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35 House Members Ask Speaker Paul Ryan for ISIS War AUMF Vote

A group of 35 US House of Representatives members, led by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Lewis (D-GA), sent a letter on Friday to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) expressing that it “is critical that the House schedule and debate an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as quickly as possible” in regard to US government actions in and around Iraq and Syria.

Going to the heart of the matter, the letter states:
We do not share the same policy prescriptions for US military engagement in the region, but we do share the belief that it is past time for the Congress to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution and vote on an AUMF that clearly delineates the authority and limits, if any, on US military engagement in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region.
The letter further notes the US government’s recently announced escalation of military air and ground operations in both Iraq and Syria.
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Ron Paul: New House Speaker Paul Ryan is ‘Almost the Opposite of a Libertarian’

Speaking this week with host Kennedy on Fox Business, Ron Paul Institute Chairman Ron Paul ridiculed the suggestion that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who became Speaker of the House of Representatives last week, may advance libertarian goals in the House. Instead, Paul declares “it’s going to be the same old thing” in the House with Ryan in the top leadership position.
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Rep. Peter Welch’s Short and Direct Answer to Obama Sending Combat Troops to Syria

In a short and direct statement Friday, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) presented the case for Congress debating and voting on the United States military intervention in the Middle East that the Obama administration has now escalated with the announced insertion of US special forces into the fighting in Syria.

“Make no mistake, this is war,” says Welch. “When will Congress finally accept its responsibility?” Welch asks. Welch follows his query by noting that “[t]he Constitution is clear that only Congress can authorize war.”
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Don’t Get Too Excited about Bernie Sanders’ Marijuana Legalization Proposal

Many marijuana legalization proponents are excited by the Wednesday announcement that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will introduce legislation in the United States Senate that would remove marijuana from the list of banned drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Many people are jumping to the obvious conclusion that the legislation would thus remove the US government from the marijuana prohibition business altogether, leaving each state to do as it pleases regarding the plant. The press release of Sanders’ presidential campaign announcing Sanders’ marijuana law reform proposal, however, suggests that that conclusion is wrong.
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US House Resolution Seeks New Conflict in Ukraine

The US House of Representatives, which never ceases sticking its nose in other people's business, is tomorrow scheduled to take up H. Res. 348, a bill "Supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to freely elect their government and determine their future." The bill can only increase tensions in Ukraine and threaten the fragile eight month old "Minsk II" ceasefire agreement.

The "Minsk II agreement" continues to produce relative calm in eastern Ukraine -- earlier this month both Kiev and the breakaway regions of the east have agreed to withdraw remaining tanks, artillery and mortars from front line, in a move the Telegraph (UK) observed "could signal end of war."

The US was not a party to the Minsk II talks, which took place earlier this year between Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany. US involvement from the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine -- starting with open US support for the unconstitutional coup in 2014 -- has been to exacerbate tensions rather than to help ameliorate them.

It is a US position that continues in H. Res. 348, a bill scheduled on the House "suspension calendar" reserved for "non-controversial" legislation. The Resolution completely distorts objective reality in Ukraine to continue the discredited story that the Ukraine unrest began not as a result of US support for a coup in February 2014, but because of a Russian invasion.
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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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