WASHINGTON, D.C. — If a polarized Congress managed to split into four separate parties, at least one political observer sees U.S. Rep. Justin Amash as one of our nation's top leaders.
Last week's $1.1 trillion "cromnibus" spending bill made for some interesting bedfellows when the final vote was tallied in both the U.S. House and Senate: liberal Democrats aligned with conservative Republicans in voicing displeasure, and the establishment wings of each party favored the package.
If there were any genuine signs of a polarized Congress, this might be it. ABC News' Rick Klein goes further, writing, "... it’s now clear that there’s no single Democratic Party any more than there’s been a single Republican Party."
President Obama today took a bold and surprising step toward ending the futile 50 year US embargo of Cuba. The president announced he would begin normalizing relations, including upgrading the diplomatic mission in Havana to embassy status. The president also said he was taking steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information between the US and Cuba.
President Obama said that the half-century US embargo of Cuba was an “outdated approach” that “failed to advance our interests.” He rightly noted that decades of US sanctions have “had little effect.”
He noted, as I have often pointed out, that the US has had economic and diplomatic relations with communist China for 35 years and has even established productive relations with a Vietnam, where the US fought a brutal war just over four decades ago.
I was delighted to see the president make such a dramatic foreign policy move that will result in more freedom and liberty for Americans. I have always believed that the US embargo of Cuba was primarily an anti-American policy, as the US government has no business telling Americans with whom they can trade or visit. Of course the average Cuban suffered greatly under the inhuman US embargo of their country, and I hope this policy shift may result in better lives for them as well.
Let's hope cooler heads will ultimately prevail and we unleash a trade tsunami that washes the Castros once and for all into the sea.
I grew up in a family that despised, not only communism, but collectivism, socialism and any “ism” that deprived the individual of his or her natural rights.
As a kid, I listened to the stories of an old Ukrainian fisherman who talked of fighting the Bolsheviks. More times than I can remember, I’ve heard horror stories of those who fled Castro’s Cuba. I ran for office to fight for the individual and against statism of any kind anywhere and yet… I think a policy of isolationism toward Cuba is misplaced and hasn’t worked.
I support engagement, diplomacy, and trade with Cuba, China, Vietnam, and many countries with less than stellar human rights records, because I believe that once enslaved people taste freedom and see the products of capitalism they will become hungry for freedom themselves.
President George W. Bush wrote that “trade creates the habits of freedom,” and trade provides the seeds of freedom that begin “to create the expectations of democracy.” Once trade begins it is hard to hide the amazing products of capitalism. The Soviets used to produce documentaries depicting poverty in America but it backfired when Russian viewers noticed that even in the poorest of circumstances you could still see televisions flickering in the windows. Once trade is enhanced with Cuba, it will be impossible to hide the bounty that freedom provides.
Rand Paul is right about police brutality: our laws are a huge part of the problem
The police don't get their authority from nowhere
By T.C. Sottek
December 6, 2014 12:00 pm
Protests for police reform are sweeping the United States following the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and an untold number of other unarmed or innocent people of color. Amid the anger and sadness one thing is clear: policing in America is a huge and complex problem. It's also a historical problem. As Tai-Nehisi Coates observed in The Atlantic, the insane incarceration rate of blacks in this country is part of a long tradition; "America's entire history is marked by the state imposing unfreedom on a large swath of the African American population."
The other big news in the surveillance world: The Department of Justice is using government airplanes to scoop up massive troves of data from Americans' cell phones, as The Wall Street Journal first reported last week. Rep. Justin Amash — a vocal critic of surveillance practices — is prepping a standalone bill to limit the type of surveillance revealed in those reports, set to be unveiled in the next Congress. (He's been digging into the issue for a while, but the WSJ story will certainly add fuel to the fire, an aide tells MT.) The aide said the congressman has been questioning intelligence agencies on their use of such technology to collect "particularly invasive information" and called the WSJ report "very alarming."
Amash's work will likely please privacy advocates, who began sounding the alarm for more comprehensive legislation to protect personal information after the WSJ shed light on the DOJ's practices. Katy's got the full story on that, here: http://politico.pro/1ubyL4e
Judge Andrew Napolitano on Tuesday warned that America is becoming “dangerously close to a police state.”
“The definition of a police state is when the government’s prime concern is for its own safety, not for the lives, liberty and property of the people it has sworn to protect,” Napolitano said on The Glenn Beck Program. “That is a very, very dangerous place in which to be.”
According to Napolitano, America is becoming more of a police state because of the “over-militarization of the police — which occurred in the last 12 years under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama,” but also because of entrenched bureaucracy.
“When … the bureaucracy remains the same no matter who the president is, no matter who the governor is, no matter who the mayor is, and when the attitude on the part of those unseen people in the government is, ‘Our job is to keep ourselves in power,’ then we have lost control,” Napolitano remarked.
“When the first rule of government is for government to look out for itself, it is no longer the servant. It is the master,” Napolitano added. “Are we there? No. Can we see that in your lifetime and mine? Perhaps.”
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The action taken by a New York City police officer against Eric Garner is "clear," writes U.S. Rep. Justin Amash on Wednesday.
The Cascade Township Republican is one of several lawmakers tweeting in disappointment following a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who wrapped his arm around Garner's neck and placed him in a chokehold on July 17.
The incident was captured on video, showing Garner talking with police as they suspected him of selling tax-free cigarettes. The 43-year-old man then is overcome by officers who take him down to the sidewalk. Garner cried out, "I can't breathe," several times before becoming motionless.
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