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Read Now: Brittney Griner's 9.5-Year Sentence Is Harsh Even By Russian Standards – 101 Latest News

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Brittney Griner's 9.5-Year Sentence Is Harsh Even By Russian Standards

#Brittney #Griner039s #95Year #Sentence #Harsh #Russian #Standards

Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9.5 years in a Russian penal colony on Thursday. The WNBA player was detained on February 17 after officials reportedly found hashish oil cartridges and vape pens in her luggage while traveling through a Moscow airport. Griner’s lawyers announced that they would appeal her sentence.

“This [verdict] contradicts the existing legal practice. Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is unreasonable,” Griner’s lawyers said in a statement obtained by CNN. “We will certainly file an appeal.” 

Griner’s arrest was likely politically motivated, and her unusually long sentence may be as well. Despite Griner’s relatively minor offense, she received a far longer sentence than other Russian offenders, only a few months from the maximum possible sentence of 10 years. Griner’s lawyers have expressed disappointment and outrage over the sentence, noting that the average sentence for low-level drug possession in Russia is around five years, not nine. 

“As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” they said. “The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea.” 

Whether Griner will spend over nine years in a prison camp or be home with her family in a few months is unclear. What is clear is that Russia’s likely politically motivated arrest and imprisonment of a prominent American athlete is having its intended effect—she is the perfect bargaining chip to secure the release of Russians held in U.S. prisons.

The Biden administration declared Griner “wrongfully detained” in May and announced their offer of a prisoner exchange in July. According to CNN, U.S. officials offered to release weapons trafficker Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner and Paul Whelan, another U.S. citizen imprisoned in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges. However, according to Bloomberg, Russian officials are unlikely to agree to an offer unless they can secure the release of two Russian prisoners.

Further, Russian officials have warned the Biden administration against public discussion of prisoner exchange offers. “They have decided for some reason to solve these problems by the megaphone method. This is not how they are solved,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow. These swaps will never happen if we start discussing any nuances of the exchange in the press.” Friday morning, U.S. and Russian diplomats announced their intention to begin more formal talks to reach a prisoner exchange deal. However, it is unclear how likely it is that Griner’s release will be successfully negotiated.

As U.S. officials express outrage over the case, drug policy advocates note how Griner’s sentence highlights the cruelty of not only the Russian justice system but the American justice system as well. “While many Americans are understandably distressed that an American citizen could be held in a foreign prison for simple possession of a small amount of marijuana reflecting personal use, we should remember that thousands of people have been imprisoned for the same offense right here in America,” says Geoffrey Lawrence, the managing director of drug policy at Reason Foundation, which publishes this website. He tells Reason, “In fact, if Ms. Griner had been caught in a National Park with the same amount of marijuana, federal law would require her to face a minimum penalty of $1,000 plus up to one year in federal prison.”

Several states regularly give multiyear sentences for drug possession. Last year, the Mississippi State Supreme Court upheld the sentencing of one 38-year-old man to life in prison for 1.5 ounces of marijuana under a “habitual offender” law. As Reason‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown wrote: “Marijuana possession in Mississippi is always illegal without a prescription—but not a life-in-prison offense. Yet because Russell made that initial mistake more than a decade earlier, he’s now sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for something that other Mississippians might get sentenced to one year for, and Americans in many other places can buy legally in state-sanctioned stores.”

However, U.S. penalties are generally much more lenient than Russia’s when it comes to drug laws. As Reason’s Jacob Sullum wrote, “Such penalties are severe compared to none at all, of course, and even a misdemeanor conviction can carry ancillary penalties more consequential than the sentence itself.” He continued, “But compared to the situation prior to the 1970s, when states routinely treated marijuana possession as a felony, the current regime seems mild, and it certainly looks enlightened compared to Russia’s approach.”

For now, Griner’s fate remains to be seen, though further detainment for at least a few more months seems likely. If so, she ultimately may end up serving much less time in Russian custody than some, though certainly not most, Americans serve in prison for similar instances of drug possession.

 

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Read Now: Jeffries Hasn’t Spoken to McCarthy Since Agreement – 101 Latest News

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Quote of the Day

#Jeffries #Hasnt #Spoken #McCarthy #Agreement

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News the debt ceiling deal contained no wins for Democrats, claiming that Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told him that himself.

Said McCarthy: “One thing Hakeem told me: there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats.”

But Jeffries told CBS News it’s not true: “I have no idea what he’s talking about, particularly because I have not been able to review the actual legislative text. I talked to him yesterday afternoon… I haven’t spoken to him since that point and time.”

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Read Now: Conservatives continue to rage against debt limit deal, while eyes turn to Progressive Caucus – 101 Latest News

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) speaks with reporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on November 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. DC. Democratic leaders in the House are waiting on the final Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for President Joe Biden's Build Back Better before scheduling a vote on the $1.75 trillion social benefits and climate legislation. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

#Conservatives #continue #rage #debt #limit #deal #eyes #turn #Progressive #Caucus

Let’s start with the Democrats, who had been pretty quiet as the early details leaked. The Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal told CNN earlier today that she was waiting on the legislative text to make a final voting decision, “That’s always, you know, a problem, if you can’t see the exact legislative text. And we’re all trying to wade through spin right now.” That said, she mocked Republicans for not getting what they claimed to want—a reduction in the deficit. Hard to do that when they increased Pentagon spending and removed IRS funding designed to collect unpaid tax revenues.

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With the legislative text out, House Democratic leaders sounded optimistic late in the day about Progressive caucus support. 

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That is the standard reaction after expecting the worst—relief, mixed with surprise, like new food-stamp access for the homeless and veterans—a huge progressive win. (I can’t believe that wasn’t already a thing.)

Aside from question marks about the Progressive Caucus membership, the bulk of the party remained supportive. Insofar as I’m seeing any reaction, it’s simply parroting the White House’s talking points. If anything, any celebrations are muted, lest they add fuel to conservative efforts to scuttle the deal.

But as the Semafor headline noted, “The Democrats (mostly) won the debt ceiling fight.” Or as progressive journalist Josh Marshall put it, Republicans walked into a Deny’s at gunpoint, demanded money, and walked out with nothing more than breakfast. It’s okay to both be disappointed at some of the concessions, while also celebrate Biden’s major negotiating victory in a government in which Republicans, with the House, unfortunately do have a say

Many conservatives remain furious.

Rep. Chip Roy continues his tirade against the deal, tweeting at one point that “it’s worse than I thought every minute that goes by.” 

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And Roy understands the leverage Republicans are losing in the regular budget appropriations process, tweeting that “If you want the border to be secure – no member of the @HouseGOP can vote for this #debtceiling ‘deal’ because it will remove all leverage we have to force action on the border.” 

Of further conservative ire, Roy tweeted that the deal threw out the $131 billion House Republicans cut in their debt limit show bill, designed to get spending back to pre-COVID levels, and replaced them with “what appears to be effectively flat spending […] at the bloated 2023 Omnibus spending level, jammed through in a rush in December…”

In response, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee tweeted, “With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?

Of particular interest is former Trump budget director Russ Vought, who is currently rallying opposition to the deal:

While we wait on text, let’s take the numbers as the GOP is claiming w/o knowing the gimmicks (Dems are claiming higher spending). Deal provides $1.59 trillion in FY24 v. $1.602 in FY23. You gave Biden $4 trillion for $12 billion in cuts largely coming from unspent COVID$?

Or take “It cuts nondefense spending to 2022!” No it doesn’t. FY22 nondefense spending was $689 billion. GOP numbers claim FY24 will be $704 billion. You don’t get a dog biscuit for that.  

Reviewing the text now. Confirms that there only 2 years of actual caps and then 4 years of meaningless language that binds only Congress & easily waived.

 The “administrative PAYGO” is totally worthless. It’s not just that it can be gamed with plans for fake offsets in exchange for real spending. Its that the OMB Director has complete waiver authority in Section 265 if “necessary for program delivery”

So I’m not a budget expert, but what that tells me is that whatever budgetary restrictions exist in the deal, they can easily be waived. 

Furthermore, responding to a seemingly sensible conservative noting that McCarthy’s leverage was limited given that Democrats control the White House and the Senate, Vought furiously responded, “What exactly did [McCarthy] deliver on? You can’t build on it because he gave every leverage point away for the remainder of Biden’s tenure. The bill is worse than a clean debt limit.”

Savor that.

The bill is worse than a clean debt limit.

I actually don’t know if that’s true, to be sure. But I desperately hope it is. 


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Read Now: Biden CBP Denies Government is Providing Financial Support to Illegal Immigrants, Gets Immediately Slapped With Fact Checks – 101 Latest News

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Biden CBP Denies Government is Providing Financial Support to Illegal Immigrants, Gets Immediately Slapped With Fact Checks

#Biden #CBP #Denies #Government #Providing #Financial #Support #Illegal #Immigrants #Immediately #Slapped #Fact #Checks

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied that the federal government provides help or financial assistance to illegal immigrants, prompting a torrent of fact-checkers to come along and state that they are lying.

“NOTICE: Claims that migrants will be provided free travel and transportation to their destination are false,” the CBP’s official Twitter feed posted Thursday. “The U.S. government does not provide help or financial support for noncitizens.”

It is the second time they have made such a claim, posting a duplicate tweet roughly one month ago.

It is unclear what “claims” they are referencing or if the group was simply trying to get out in front of a situation in which illegal aliens coming in are expecting travel and transportation to new locations to be provided.

Regardless, several sources were quick to jump all over the CBP’s claims calling them alternately misleading, false, or a flat-out lie.

RELATED: Invasion Begins: Video Purportedly Shows Illegal Aliens Opening DHS Packets With Smartphones, Some Court Dates Not Until 2035

CBP Gets a Brutal Fact Check or Two

The Heritage Foundation think tank came along and, not pleased with the length of time Twitter’s Community Notes was taking to correct the CBP statement, provided their own fact check.

“Since @CommunityNotes hasn’t shown up yet, we’ll say it. This is a lie,” they wrote. “The U.S. Government pays NGO’s to do the work for them.”

The Heritage Foundation provided a link to their research showing the federal government uses charities “to hide the true cost of the border crisis.”

The report calls the funding of NGO’s through taxpayer funds Biden’s “dirty little secret” and describes them as “charities or religiously affiliated nonprofits but who spend most of their money and time helping illegal immigrants settle in the United States.”

That’s right. Your money helping to resettle illegal aliens into America so they can take even more of your money through social services or by taking jobs from Americans or legal immigrants.

RELATED: Texas Blocks Border Crossing Where Soldier Was Seen Opening Gate for Illegal Immigrants

More Call Out CBP’s Lies

Twitter’s Community Notes did catch up to the situation and slapped the CBP’s tweet with a little fact-check of their own.

“This statement by CBP is misleading as the federal government funds non-government organizations such as Catholic charities to assist in the travel, food, and shelter for illegal aliens and is coordinated by FEMA,” the label reads.

They provide a link to FEMA’s website promoting over $332 million in grants to provide “food, shelter, and services to individuals and families … who entered through the Southwestern Border and who are now awaiting their immigration court proceedings.”

Oh, good. So they’re only providing help and financial assistance until their court dates. Well, at least that shouldn’t take long, right?

Except, as The Political Insider reported earlier this month, documentation provided to illegal immigrants at the border had some being provided with court dates set as late as 2032 and 2035 in Chicago and Florida.

Potentially twelve years of financial assistance and the CBP wants you to believe that nah, we don’t provide financial support for illegal immigrants.

Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin also called the CBP out over their statement.

“This is blatantly false,” he tweeted.

“The U.S. government indirectly provides financial support for migrants by giving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to NGOs via FEMA’s Emergency Food & Shelter Program,” Melugin continued. “The NGOs then assist migrants w/ transportation around U.S & other services.”

Melugin just weeks ago posted a video showing a female National Guard soldier opening a gate and allowing a large crowd of illegal immigrants across the border onto private property in Texas.

The soldier did so, Melugin reported, because she “was following CBP directives to open the gate because the migrants had already crossed onto US soil and needed to be processed.”

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