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Defense Secretary Hagel to Congress: 'Give the Military More Money'!
While you might expect there would be a “peace dividend” with the winding down of the US military occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is making the rounds over the congressional recess to project the message that the United States Congress must not dare reduce military spending — even via fake sequestration “spending cuts” that just cut the rate of spending growth.

16 October 2014read on...

Speaker John Boehner Says House Should Vote on ISIS War but Refuses to Allow Vote While the United States Constitution says authority over declaring and funding war resides in the Congress, US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner refuses to allow a House vote regarding congressional authorization of the war on ISIS. Boehner says he disagrees with how President Barack Obama is pursuing the war. Boehner also says the House should vote on the war. But instead of calling a vote on the war — something Boehner could have done any time during the war’s escalation — Boehner just waits for the president to present him with a resolution that Boehner, like a diligent servant, promises to promptly put on the House floor for a vote.

30 September 2014read on...

Dennis Kucinich Drops In On Hemp Activists at US Capitol
Industrial hemp activists from around the country visited United States Representatives’ and Senators’ offices in Washington, DC this week to make the case for repealing decades-old US government restrictions related to the plant. When the activists were meeting together after their congressional office visits, RPI Advisory Board Member and former US Rep. Dennis Kucinich dropped in and offered some comments regarding hemp.

25 September 2014read on...

Rep. Walter Jones: Don't Arm 'Moderates' in Syria!
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has just released a statement strongly opposing the McKeon Amendment to the Continuing Resolution (HJ Res 124) scheduled for a vote today. The amendment would grant Congressional approval for the president's plan to arm and train "moderate" rebels fighting in Syria to overthrow the Assad government. Repeating the words of a former US Marine Commandant, Rep. Jones asks, "are we arming another Taliban?"

17 September 2014read on...

Prof. Peter Kraska’s Police Militarization Testimony for the US Senate Homeland Security Committee
The following is the informative and thought-provoking written testimony of Eastern Kentucky University Professor Peter B. Kraska for the United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Tuesday hearing “Oversight of Federal Programs for Equipping State and Local Law Enforcement”...

10 September 2014read on...

Here Comes Increased Deficit Spending to Fight IS
You might think that, with the US government debt increasing year after year and bloated US military spending nearly equal to the combined military spending of the rest of the world, the US government would try to find a way to fight the Islamic State without increasing spending. Supposing the US government proceeds with further escalating yet another Middle East war, couldn’t President Barack Obama and Congress at least work together to pay the bill by transferring billions of spare dollars from elsewhere in the vast and wasteful US military and intelligence budgets? How about starting by canning the US government’s mass spying program?

27 August 2014read on...

Rep. Walter Jones and Ron Paul on the Saudi Arabia-Bush Administration 9/11 Cover-Up
“The American People have the right to know the truth and to know the relationship with the Saudis at the time of the Bush administration,” declared Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) in a Monday discussion with Ron Paul on the Ron Paul Channel. Jones made the comment in support of his US House of Representatives legislation H.Res. 428 that seeks the declassification of 28 pages redacted from a joint House and Senate Intelligence Committees report regarding the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

18 August 2014read on...

House and Senate Leaders Line Up Behind Obama on Bombing Iraq President Barack Obama is encountering no opposition from the top four Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate as he escalates US military action in Iraq with new bombings.

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has chosen not to comment regarding the matter, just as he did last year regarding a potential US military attack on Syria until he announced his opposition the same day Obama called off the planned attack. The other three top Republican and Democrat leaders in both chambers of Congress have all issued statements supporting the US military’s ongoing bombings in Iraq.

11 August 2014read on...

No Dissent Heard as House and Senate Quickly Approve $225 million for Israel War On Friday, the last day before the annual congressional August recess, new legislation (H.J.Res. 76) was introduced on the US Senate floor and rushed to passage in both the Senate and US House. The legislation gives the Israel government another $225 million dollars for the Iron Dome system Israel is using in the ongoing Israel-Palestine war.

4 August 2014read on...

Eric Cantor Leaving US House for Wall Street Millions?
Did former US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announce his resignation from the House so he can speed up private negotiations to make the big bucks in the financial industry? That is the suggestion of a new Politico article.

2 August 2014read on...

Congress Alert

Did Sen. Reid Let Slip Secret Plan to Use Navy Yard Killings as Excuse for New Medical Privacy Violations?


There is reason for concern that the US Congress and the National Rifle Association may soon  work together to use the Washington, DC Navy Yard killings earlier this week as an excuse to expand a US government database of all Americans' private medical information.

The day after the Navy Yard killings, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was talking about bringing expanded gun transfer background checks to a vote in the Senate. Bloomberg reports:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he’ll schedule another vote to expand firearms background checks “as quickly as we can” when enough members support the bill. Reid said at the moment, the Senate lacks enough votes to pass the legislation.
The Bloomberg article then proceeds to discount the possibility of such legislation advancing, saying gun control legislation failed to pass in the Senate earlier this year and quoting one gun control writer who absolutely rejects the possibility:
“The chance of any movement on this issue now is zero,” said Robert Spitzer, author of four books on the history of gun control. “That wind blew itself out politically.”
But, an alternative, secret plan appears to be in the works. Roll Call reports:
The Nevada Democrat [Reid] said he might be willing to move a mental-illness gun bill without a background check expansion, but that comment was quickly walked back by an aide who sent around guidance that Reid does not, in fact, intend to pass a mental-illness gun bill without expanded background checks.
Reid's public comments seem to have gotten ahead of the public relations plan for a mental health database focused bill.

Reid will likely find it a much easier path pursuing gun control legislation focused on mental health instead of a broad gun control expansion such as was considered during the abandoned floor debate on the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (S.649) in April.

A starting point may be the NICS Reporting Improvements Act (S.480), which was introduced in March by four Republican and Democrat senators — Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas). As these four senators make clear in their press release announcing the introduction of the legislation, the legislation is intended to prevent more people from being able to posses guns by expanding the mental health database used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Taking a mental health database legislative approach, Sen. Reid can turn the National Rifle Association into an ally in his gun control efforts. The NRA is pursuing its ongoing lobbying effort with the US and state governments to expand the US government's mental health database and increase the flow of information into that database so more people may be prohibited from possessing guns. Indeed, in the first three months of this year, the NRA's record-breaking lobbying expenditures included spending both to defeat the background checks expansion Reid had backed and to support S.480. The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris W. Cox writes that S.480 "will improve the current national instant background check system (NICS) by improving the records within it."

Meanwhile, Begich, the lead Democrat cosponsor of S.480, has expressed his interest in using the Navy Yard killings to justify expanding the US government's mental health database as a means to further limit who may possess guns. In the Bloomberg article, Begich is quoted as claiming he has introduced legislation that would have included alleged Navy Yard killer Aaron Alexis in NICS:
“If I read the reports, he bought his guns legally and had a background check, so the issue that that gentlemen had was mental-health issues,” Begich told reporters yesterday at the Capitol, noting that he has introduced legislation that would have made sure Alexis “would have been in the background check system” when he sought to buy a gun.
If a mental health database expansion bill passes in the Senate, do not expect the House of Representatives leadership to stop its progress. The last major NRA-backed gun control bill focused on expanding the US government's mental health database—Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's NICS Improvement Amendments Act (H.R.2640)—passed in the House in a manner that minimized public knowledge and ensured neither a debate on the issue nor a recorded vote. On December 19, 2007, after all legislative business appeared to have been completed for the year and most representatives were on their way back to their districts for Christmas recess, a small group of Republican and Democrat representatives were sent to the House floor to quickly pass the bill by unanimous consent. The legislation was thus sent to President George W. Bush without any debate or recorded vote. Bush signed the bill into law on January 8, 2007—seven days before the House completed its Christmas recess.


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