January 12, 2020 – Most-Viewed Bills | Congress.gov

January 12, 2020

1. H.R.1865 [116th] Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020
2. H.Con.Res.83 [116th] Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.
3. S.1790 [116th] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
4. H.R.1994 [116th] Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019
5. H.R.2500 [116th] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
6. H.R.535 [116th] PFAS Action Act of 2019
7. H.R.1158 [116th] Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020
8. S.386 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019
9. H.Res.781 [116th] Providing for consideration of the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 83) directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran.
10. H.R.1044 [116th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

Source: Most-Viewed Bills – Congress.gov Resources – Congress.gov Resources

The Downed Jetliner Reminds Us that War Spins Out of Control | Defense One


The downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 and the deaths of all 176 people on board—newlyweds flying home from their wedding, graduate students charting ambitious careers, whole families returning from visiting relatives—have come to be portrayed as a tragic asterisk tacked onto the dramatic tale of how Donald Trump and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nearly went to war in the early days of 2020.

Over the weekend, for example, The New York Times published a comprehensive and vivid account of the week-long U.S.-Iran showdown. While the article ran more than 6,500 words, it included only one sentence on the plane crash.

“In the confusion, a Ukrainian civilian passenger jet was destroyed by an Iranian missile,” the reporters wrote.

Source: The Downed Jetliner Reminds Us that War Spins Out of Control – Defense One

8 truths to remember before starting another military campaign


The Founding Fathers had high hopes that military adventurism could be prevented through constitutional checks. As Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The legislature…will be obliged…every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter, by a formal vote in the face of their constituents…As often as the question comes forward, the public attention will be roused and attracted to the subject” (emphasis added). Hamilton was mistaken.

As the U.S. has preserved and expanded its global military posture, post-Cold War presidents of both parties have consistently committed the military abroad in an expanding series of campaigns or other obligations. These endeavors frequently lack a compelling enough relationship to American vital security interests to justify their costs and consequences.

Source: 8 truths to remember before starting another military campaign

Leaders fear for planet as they pack for ‘green’ Davos | Reuters


Climate change and environmental destruction top the risks highlighted by world decision-makers in a survey ahead of the 2020 gathering of the global elite in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

For the first time the annual risk report, compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF), found the top five concerns were all environmental, from extreme weather to biodiversity loss and events like oil spills and radioactive contamination.

Source: Leaders fear for planet as they pack for ‘green’ Davos – Reuters

In quake-hit Puerto Rico even the bees are fleeing their homes | Reuters


Bees have deserted up to 25% of hives in towns like Guayanilla in southern Puerto Rico after hundreds of tremors and a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the area, said Hermes Conde, director of the island’s Eastern Apiculture School. The quakes have shifted the position of many hives, confused returning bees and caused destruction inside the wooden boxes, he said.

They have also disrupted beekeepers’ normal feeding of hives during winter months as farmers recover from quakes that collapsed hundreds of homes and caused at least one death.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans are sleeping outdoors, fearful their houses could collapse in another big aftershock.

Source: In quake-hit Puerto Rico even the bees are fleeing their homes – Reuters

What is artisanal gold and why is it booming? | Reuters


A rapid rise in the price of gold since 2000 has driven millions of people to deposits in Africa, South America and elsewhere where they dig for gold using basic technology.

Such informal digging – known as artisanal or small-scale mining (ASM) – has been around for centuries, and gold offers cash to communities that may lack alternatives. There are now around 15-20 million artisanal miners, and millions more depend on them, Delve, a global platform for ASM data, estimates.

More and more people are trying to bring this fast-growing trade into the formal economy.

Source: What is artisanal gold and why is it booming? – Reuters

Under fire in India, Amazon offers small business owners $1 billion olive branch | Reuters


Amazon.com Inc CEO Jeff Bezos said his company will invest $1 billion to bring small businesses online in India, reaching out to some of his fiercest critics in a goodwill visit that saw him donning traditional Indian attire and fly a kite with children.

Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart have been hit with a barrage of criticism from India’s brick-and-mortar retailers who accuse the U.S. giants of violating Indian law with deep discounts and discriminating against small sellers by promoting select big ones. The companies deny the allegations.

Just this week, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) launched an anti-trust probe to look into those allegations.

Source: Under fire in India, Amazon offers small business owners $1 billion olive branch – Reuters

Mexican reform would allow phone calls as evidence, speed extraditions | Reuters


A sweeping reform of Mexico’s criminal justice system would allow private communications to be used as evidence and limit legal challenges to avoid extradition delays for criminal suspects, according to a draft reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.

It would also extend Mexico’s penal code to crimes committed outside the country if the wrong-doing causes harm in Mexico or to Mexicans, such as a shooting last August in El Paso, Texas, that took the lives of eight Mexican nationals.

Source: Exclusive: Mexican reform would allow phone calls as evidence, speed extraditions – draft – Reuters

Highlights: War, trade and a woman in the White House – Democrats spar in Iowa debate | Reuters


Six Democrats squared off in a televised debate on Tuesday in Iowa, their last chance to make the case for their candidacies to a national audience before the party’s presidential nominating process kicks off in the state on Feb. 3.

The seventh debate of the race included the smallest and least-diverse group of candidates to date, as polling has narrowed the field of contenders who qualify and several minority candidates have ended their White House bids.

Source: Highlights: War, trade and a woman in the White House – Democrats spar in Iowa debate – Reuters

What we learned about the Democratic field from Tuesday’s debate | POLITICO


This was not the debate anyone expected, but it was perhaps the debate that voters needed.

Democratic voters, especially those who don’t have the time to pay close attention to politics, in polls and interviews have consistently been bewildered by the size of the field and turned off by petty fights between candidates that do little to clarify their differences.

The CNN-Des Moines Register debate Tuesday night at Drake University did not feature the expected — choose your favorite journalistic cliché — no holds barred/gloves-are-off/there will be blood on the floor exchanges between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, or either of them and Joe Biden.

Source: What we learned about the Democratic field from Tuesday’s debate – POLITICO