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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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Sen. Wyden Slams Intelligence Officials Over 'Culture of Misinformation'

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing today, presents succinctly and forcefully the case that senior officials overseeing the US government’s mass spying program have relied on “secret interpretations of the law” and “years of misleading and deceptive statements…to the American people.” Wyden proceeds to question witnesses James R. Clapper, John O. Brennan, and James B. Comey, Jr.  the directors, respectively, of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the mass spying and the “culture of misinformation” surrounding it.
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McCain and Graham Go To Work Against Iran Agreement

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) continue to pull out all stops in attempt to scuttle the six-month interim agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. The agreement is meant to provide some space for negotiations to continue between the two sides while allowing for some confidence to be built in place of a decades-long hostile relationship.

The six month water-testing agreement is not meant as a permanent agreement nor is it a legally-binding Chapter VII UNSC resolution.

Nevertheless, the neocons, led by Messrs McCain and Graham, are determined to plant as many IEDs along the road to diplomatic resolution as possible.
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Eric Cantor Girds His Iran War Loins

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is leading the counter-attack against the Administration's opening door to a peaceful agreement with Iran. His strategy to scuttle any permanent rapprochement with Iran on behalf of his neocon and Israel/Saudi lobby benefactors is transparent: treat the initial six-month confidence-building measure -- a voluntary cessation of uranium enrichment above five percent in exchange for limited sanctions relief -- as if it were a Chapter VII UN Security Council Resolution.

Cantor's intent is to treat the temporary voluntary cessation of Iran's right to peaceful enrichment as if it were a permanent, legal resolution by the international community backed by the threat of force. After establishing this fallacy as fact -- the media has been helpful to this purpose -- he intends to proceed with additional confidence-undermining sanctions legislation in the House in attempt to goad the Iranians into backing away from negotiations and returning to their (legal) levels of enrichment (and restarting centrifuges along with work on the heavy water reactor at Arak).
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Sen. Bernie Sanders Exposes Bloated Military and Intelligence Spending

Sen. Bernie Sanders, in a US Senate floor speech Thursday explaining his “no” vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 3304), exposes “wasteful, inefficient, and often fraudulent” Department of Defense spending. Sanders also addresses the bloated nature of US military spending compared to military spending by other governments as well as the tens of billions of dollars sucked yearly into US intelligence agencies’ “black budget.”
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