forged (or broken) at the Group of Seven summit in Canada, the success of the Singapore summit with the North Koreans, and his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.
“It’s extraordinary how he is completely indifferent to truth. There’s just no relationship between his statements — anything he utters — and the actual truth of the matter,” said Thomas Murray, president emeritus of the Hastings Center, the founding institution in the field of bioethics. “As far as I can tell, the best way to understand anything he says is what will best serve his interests in the moment. It’s irrespective to any version of the truth.”
According to an analysis by The Post’s Fact Checker through the end of May, Trump had made 3,251 false or misleading claims in 497 days — an average of 6.5 such claims per day of his presidency.
And within the past week, Trump seems to have ramped up both the volume and the intensity of his false statements on two of the most prominent topics currently facing his administration: the hard-line immigration policy that has led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents — which Trump erroneously blames on others — and the 500-page inspector general report that he claims, incorrectly, exonerates him in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Bella DePaulo, a psychology researcher at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said Trump’s use of repetition is a particularly effective technique for convincing his supporters of the veracity of his false claims, in part because most people have a “truth bias,” or an initial inclination to accept what others say as true.
“When liars repeat the same lie over and over again, they can get even more of an advantage, at least among those who want to believe them or are not all that motivated either way,” DePaulo said in an email. “So when people hear the same lies over and over again — especially when they want to believe those lies — a kind of new reality can be created. What they’ve heard starts to seem like it’s just obvious, and not something that needs to be questioned.”
On immigration, Trump and many top administration officials have said that existing U.S. laws and court rulings have given them no choice but to separate families trying to cross illegally into the United States. But it is the administration’s decision, announced in April, to prosecute all southern border crossings that has led to the separation of families.
That hasn’t stopped the president from blaming Democrats for his administration’s decisions. “Democrats are the problem,” Trump wrote in one tweet. In another, he was even more blunt: “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda,” he wrote.
While Congress could pass a legislative fix, Republicans control both the House and the Senate — making it disingenuous at best to finger the opposing party, as the president has repeatedly done.
Speaking to the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday, Trump again falsely painted the humanitarian crisis as a binary choice. “We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America, or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry,” he said. “Those are the only two options.”
On Twitter, the president twice in the past four days has singled out Germany as facing an increase in crime. “Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted,” Trump wrote. “Others countries are even worse. Be smart America!”
In fact, the opposite is true. Reported crime in Germany was actually down by 10 percent last year and, according to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the country’s reported crime rate last year was actually at its lowest point in three decades.
The president has also falsely claimed that the inspector general report “exonerated” him from Mueller’s probe, when the report did not delve into the Russia investigation. When he made this argument Friday during an impromptu press gaggle in the White House driveway, a reporter pressed him on the falsehood.
“Sir, that has nothing to do with collusion,” the reporter said. “Why are you lying about it, sir?”
Trump’s messaging on the family separation issue has faced pushback even from members of his own party, who have publicly and privately urged him to fix the problem. And the discordant noise from members of his administration, who are contradicting him and one another, has further eroded his credibility on the issue.
On a conference call Tuesday morning, for instance, a senior Health and Human Services official said the new policy was focused on deterrence and was working — contradicting the public comments of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has publicly said that family separation is not a policy, is not new and is not about deterrence.
Brian Fallon, a press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, said he thinks the past week may mark an “inflection point” in how both the media and the public treat Trump’s mistruths.
“The lies have been so bald and discernibly false, I think people have felt license to challenge him and use the word ‘lie’ more freely than they have in the past,” Fallon said.
The topic of family separation, Fallon added, is especially stark.
“I think the sort of visceral nature of this particular issue, in terms of the sympathy that these young kids have evoked, has caused a splintering within his own party,” Fallon said. “Once you have a critical mass of defections among your own side, at that point, it becomes unsustainable even for somebody who has patented this approach to lying like Trump has.”
ashley.parker@washpost.com

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The Resident has reached a new high in trying to achieve his agenda and as usual uses any misinformation he is told. His favorite target is still President Obama. The recent stretch is regarding 100 plus Judicial vacancies. These vacancies are primarily the fault of the Congressional majority and its leader Bitch McConnell, McConnell if we recall stated publicly that “this President (Obama) will be a one term President and to that end not much legislation submitted by President Obama got passed, few Judicial appointments were approved. This is the party of President Trump. As a voter the actions of the current majority party and it Titular heads should enrage you. The current administration and the Congressional leaders have their own agendas and we as voters are not part of it. It is wise to remember that for many years most of our “representatives” on both sides have become increasingly self-indulgent and lie to us when election time comes. We now have the ultimate punishment :Donald Trump as President (in his mind Emperor). The effects of this Presidency will be chaos for a number of years and if we do not oust the current Congressional leaders we will fare no better. Forget the rhetoric, the tweets and finger-pointing. Pay attention to the actual facts, get these facts by reading a variety of publications because that’s where the truth lies. The entertainment “news” is merely the unilateral opinions of people who do not share your interests and are seeking ratings rather than the truth. If we ignore the activities of this administration and the long serving Congress we are doomed to have the same poor Governance we have now. How to correct it? Just remember or read the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and even Caligula, all dictators who lied to get the support of the people and in the end devastated their countries and others. Lies are always lies, the truth never sounds as good but remains the truth.

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The Resident has reached a new high in trying to achieve his agenda and as usual uses any misinformation he is told. His favorite target is still President Obama. The recent stretch is regarding 100 plus Judicial vacancies. These vacancies are primarily the fault of the Congressional majority and its leader Bitch McConnell, McConnell if we recall, stated publicly that “this President (Obama) will be a one term President and to that end not much legislation submitted by President Obama got passed, few Judicial appointments were approved. This is the party of President Trump. As a voter the actions of the current majority party and its Titular heads should enrage you. The current administration and the Congressional leaders have their own agendas and we as voters are not part of it. It is wise to remember that for many years most of our “representatives” on both sides have become increasingly self-indulgent and lie to us when election time comes. We now have the ultimate punishment :Donald Trump as President (in his mind Emperor). The effects of this Presidency will be chaos for a number of years and if we do not oust the current Congressional leaders we will fare no better. Forget the rhetoric, the tweets and finger-pointing. Pay attention to the actual facts, get these facts by reading a variety of publications because that’s where the truth lies. The entertainment “news” is merely the unilateral opinions of people who do not share your interests and are seeking ratings rather than the truth. If we ignore the activities of this administration and the long serving Congress we are doomed to have the same poor Governance we have now.

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During the recent Senatorial campaign for office in Utah one candidate stated that “he wants to work for the people of Utah”. Perhaps I am wrong but isn’t the job of all Senators to work for their districts and hopefully by extension all Americans? Apparently this is a mantra espoused by many office seekers but once elected, the mantra disappears and the real person emerges to meld with the existing neer do wells. If we consider the existing members of Congress, we as voters would be better served carefully considering the words spoken before electing someone to office no matter if it’s City, State or Federal. These folks have the ability to help or hinder and we never know which until after election in spite of their insistence that they are doing what they told us before getting in office. It must be remembered that being in office brings certain perks and challenges. The perks appear to be more the goal than the doing the actual job. The recent past election brought us the subsequent Proclamations and roll backs of health care provisions coupled with a disastrous Tax Plan that will haunt us for years to come. It is clear that we need to elect people who understand that we will unseat them for poor performance. Recently we have come to understand that “Kissing the ring” will get you a post in this (mis) administration no matter your qualifications or  lack of ability to do the job. The people of the United States are and have been in the past gravely underserved by the people we elected and now we have gross incompetence abetted by a flawed Congress led by possibly 2 of the worst leaders in many years. It should be understood that we as voters deserve better but will not get it without “vetting” the people we want to elect. Campaign rhetoric and slogans are not the same as what they do once they are in office. If there is a divergence from what we need then we need to spend a stamp, email and call to protest to that person. Anyone who has contacted their representative knows that often we get a canned type response which is non-committal and usually does not respond directly to us however we need to keep doing it, think of it like wound that you keep picking , it will not heal until you stop. Our wound is poor  representation and we need to keep picking at it.

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Campaign promises are usually just (promises) that since most people who run for office cannot most times fulfill  these promises without a full understanding of what the long and short-range effects will be. The current Oval Office Resident is leading by adoration, He is no more than a panderer of misinformation, this misinformation gets him cheers and applause but it is a cover for his ineptitude. A trade war with China will trickle down to American farmers and exporters of goods. The tax reform  will not definitely result in more jobs even though there are some wage increases (average about 10%). This demand for a Border wall and more security is based on a campaign promise, not facts. The so called stream of immigrants is into Mexico and that country has that situation under control. The so called  economy boom is the result of actions taken before his election and rather than ride that wave, he is attempting to take credit for it while creating trade issues that will affect our European partners as well as our local businesses. The issues are actually non issues but this Resident has to have chaos to cover his lack of knowledge about the job and its effect on the US and our partners. A wiser man would gather folks who actually know what is happening in the world and act accordingly rather than people who have their own agenda and coincidentally does his bidding. The current media that touts itself as Conservative is rife with provocateurs as opposed to Journalists who report based on facts no matter what their personal beliefs are. This explosion of “isms” and adherence to specific labels is for the most part no more than covert Racism. It has been my experience that Anyone who states” they not biased about someone or something “is usually not telling the truth. We as people are not Saints so having biases is no true sin but denial of that bias to gain an advantage is. This is a major part of the “Campaign promise”. This is apparently a major part of the biased media, no matter which side they fall on. One main factor of our current political system is the ability to offer an idea (true or not) and have it go viral before its disproved or proved, once it is viral it nearly impossible to change due to the inherent or learned biases we All have. Contrary to popular belief the swamp is still in existence and as wet as ever. The true swamp is the long serving Congress who many of us have allowed to serve in spite of their failings as shown under this administration and the previous one. The remedy for this poor Governance is simple-Voting! If each one of us made the attempt to set aside our biases and looked closely at the candidate’s past and present actions we may find that they have not been doing us any great services. Two examples of the people we have voted for prior to their service in the current administration: Scott Pruitt and Tom Price. I firmly believe that the hope that we would get better leadership has not been in vain, we just needed to have the light shown on the long time servants of themselves by the advent of TOTUS.

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Explain to me how can a program work when it is restricted as the Current administration has restricted the ACA (aka Obamacare). This program which benefitted many more people than the GOP wants you to believe has been under attack since it’s inception. The current administration has derided it as a failure but not telling the whole truth. Campaign rhetoric and promises that harm the public are as criminal as bodily harm. The administration will point to this decrease as a victory but ask the people who are affected by the loss or decrease of health care. If you are affected by these changes then you need to step up and engage in getting people elected who will do what good for you. MA.
Reuters 15 hours ago

CMS’s Verma says 11.8 million signed up for 2018 Obamacare exchange plans
(Reuters) – About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, a 3 percent drop from last year when 12.2 million consumers signed up, according to a final government tally released on Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The tally includes both sign-ups on the exchange run by the federal government for 39 states, which was released on a provisional basis late in 2017, and on the 12 other exchanges run by Washington, D.C. and the remaining states.
CMS said the average premium before tax credits in 2018 is $621 a month, an increase of more than 30 percent from last year.
However, those receiving tax credits – around 83 percent of consumers on Obamacare – will pay around $89 a month on average in premiums, the agency said. That is down 16 percent from $106 a month last year.
Private insurers sell strictly regulated individual insurance plans through the Obamacare online exchanges that the government subsidizes based on a person’s income.
U.S. President Donald Trump in October cut off billions of dollars in subsidy payments to insurers that help people pay for medical costs, causing insurers to raise 2018 premiums or drop out of selling plans in the Obamacare marketplace.
His administration also halved the enrollment period to six weeks and cut the federal advertising and outreach budget by 90 percent. It also has proposed putting cheaper insurance policies offering bare-bones medical coverage on the Obamacare market in 2019 or 2020.


The Resident has reached a new high in trying to achieve his agenda and as usual uses any misinformation he is told. His favorite target is still President Obama. The recent stretch is regarding 100 plus Judicial vacancies. These vacancies are primarily the fault of the Congressional majority and its leader Bitch McConnell, McConnell if we recall stated publicly that “this President (Obama) will be a one term President and to that end not much legislation submitted by President Obama got passed few Judicial appointments were approved. This is the party of President Trump. As a voter the actions of the current majority party and it Titular heads should enrage you. The current administration and the Congressional leaders have their own agendas and we as voters are not part of it. It is wise to remember that for many years most of our “representatives” on both sides have become increasingly self-indulgent and lie to us when election time comes. We now have the ultimate punishment :Donald Trump as President (in his mind Emperor). The effects of this Presidency will be chaos for a number of years and if we do not oust the current Congressional leaders we will fare no better. Forget the rhetoric, the tweets and finger-pointing. Pay attention to the actual facts, get these facts by reading a variety of publications because that’s where the truth lies. The entertainment “news” is merely the unilateral opinions of people who do not share your interests and are seeking ratings rather than the truth. If we ignore the activities of this administration and the long serving Congress we are doomed to have the same poor Governance we have now.

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If this is an example of the Evangelicals or Religious folks who support Totus, then many of us are going to “Hell in a Handbasket” . This rant by a “man of the Cloth” is clear that aside from a possible self proclaimed Ministerial cloak, Pastor Locke appears to be no more than an attention seeking Trumpian: I have included the Pastor’s FB information so you can decide what or who he is:

GE INFO

Launched on November 5, 2014

INTERESTS

Personal Interests
Preaching, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Reading, Missions, Church Planting, Stewardship, Homeless Ministry, Leadership, Vision Casting, Generosity

CONTACT INFO

Call (615) 553-2990

tai@globalvisionbc.com

https://globalvisionbc.com

@pastorlocke

MORE INFO

Affiliation
Global Vision Bible Church

About
The Official Facebook page for Pastor Greg Locke. He’s the Lead Pastor @ Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, TN and a sought after conference speaker

Biography
Since 1992, Pastor Greg Locke has travelled around the world preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 2006 he became the Founding and Lead Pastor of Global Vision Church

Gender
Male

Gillian Edevane
Newsweek•March 27, 2018

Pastor Says If Jesus Supported ‘Demon Possessed Traitor,’ Evangelicals Can Support Trump
Prominent Pro-Trump evangelicals have sounded off on the Stormy Daniels controversy in recent days, with many vowing to continue supporting the president despite an alleged affair with the adult film star.
Tennessee pastor Greg Locke, who made headlines last year for a viral rant against gay people, shared his rationalization for supporting the blustery business mogul with his 30,000 followers and 1.5 million Facebook followers.
“People are like ‘If you support Trump you can’t be a Christian,'” Locke tweeted.
“Do y’all listen when you talk? Jesus hired a demon possessed traitor to handle his money for 3 years. He can use the President if He so desires. Take a seat people.”

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 The ongoing Trump influence again shows no pretense of correctness even in areas that “like” him.MA

Newsweek

Nicole Goodkind

2 hrs ago 

President Donald Trump won Republican-friendly Texas by nine points in 2016, securing his path to the White House and the GOP’s hold over Washington. But now this ruby red state, with its mélange of arid landscapes, oversized steaks and cosmopolitan cities brimming with people from around the world, could lose representation in Congress and billions of federal dollars because of a Trump administration decision to add a question about citizenship status to the U.S. Census in 2020.

The change, instated by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Monday night, would bring back a question last seen in the 1950s. Ross claims the citizenship question will be used to increase data and prevent voter discrimination. But detractors argue the shift is intended to scare immigrants and prevent them from participating, and it’s the voters in Texas, many of whom backed Trump, who could be among the hardest hit.

Once the new federal survey lands, Texas, a state that already exceeds the national average for low Census response scores, could face new obstacles in accurately representing its population, a figure that determines Congressional representation and federal funding. A vocal group of bipartisan critics say that questions about citizenship would dissuade a large percentage of legal and undocumented Texas residents from answering the Census, which is used to calculate the state’s official population. There are nearly five million immigrants living in Texas, and more than half of them are undocumented or live with someone who is. 

An undercount of Texas’s immigrant population could lead to underrepresentation in Congress, less federal funding for citizens still recovering from Hurricane Harvey and fewer Congressional districts, which could stymie the so-called blue wave of Democrats winning office in the typically Republican state.

The new Census question “will scare away millions of people in our country from participating, skewing the results and costing Texas billions of dollars in federal funds over the next 10 years,” said U.S. Representative Joaquín Castro, a Democrat representing parts of San Antonio and Austin, in email to Newsweek.

Texas is one of a handful states slated to gain seats in Congress after the 2020 Census count, in part because of its growing immigrant community. In 2010, the state added four new seats fueled largely by a 42 percent growth in its Hispanic population.

“Texas was supposed to pick up three seats in Congress after the next Census and this decision could cost us one of those,” said Castro.

Funding and representation often go hand-in-hand, and an undercount could limit both. The Census is used by the federal government to allocate more than $675 billion in federal funds annually for health, welfare, infrastructure and other federal services. Nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants reside in Houston alone.

“While our immigrant communities include both documented and undocumented, today’s anti-immigrant rhetoric can only suppress an accurate Census count–in Houston and across our country,” Margaret Wallace Brown, deputy director for the Houston Planning and Development Department, told the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January. Brown expressed concern about “the diaspora of Houstonians flooded out of their homes and businesses due to Hurricane Harvey. The interruption of established social and community networks will further complicate an accurate count.”

An undercount could mean “a loss of millions in resources for health care, public education, infrastructure and transportation, disaster relief and preparedness, and the distribution of billions in federal funds critical to projects in Texas,” said U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from El Paso running for the Senate against incumbent Ted Cruz, in email to Newsweek.

Cruz, who was born in Canada and maintains hardline anti-immigration views, was part of a group that recommended the additional Census question to the Department of Commerce. The senator called the question a “reasonable, common-sense addition” to the Census in a group statement with Republican Senators Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, and Jim Inhofe, of Oklahoma Monday night. “It is imperative that the data gathered in the Census is reliable, given the wide-ranging impacts it will have on U.S. policy,” Cruz added.

Democrats argue that the citizenship question would undermine a growing left-leaning populace that Democrats are hoping can turn Texas from a deeply red to purple state. In Texas’s three largest counties, Democratic primary voters outnumbered Republicans in 2018, a significant change from 2014 when the opposite was true.

“This change is purely political,” said Ryan Robinson, Austin City demographer who has worked through four decennial Censuses, to Newsweek. “There’s nothing we’re going to gain from an efficiency standpoint. This is all about Democrats versus Republicans.”

Immigrants tend to congregate in cities, which largely vote Democratic in Texas. But having fewer Congressional districts representing these population centers, “will slow the march toward purple; this will be a step or two backwards,” said Robinson.

Democrats also fear that Texas Republicans will use the new data to redraw Congressional districts to limit the power of immigrant voters, who tend to lean left.

“Beyond decade-long impacts on Texas families, it will also work in tandem with gerrymandering to erode the voting rights of those in our state and threaten our representation in the Federal government,” said O’Rourke.

Outrage around the issue, however, could work in Democrats’ favor ahead of the November midterm elections. American Bridge, a progressive group that supports Democratic candidates, says the change would fuel voter turnout among Latino and other immigrant groups. “This cowardly attack on the Constitution and the democratic process is an attempt by Donald Trump to sell Texas and a host of other states short, denying them the federal dollars that they deserve,” said spokesperson Andrew Bates to Newsweek. “Keeping this bigoted dog whistle of a question from being part of the 2020 Census is yet another reason the American public will vote for a Democratic Congress in November.”

Ross defended the addition of the question, saying that the value of the data would outweigh any underrepresentation. “Secretary Ross carefully considered the argument that the reinstatement of the citizenship question on the decennial Census would depress response rate,” a Department of Commerce spokesperson told Newsweek. “Secretary Ross found that the need for accurate citizenship data and the limited burden that the reinstatement of the citizenship question would impose outweigh fears about a potentially lower response rate.”

But a letter circulated internally at the U.S. Census bureau in September showed that the government workers had found that asking about citizenship caused fear and could possibly reduce the response rate of immigrants. There had been a “recent increase in respondents spontaneously expressing concerns about confidentiality in some of our pretesting studies conducted in 2017,” the memo said, referring to the American Community Survey, an ongoing Census survey that already collects data about citizenship status.

Adding a question to the Census less than two years before 2020 is irresponsible, said Lloyd Potter, former Texas state demographer and director of the Texas State Data Center at the University of Texas San Antonio. “We’ve been working on these questions for a decade and to all of a sudden put a question out there that hasn’t been tested is unprecedented,” he told Newsweek. The Census typically needs about five years to accurately test the impacts and validity of a question, he said.

“The Census is a huge logistic problem and the bureau is very good at systematically developing methods and testing them, and to throw something so rushed into this very structured and well-regulated process is my biggest concern,” said Potter.

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Here it is again!: Mitch McConnell is getting himself or his GOP set for re-election or election this year. He is pushing for Marijuana legalization to pose as more liberal than he is. His MO is always the same: look our Mitch! He advocated for coal with lies about Obama killing coal jobs which were already dead and gone, he has purposely kept quiet on his part in passing the tax reform(?) and the recent spending bill. He and Paul (miscreant) Ryan have conspired to do their dirty work by allowing the “Resident” to rant and rave about anything he wants without comment. They allowed certain Democratic add ons in the spending bill to cover themselves. Essentially they are still the same old neer do wells they have always been. It is time to put your voting power to work and get new people elected no matter what party as long as they are moderate (which means they will work with the other side.MA

BRUCE SCHREINER,

Associated Press 16 minutes ago

Wisconsin taking applications to grow industrial hemp
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Senate’s top leader said Monday he wants to bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the controlled substances list that now associates it with its cousin — marijuana.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told hemp advocates in his home state of Kentucky that he will introduce legislation to legalize the crop as an agricultural commodity. The versatile crop has been grown on an experimental basis in a number of states in recent years.
“It’s now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop,” McConnell said.
Kentucky has been at the forefront of hemp’s comeback. Kentucky agriculture officials recently approved more than 12,000 acres (4,856 hectares) to be grown in the state this year, and 57 Kentucky processors are helping turn the raw product into a multitude of products.
Growing hemp without a federal permit has long been banned due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.
Hemp got a limited reprieve with the 2014 federal Farm Bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development. So far, 34 states have authorized hemp research, while actual production occurred in 19 states last year, said Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp. Hemp production totaled 25,541 acres (10,336 hectares) in 2017, more than double the 2016 output, he said.
The crop, which once thrived in Kentucky, was historically used for rope but has many other uses, including clothing and mulch from the fiber, hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds, and soap and lotions. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels.
Hemp advocates fighting for years to restore the crop’s legitimacy hailed McConnell’s decision to put his political influence behind the effort to make it a legal crop again.
“This is a huge development for the hemp industry,” Steenstra said. “Sen. McConnell’s support is critical to helping us move hemp from research and pilot programs to full commercial production.”
Brian Furnish, an eighth-generation tobacco farmer in Kentucky, has started making the switch to hemp production. His family will grow about 300 acres (120 hectares) of hemp this year in Harrison County. He’s also part owner of a company that turns hemp into food, fiber and dietary supplements.
Furnish said hemp has the potential to rival or surpass what tobacco production once meant to Kentucky.
“All we’ve got to do is the government get out of the way and let us grow,” he told reporters.
McConnell acknowledged there was “some queasiness” about hemp in 2014 when federal lawmakers cleared the way for states to regulate it for research and pilot programs. There’s much broader understanding now that hemp is a “totally different” plant than its illicit cousin, he said.
“I think we’ve worked our way through the education process of making sure everybody understands this is really a different plant,” the Republican leader said.
McConnell said he plans to have those discussions with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to emphasize the differences between the plants. The Trump administration has taken a tougher stance on marijuana.
The Department of Justice’s press office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
McConnell said his bill will attract a bipartisan group of co-sponsors. He said the measure would allow states to have primary regulatory oversight of hemp production if they submit plans to federal agriculture officials outlining how they would monitor production.
“We’re going to give it everything we’ve got to pull it off,” he said.
In Kentucky, current or ex-tobacco farmers could easily make the conversion to hemp production, Furnish said. Equipment and barns used for tobacco can be used to produce hemp, he said. Tobacco production dropped sharply in Kentucky amid declining smoking rates.
Furnish said his family has reaped profits of about $2,000 per acre for hemp grown for dietary supplements, better than what they’ve made from tobacco, he said.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, whose great-grandfather grew hemp for rope to support the war effort in the 1940s, said he hopes hemp’s legalization can “open the floodgates and we can see the true potential of this crop.”
“We hope to position Kentucky to maximize the benefit of this crop once legalized, so the economic activity stays right here,” he said.

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