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Bipartisan Group of Senators Beginning Push for Big Increase in US Military Spending

There is no doubt that the US government engages in extraordinary military and “national security” spending. In February, a Washington Post article cited an International Institute for Strategic Studies report ranking US “defense spending” at four and a half times that of China (the next biggest spender), close to matching China and the next 13 nations combined, and more than a third of the total defense spending of all nations. As explained by Ron Paul Institute Academic Board Member Robert Higgs, even such calculations far understate US national security spending by focusing on the Department of Defense base budget while neglecting to include significant expenses including, for example, separately allocated war spending and US Department of Energy spending on the nuclear weapons program.

Despite this vast spending dwarfing that of other nations around the world, Alexander Bolton reports in the The Hill on Saturday that a bipartisan group of US Senators is focusing on gaining Senate approval for increased military spending beyond 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) limitations when appropriations legislation is considered later this year.
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Congressional Leaders Subverting Regular Procedure to Rush Through Fast Track Authority?

Is fast track being fast tracked? George Zornick at the Nation today suggests that the fast track authority for President Barack Obama to enter the United States into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive, wide-scope international agreement, may soon be rushed through Congress without adequate opportunity for Congress members and the American people to consider the matter. This circumvention of regular process in Congress and of public scrutiny should not be a surprise given that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) support the granting of this presidential power that Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member, calls “absolutely a threat on our Constitution, on our sovereignty.”
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Reps. McGovern and Jones to Force House Vote on War in Iraq and Syria

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), in an interview Tuesday with the Daily Hampshire Gazette, revealed his plan to introduce, along with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), a privileged resolution in the US House of Representatives that will require a prompt vote regarding the war on the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. While Congress has voted to spend some funds on part of the war, there has been no floor vote in the House or Senate regarding authorization of the war since President Barack Obama started bombings in August. The resolution would be introduced after the April 13 return of House members from recess to Washington, DC.
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God Save the Queen (of the Hill)?

Today, the House of Representatives will vote on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. As is custom, there will be a series of votes on various substitute budgets, including substitutes offered by the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Democratic Leadership, and the conservative Republican Study Committee.

There will also be two official Republican budgets....why two? Because the budget passed out of the House budget committee "only" spends $613 billion on defense in FY2016 and "only" increases defense spending by $387 billion over ten years.  So Republicans on the House Millitary-Industrial Complex  (oops...I mean Armed Services) Committee threatened to vote against the rule unless the House leadership increased defense spending.
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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: US Seeking to Humiliate and Defeat Russia Will Mean More Ukraine Suffering

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) provided some refreshing counterweight to the war promoting statements of the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and ranking member at the committee’s Ukraine hearing on Wednesday with sole witness Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Rohrabacher, who chairs the committee’s subcommittee with Ukraine jurisdiction — the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats — begins his exchange with Nuland by challenging the “black and white alternatives” being discussed at the hearing. Rohrabacher proceeds to warn that the US having a goal “to basically defeat and humiliate Russia” instead of “to do what is right by Ukraine and bring peace to Ukraine” will mean that “the people of Ukraine will continue to suffer and suffer and suffer.”
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Sen. Cory Booker: Use War on Drugs Resources to Expand War on Guns

Be cautious, advocates for liberty who are cheering the apparent winding down of the United States government’s war on marijuana and that war’s replacement with a patchwork quilt of revised state and local laws more tolerant of marijuana growth, distribution, and use. This trend is good news, and it carries hope for similar results regarding the broader war on drugs. The bad news is that some politicians, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), want to move drug war resources into new government assaults on liberty.
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Will Reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address Influence Senate Warmongers?

Per longstanding United States Senate tradition, on Monday afternoon a senator — this year Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) — will read President George Washington’s farewell address on the Senate floor. The Senate website declares that no Senate tradition “has been more steadfastly maintained,” noting the first reading of the speech on the Senate floor occurred in 1862 and that “[e]very year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington's Birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session.”

With the Senate for so many years promoting, financing, and allowing the executive branch to unilaterally pursue overt and covert interventions across the globe, one question comes to mind: Will the reading of Washington’s farewell address, with its hard-hitting noninterventionist foreign policy admonitions, have any influence on the many warmongers and war facilitators in the Senate?
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Rep. Walter Jones Challenges McConnell and Boehner on Giving Obama Fast Track Authority

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), while a guest last week on the Laura Ingraham Show, criticized United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for supporting giving President Barack Obama “fast track” authority for potential international agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Jones says giving fast track authority — sometimes called trade promotion authority — to the president is “absolutely a threat on our Constitution, on our sovereignty.”
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Don’t Trust Obama’s Rhetoric - His War Authorization Allows Fighting by US Ground Troops

The proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force that President Barack Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday would allow United States ground troops to engage in battle around the world. No matter what aspirations Obama may declare regarding limiting the use of US ground troops, the proposed AUMF places little to no restraint on their use in the ISIS War.

Obama spoke truthfully in his statement announcing his AUMF proposal when he said “The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria.” Though truthful, Obama’s comment is deceptive because it leaves out some important information. Left unsaid is the fact that the proposed AUMF authorizes Obama and the next US president to deploy ground troops worldwide at their discretion.
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Ron Paul Warns of Mandatory E-Verify Dangers

Ron Paul, who served in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from Texas, submitted comments on Wednesday to the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee warning of many dangers that may arise from making E-Verify a mandatory component of hiring under US law. Mandatory E-Verify is one of the “tough on illegal immigration” proposals being considered in Congress.
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