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Sen. Ron Wyden: House-Passed USA FREEDOM Act is 'Reform in Name Only'

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking Wednesday in his home state of Oregon, declared that the “Status Quo Caucus” including “intelligence leadership, their friends in the House of Representatives, [and] their allies in academia” had successfully transformed the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) into “reform in name only” by the time it was debated and approved on the United States House of Representatives floor.

This development regarding legislation supposedly intended to restrain the US government’s mass spying program comes as little surprise to Wyden, who explains that “[w]hat has happened is what I predicted would happen last fall.”
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Rep. Zoe Lofgren: USA FREEDOM Act Secretly 'Altered in Worrisome Ways'

On Wednesday — the day before the United States House of Representatives voted to approve the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) — Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) explained on the House floor that back room machinations changed the bill between the votes approving it in the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees and the bill’s consideration on the House floor. These shenanigans outside the routine committee process, Lofgren explains, made meaningless some restraints on US government mass spying contained in the bill.
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US House Considers Gold Medal for Shimon Peres, Bill Touts US-Israel “Unbreakable Bond”

The United States House of Representatives is scheduled to consider today awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to Israel President Shimon Peres. Notably, the short bill, HR 2939, that authorizes the creation of the gold medal and its award to Peres touts Peres’ “pivotal role in forging the strong and unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel” and states that “[b]y presenting the Congressional Gold Medal … Congress proclaims its unbreakable bond with Israel and reaffirms its continual support for Israel.” Peres also previously served as prime minister of Israel, as well as in other high-level positions in the Israel government.

It would be appropriate today for members of the House to reflect on the words of the first person awarded a Congressional Gold Medal—President George Washington. In particular, they may read Washington’s farewell address, in which Washington encouraged the United States government to follow a noninterventionist foreign policy. You cannot square Washington’s recommendation with having an “unbreakable bond” with any foreign government. Unlike House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who twists Washington into a champion of a world-wide interventionist agenda, some House members may find wisdom in the reading.
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Rep. John Fleming’s Marijuana and Libertarians Disinformation Campaign

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) presented his absurd and deceptive campaign against all marijuana use in his opening statement for a hearing regarding marijuana laws held by a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the morning of May 9. In the process, Fleming also made a preposterous mischaracterization of libertarianism.

Fleming’s subcommittee statement followed his similarly misleading speech on the House floor in April in opposition to veterans using medical marijuana. And the statement occurred the same day Fleming said he may introduce legislation to block the implementation of a local Washington, DC law that decriminalizes the possession and transfer without payment of an ounce or less of marijuana on private property.
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Following Bundy Ranch Raid, Congress Moves to Transfer Tortoise Habitat to US Military

With the US House of Representatives back in session this week after the standoff between the US Bureau of Land Management on one side and the Bundy family and protestors on the other, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing regarding the BLM. 

What did the hearing concern? Investigating the use of force by US government agents who raided the Bundy ranch, destroyed ranch property, and seized and killed ranch cattle? Reviewing the decades-long policy of arming more and more US government employees? Devising a plan to divest the US government of ownership of vast amounts of land, especially in western states?

No, no, and no!
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Rep. John Duncan’s Plea for US Non-Intervention in Ukraine

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) on March 13 presented on the floor of the United States House of Representatives a brief and insightful plea against the US government “sending billions” of dollars to Ukraine and escalating US intervention to cause “some type of military confrontation.”

Most representatives did not follow Duncan’s advice. Over the last few weeks, Duncan, an RPI Advisory Board member, has voted “no” with small minorities of representatives on bills that promote increasing US intervention and spending in Ukraine and that impose sanctions and demands on Russia.
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Rep. Thomas Massie Bills Would Legalize Raw Milk Sales

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who introduced legislation last year to eliminate the US government’s ban on growing hemp in accordance with state laws, last week introduced two bills that would remove US government restrictions on the sale of raw milk and raw milk products. The two new bills are the Milk Freedom Act (HR 4307) and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act (HR 4308).

Raw milk and raw milk products, such as cheese and butter, are distinguished from other milk and milk products by having not been pasteurized. People may seek out raw milk and raw milk products for a variety of reasons, including because they desire better taste and nutrition.
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Eric Cantor Evokes George Washington and Founders to Promote His War Agenda

Cantor Conservatives

Apparently trying to one-up President Barack Obama, who last month twisted American history and logic to equate US government mass spying with Paul Revere and other revolutionaries’ actions to protect Americans from an oppressive government, House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is claiming President George Washington and the American founders would support Cantor’s world-wide interventionist agenda.

Cantor made the laughable assertion a key theme of his “An America That Leads” speech Monday at the Virginia Military Institute. The agenda Cantor proposes in his speech, and that we can expect the Republican leadership of the House to push, can be summed up as war, war, and more war. Here are some ways Cantor proposes America “leads”:
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Congress Votes to Bring Ukraine to Heel

Not to be outdone by the hyper-interventionist State Department of John Kerry, Victoria Nuland, and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to jump head first into the Ukraine crisis.

By an overwhelming vote of 381-2 the House went on record demanding that the democratically-elected government of Ukraine bow to the demands of protestors in the streets and accede to "the...European aspirations of the people of Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear."

In other words, sign the association agreement with the EU or else.
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Sanity Emerges: US to Legalize Some Hemp Growing

Researchers in several states soon should be able to legally grow hemp for the first time in decades because of legislation approved today in the US Senate.

While the new exception to the US law prohibiting growing hemp will be limited and will not affect US government prohibitions related to other substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the exception is significant as a rare instance where a prohibition under the CSA  a statute at the core of the US drug war  is limited instead of expanded.
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