Author Archives: Jennifer Briney

CD178: Election Insecurity

Since the 2016 election, our country has been questioning whether our elections are secure, fair, and accurate. In this episode, we examine the threats to our election administration, both real and overblown.

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Letter to Congress about Family Separation

Dear _____,

I’m writing today because I’m deeply disturbed by recent news reports about immigrant parents being separated from their children when they illegally cross the U.S. southern border.

I understand that the Trump administration has chosen to prosecute all illegal border crossers as criminals and there is little you can do about that. However, Congress does have the power to authorize the hiring of more immigration judges and require those positions be filled in under a year. I believe that the only way to enforce “zero tolerance” constitutionally is to ensure that immigrant families are released in under 20 days. If we had enough judges, the cases could be heard fast enough that detention longer than 20 days could be rendered unnecessary.

In an April 18th hearing in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, witness Patrick McHenry, the Director of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, had the following exchange with Sen. Mike Lee. You can also watch this 2 minute long exchange for yourself at this link:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4738866/700-judges-clear-immigration-case-backlog

– Timestamp: 41:50: Senator Mike Lee (UT): I believe you recently testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee that it would take about 700 immigration judges in order to be able to address the backlog and address the current case load. Is that correct? James McHenry: Yeah, last fall the president proposed adding additional immigration judges, up to a number of 700. If we can get 700 on board, especially with our performance measures, we could complete over 450,000 cases a year. That would eviscerate the backlog. Sen. Lee: So, 700 would do it. James McHenry: Based on the current numbers, it would certainly go a very long way toward eliminating it, yes. Sen. Lee: How many do you have right now? James McHenry: We have 334 on board. Currently, we’re authorized, based on the recent omnibus spending bill, for up to 484. Even getting to that number would allow us to begin completing more cases than new receipts that we have in. Sen. Lee: How long does that normally take? My understanding is that between 2011 and 2016 it was taking about two years to hire a typical immigration judge. Is that still the case? James McHenry: No. We have reduced that average. The attorney general issued a new hiring process memo to streamline the process last April. In using that process, we’ve put out five advertisements since the end of June for up to 84 positions in total. The first of those advertisements closed at the end of June last year. We expect to bring on the first judges from that advertisement in May, which will be right at approximately 10 months, and we anticipate bringing on the rest of them in July, which will be right at one year. And we think we can get to a stage where we are bringing on judges in eight months, 10 months, 12 months—a year at the most.

By my calculations, if 700 judges could clear the backlog and we already have 334 judges, that means that we need to hire 366 more judges. The Trump administration has only been authorized to hire 484, so I would like to see Congress change that authorization as soon as possible to at least 700 judges, preferably more. I would also like Congress to provide the funding necessary to hire these judges immediately.

As a taxpayer, I would much rather pay the salaries of 366 more judges than pay to house, clothe, and feed families in detention camps indefinitely.

Please consider this proposal. I think this is a way for the administration to keep their zero tolerance policy while minimizing the damage to immigrant families.

Thank you.

CD177: Immigrant Family Separations

A new policy change by the Trump administration on May 7th has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their want-to-be-immigrant parents who crossed the U.S. southern border in the wrong location. In this episode, hear from officials in every branch of government involved to learn why this is happening, why it’s proving to be so difficult to return the children to their parents, and what we can do to help this situation. Continue reading

CD176: Target Venezuela: Regime Change in Progress

Venezuela, home to the world’s largest oil reserves, is a country that has been experimenting with a new so-called “socialist” economic model for twenty years. For this sin, two consecutive Venezuelan Presidents have been targeted for regime change by the architects of the “free market” World Trade System, an economic system they intend to be global. In this episode, learn the recent history of Venezuela and hear the highlights of a March 2017 Congressional hearing (which was not aired on television in the United States) during which strategies for a Venezuelan regime change were discussed, and then learn about the regime change steps that have been taken since that hearing which have unfolded exactly how the witnesses advised. Pat Grogan joins Jen for Thank Yous.

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CD175: State of War

The State Department is known as the agency that solves conflicts with words but a closer look reveals that it’s much more connected to war than most of us think. By examining the State Department’s funding for 2018, discover the State Department’s role in regime changes past, current, and future. In this episode, you’ll also get an introduction to the National Endowment for Democracy, a scandalous organization with a noble sounding name. Mike Glaser joins Jen for the Thank You’s. Continue reading

CD174: Bank Lobbyist Act

The Bank Lobbyist Act was just signed into law and, as the nickname suggests, it is a banker’s wet dream. In this episode, learn the details of this new law including the many favors to banks big and small – which undoubtedly make our entire financial system riskier – along with a few good provisions that can help you protect your identity and maybe even increase your credit score. Joe Briney joins Jen for the thank you’s.

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CD173: War & Prairie Chickens

The law that funded the government for 2018 is 2,232 pages and Jen has finished reading a quarter of it. In this episode, learn about the most interesting provisions she found in the Department of Defense and environmental sections of the quickly passed funding law. Continue reading

CD172: The Illegal Bombing of Syria

On Friday the 13th of April, President Trump bombed the government of Syria? Again. In this episode, learn some of the little-discussed history of and reasons for the on-going attempts to overthrow the government of Syria. Continue reading

CD171: 2,232 Pages

In a special crossover episode of The David Pakman Show on YouTube, hear the infuriating story of how the 2,232 page “omnibus” government funding bill became law , discover a provision snuck into law that further erodes privacy rights, learn why only some stoners and legit medical marijuana patients are protected by the omnibus, and hear about some strange provisions that appear to give free reign to the intelligence agencies for the next six months. Continue reading

CD149: Fossil Fuel Foxes


Exxon Mobil’s CEO is now the Secretary of State. The Koch Brothers’ Congressman is the CIA Director. We’ve already seen signs that the Trump Administration and the fossil fuel industry are merging. In this episode, hear the highlights of the confirmation hearings of the two men now most responsible for environmental law enforcement in the United States: Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt. Will they protect the environment from the fossil fuel industry or did President Trump appoint foxes to guard the henhouse?

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