Submitted by Staff on Fri, 2005-11-18 01:00.
Mr. Speaker, as one who has long urged my colleagues to cut spending, and who has consistently voted against excessive and unconstitutional expenditures, I am sure many in this body expect me to be an enthusiastic supporter of HR 4241, the Deficit Reduction Act. After all, supporters of this bill are claiming it dramatically reforms federal programs and puts Congress back on the road to fiscal responsibility.
For all the passionate debate this bill has generated, its effect on the federal government and taxpayers are relatively minor. HR 4241 does not even reduce federal expenditures! That’s right--if HR 4241 passes, the federal budget, including entitlement programs, will continue to grow. HR 4241 simply slows down the rate of growth of federal spending. The federal government may spend less in the future if this bill passes then it otherwise would, but it will still spend more than it does today. To put HR 4241 in perspective, consider that this bill reduces spending by less than $50 billion over 10 years, while the most recent “emergency” supplemental passed by this Congress appropriated $82 billion dollars to be spent this year.
Submitted by Staff on Wed, 2005-11-16 01:00.
The privacy issue has been around for a long time. The brutal abuse of privacy and property of early Americans played a big role in our revolt against the King. The 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments represented attempts to protect private property and privacy from an overzealous federal government. Today those attempts appear to have failed.
There have been serious legal debates in recent decades about whether “privacy” is protected by the Constitution. Some argue that since the word does not appear in the text of that document, it is not protected. Others argue that privacy protection grants the federal government power to dictate to all states limits or leniency in enforcing certain laws. But the essence of liberty is privacy.
Submitted by Staff on Thu, 2005-11-10 01:00.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Health Freedom Protection Act. This bill restores the First Amendment rights of consumers to receive truthful information regarding the benefits of foods and dietary supplements by codifying the First Amendment standards used by federal courts to strike down the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) efforts to censor truthful health claims. The Health Freedom Protection Act also stops the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) from censoring truthful health care claims.
The American people have made it clear they do not want the federal government to interfere with their access to dietary supplements, yet the FDA and the FTC continue to engage in heavy-handed attempts to restrict such access. The FDA continues to frustrate consumers’ efforts to learn how they can improve their health even after Congress, responding to a record number of constituents’ comments, passed the Dietary Supplement and Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). FDA bureaucrats are so determined to frustrate consumer access to truthful information that they are even evading their duty to comply with four federal court decisions vindicating consumers’ First Amendment rights to discover the health benefits of foods and dietary supplements.
Submitted by Staff on Wed, 2005-11-02 01:00.
Scooter Libby has been indicted for lying. Many suspect Libby, and perhaps others, deliberately outed Joe Wilson’s wife as a covert CIA agent. This was done to punish and discredit Wilson for bringing attention to the false information regarding Iraq’s supposed efforts to build a nuclear weapon-- information made public in President Bush’s State of the Union message in January 2003. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was chosen to determine if this revelation regarding Valerie Plame, Wilson’s wife, violated the Intelligence Identification Protection Act. The actual indictment of Libby did not claim such a violation occurred. Instead, he has been charged with lying and participating in a cover-up during the two-year investigation. I believe this is a serious matter that should not be ignored, but it is not an earth-shattering event.
This case, like almost everything in Washington, has been driven by politics-- not truth, justice, or the Constitution. It’s about seeking political power, pure and simple, not unlike the impeachment process during the last administration.
Submitted by Staff on Wed, 2005-10-26 00:00.
We have been warned. Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East, as plans are being laid for the next U.S. led regime change-- in Syria. A UN report on the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafig Hariri elicited this comment from a senior U.S. policy maker: “Out of tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity.” This statement reflects the continued neo-conservative, Machiavellian influence on our foreign policy. The “opportunity” refers to the long-held neo-conservative plan for regime change in Syria, similar to what was carried out in Iraq.
This plan for remaking the Middle East has been around for a long time. Just as 9/11 served the interests of those who longed for changes in Iraq, the sensationalism surrounding Hariri’s death is being used to advance plans to remove Assad.
Submitted by Staff on Fri, 2005-10-07 00:00.
Supporters of the war in Iraq, as well as some non-supporters, warn of the dangers if we leave. But isn’t it quite possible that these dangers are simply a consequence of having gone into Iraq in the first place, rather than a consequence of leaving? Isn’t it possible that staying only makes the situation worse? If chaos results after our departure, it’s because we occupied Iraq, not because we left.
The original reasons for our pre-emptive strike are long forgotten, having been based on false assumptions. The justification given now is that we must persist in this war or else dishonor those who already have died or been wounded. We’re also told civil strife likely will engulf all of Iraq.
Submitted by Staff on Thu, 2005-09-15 00:00.
The tragic scenes of abject poverty in New Orleans revealed on national TV by Katrina’s destruction were real eye-openers for many. These scenes prompted two emotional reactions. One side claims Katrina proved there was not enough government welfare, and its distribution was based on race. The other side claims we need to pump billions of new dollars into the very federal agency that failed (FEMA), while giving it extraordinary new police powers. Both sides support more authoritarianism, more centralization, and even the imposition of martial law in times of natural disasters.
There is no hint that we will resort to reason now that the failed welfare policies of the past 60 years have been laid bare. Certainly no one has connected the tragedy of poverty in New Orleans to the flawed monetary system that has significantly contributed to the impoverishment of a huge segment of American society.
Submitted by Staff on Thu, 2005-09-08 00:00.
Many reasons have been given for why we fight and our youth must die in Iraq. The reasons now given for why we must continue this war bear no resemblance to the reasons given to gain the support of the American people and the United States Congress prior to our invasion in March of 2003. Before the war, we were told we faced an imminent threat to our national security from Saddam Hussein. This rationale, now proven grossly mistaken, has been changed. Now we’re told we must honor the fallen by “completing the mission.” To do otherwise would demean the sacrifice of those who have died or been wounded. Any lack of support for “completing the mission” is said, by the promoters of the war, to be unpatriotic, un-American, and detrimental to the troops. They insist the only way one can support the troops is to never waver on the policy of nation building, no matter how ill-founded that policy may be. The obvious flaw in this argument is that the mission, of which they so reverently speak, has changed constantly from the very beginning.
Though most people think this war started in March of 2003, the seeds were sown many years before. The actual military conflict, involving U.S. troops against Iraq, began in January 1991. The prelude to this actually dates back over a hundred years, when the value of Middle East oil was recognized by the industrialized West.
Submitted by Staff on Tue, 2005-07-26 00:00.
Mr. Speaker: I rise in strong opposition to this legislation. Isn’t it ironic that the proponents of “free trade agreements” like CAFTA are lining up squarely behind a bill like this that threatens a trade war with China, and at the least calls for the United States to initiate protectionist measures such as punitive tariffs against “subsidized” sectors of the Chinese economy? In reality, this bill, which appeared out of the blue on the House Floor as a suspension bill, is part of a deal made with several Members in return for a few votes on CAFTA. That is why it is ironic: to get to “free trade” with Central America we first need to pass protectionist legislation regarding China.
Submitted by Staff on Thu, 2005-07-21 00:00.
Mr. Speaker, the USA PATRIOT Act and Terrorism Prevention Act (HR 3199) in no way brings the PATRIOT Act into compliance with the Constitution or allays concerns that the powers granted to the government in the act will be used to abuse the rights of the people. Much of the discussion surrounding this bill has revolved around the failure of the bill to extend the sunset clauses.
However, simply sunsetting troublesome provisions does not settle the debates around the PATRIOT Act. If the PATRIOT Act is constitutional and needed, as its proponents swear, why include sunset provisions at all? If it is unconstitutional and pernicious, why not abolish it immediately?
Submitted by Staff on Wed, 2005-07-20 00:00.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this foreign relations authorization bill. Something has gone terribly wrong with our foreign policy when we feel we must take almost 21 billion dollars out of the pockets of the American taxpayer and ship it overseas. Imagine what the Founders of this country would say if they were among us to see this blatant disregard for the Constitution and for the founding principles of this country. This bill proceeds from the view that with enough money we can buy friends and influence foreign governments. But as history shows us, we cannot. The trillions of dollars we have shipped overseas as aid, and to influence and manipulate political affairs in sovereign countries, has not made life better for American citizens. It has made them much poorer without much to show for it, however.
Now we have a Republican-controlled Congress and White House, and foreign spending soars. It was not that long ago when conservatives looked at such cavalier handling of US tax dollars with consternation. Now it seems that they are in a race with the Left to see who can spend more.
Submitted by Staff on Thu, 2005-07-14 00:00.
Mr. Speaker, more than half of the American people now believe that the Iraqi war has made the U.S. less safe. This is a dramatic shift in sentiment from 2 years ago. Early support for the war reflected a hope for a safer America, and it was thought to be an appropriate response to the 9/11 attacks. The argument was that the enemy attacked us because of our freedom, our prosperity, and our way of life. It was further argued that it was important to engage the potential terrorists over there rather than here. Many bought this argument and supported the war. That is now changing.
It is virtually impossible to stop determined suicide bombers. Understanding why they sacrifice themselves is crucial to ending what appears to be senseless and irrational. But there is an explanation.
Submitted by Staff on Mon, 2005-07-11 00:00.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to read "Your dietary supplements: Under attack again" by Henry Lamb, which I am inserting into the record. Mr. Lamb explains the threat to American consumers of dietary supplements and American sovereignty by the Codex Alimentarius commission, commonly referred to simply as Codex. The United Nations created Codex to establish international standards for foods and medicines. Just last week, representatives of the United States government agreed to a final version of Codex's standards on dietary supplements which, if implemented in the United States, could drastically reduce Americans' ability to obtain the supplements of their choice. Members of the American bureaucracy may be hoping to achieve via international fiat what they cannot achieve through the domestic law-making process--the power to restrict consumers' access to dietary supplements. American bureaucrats may gain this power if the World Trade Organization, which considers Codex "guidelines" the standard by which all other regulations are judged, decides that our failure to "harmonize" our regulations of dietary supplements to meet Codex's recommendations violates international trading standards! This could occur despite the fact that American consumers do not want to be subjected to the restrictive regulations common in other parts of the world, such as the European Union.
Submitted by Staff on Wed, 2005-06-22 00:00.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp.
Six states-Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia-allow the growing of industrial hemp in accord with state laws. However, federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these states growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers.
Submitted by Staff on Wed, 2005-06-22 00:00.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this resolution. The process may well be legal, but it is unwise.
The problem is minimal. This is more like a solution in search of a problem. We just do not need to amend the Constitution for such a tiny problem.
It was stated earlier that this is the only recourse we have since the Supreme Court ruled the Texas law unconstitutional. That is not true. There are other alternatives.