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Rep. Jim McGovern: ‘Long Past Time’ for Congress to Stop Deferring to Obama on Afghanistan

In response to President Barack Obama announcing on Thursday that he will “maintain our current posture of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) issued a statement the same day calling on Congress to “take responsibility for this conflict and vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that clearly defines the current mission and ensures that there is a clear strategy for withdrawal.”
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Senate Criminal Justice Reform Bill Would Create New Mandatory Minimum Sentences

No wonder Americans have such disdain for Congress. On Thursday, a bipartisan group of nine United States senators joined together to introduce the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. In a press release heralding the bill’s introduction, sponsor Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and several of the bill’s cosponsors commend the bill as mitigating overly-harsh aspects of the US criminal justice system, including mandatory minimum sentences. Left unmentioned is the fact that the bill, should it become law, would actually create new mandatory minimum sentences while lengthening existing maximum sentences.

Say one thing and do another. The deception continues on Capitol Hill.

No doubt, most or all of the senators who signed on to the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act are aware of shifts in public sentiment regarding incarceration and the drug war in which maximum minimums have played a prominent role. Seeking to appease public demands for reductions in government power while surreptitiously increasing that power is an old trick in the Washington, DC chicanery book.

Reading the press release announcing the bill, we see the senators promoting their bill as a fulfillment the public’s demand. Yet, reading the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, we see that the Senators are actually attempting to do something entirely different behind the scenes.
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Draft Ron Paul - A Modest Proposal

Writes Lew Rockwell on his Political Theater blog:
Draft Ron Paul! He doesn’t need to be a Member of Congress to be Speaker of the House, points out expert Daniel McAdams, and he could do most of it from Texas and his TV studio. The real outsider, the authentic anti-establishment candidate, the man everyone can trust. Ron Paul for Speaker!
Think of the money that would be saved having a Speaker based in Clute, TX, instead of the corrupt halls of Washington! What high-powered lobbyist would dream of making the journey down to what they view as fly-over country? And if they did arrive, guess what kind of welcome they would receive. Would they try to bribe Speaker Paul with the delectable selections from DJ's Barbecue across the street from the Liberty Report studio? Fat chance!
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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher Dresses Down Drug War ‘Bitter-Enders’

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the United States government’s war on drugs, and especially its war on marijuana, is being torn down by state and local governments choosing to move in a less punitive direction. But, drug warriors, in and out of government, are trying their best to keep the war going and the casualty count increasing. From Rep. John Flemming (R-LA) promoting misinformation about marijuana in the US House of Representatives to former “Drug Czars” William J. Bennett and John P. Walters writing nostalgically in the Boston Globe about the drug war that they assert “worked,” the drug warriors are refusing to just fade away.

In an insightful USA Today editorial “Bitter-end drug warriors do more damage than weed” published Friday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) dresses down the drug war promoters, whom he terms “bitter-enders.” Rohrabacher devotes substantial attention in the editorial to criticizing marijuana prohibition in particular. Still, much of his critique extends to the entire war on drugs.
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Firing House Speaker John Boehner

Shortly before United States House of Representatives members left Washington, DC for the August recess, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced a resolution declaring the office of speaker of the house vacant. The passing of the resolution would effectively fire House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) from his top leadership position.

While Meadows’ resolution is unusual, so also was 24 Republicans choosing to vote for a variety of people to be speaker instead of fellow party member Boehner in January at the beginning of the new Congress. Another Republican member voted “present,” while four more did not vote.
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US War on Your Passport Continues

Just the other day we wrote about a US House "suspension" bill that would give the Secretary of State the authority to cancel your passport if he decided that you had "aided" an organization that he rules is terrorist. There is no definition of what "aided" means, no chance to dispute the Secretary's decision, no trial or presentation of evidence, and in fact any evidence the government has can be classified as secret so that you may not see it. In effect the Secretary of State can unilaterally consign you to internal exile and there is nothing you can do about it.

Because Members of the US House were too cowardly to go on record voting for such an anti-American piece of legislation, the bill passed by a voice vote

Today the US Senate plans to one-up its counterparts on the lowlier side of Capitol Hill. Buried inside the US highways funding bill is a provision to revoke or deny issuance of a US passport to anyone who has a large outstanding tax debt to the US Internal Revenue Service. 
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Today Congress Votes to Take Your Passport

Revolutions become horrific parodies as they inevitably turn inward on their own people. The suffering former subjects of Louis XVI soon understood liberté, égalité, fraternité to in fact mean the guillotine. In the name of fighting one's enemies, the regime takes to cannibalizing its own citizens, as the motion of the action requires ever more fodder to create energy for the machine.

Which brings us to the matter of HR 237, coming to the Floor of the US House today on, of all things, the "suspension calendar." This "suspension calendar" accommodates bills that should traditionally be uncontroversial in nature and thus not requiring the full daylight of a thorough Congressional debate.
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Rep John Duncan: ‘Permanent, Forever, Endless War in the Middle East’ is Not Conservative

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., in a speech Wednesday on the House of Representatives floor, quoted several prominent conservatives to help make the case that “there has been nothing conservative about our policy of permanent, forever, endless war in the Middle East.” In the speech, Duncan quotes, in turn, thought-provoking comments from Thomas Sowell, David Keene, Jon Utley, Peggy Noonan, and William F. Buckley, Jr.
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Reps. McGovern, Jones, and Lee to Force House Vote This Month on ISIS War Withdrawal

The days of the United States House of Representatives leadership blocking debate and a vote on the ISIS War appear to be coming to an end. On Thursday, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), along with Reps Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), introduced, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, a privileged resolution (H.Con.Res. 55) intended to force the House to debate and vote within 15 days on withdrawing US armed forces from Iraq and Syria.

Upon the resolution’s introduction, Reps. McGovern and Jones (a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member) spoke for 26 compelling and informative minutes on the House floor regarding the resolution they had introduced, as well as their frustration with the US war in Iraq and Syria and the failure of Congress to meet its responsibility to debate and vote on that war.
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Breaking: FREEDOM Act Passes Senate, Freedom Dies

By a vote of 67-32 the Senate today passed the USA FREEDOM Act, just days after the expiration of key elements of the USA PATRIOT Act. The FREEDOM Act is billed as a bill to reform the unconstitutional and recently-ruled illegal bulk collection of Americans' telecommunications, but in fact it is a whole new level of attack on civil liberties.
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