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Former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold launches bid to regain seat

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Russ Feingold, the only US senator who voted against the 2001 Patriot Act, has announced he will launch a campaign to regain his seat in 2016.

Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, lost a re-election bid in 2010 to Ron Johnson, a Tea Party Republican. Feingold had served three terms.

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In a video released on Thursday and first obtained by the Huffington Post , Feingold says that “billionaires and big corporations are calling the shots” and “we need to get started fixing all this”.

“Let’s fight together for change,” Feingold says. “That means helping to bring back to the US Senate strong independence, bipartisanship and honesty.”

Feingold went against the rest of the Senate to oppose the 2001 USA Patriot Act , which passed in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and opened the way for an unprecedented proliferation of secret domestic government surveillance programs. A key provision of the law, Section 215, which has been used to justify the government’s dragnet collection of the phone records of US citizens, expires next month, lacking a deal meanwhile to preserve it .

In a 2001 speech on the floor of the Senate to oppose the Patriot Act, Feingold said it would lead to abuse of the constitution and mistreatment of “Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, South Asians or others in this country”.

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“The first caution was that we must continue to respect our constitution and protect our civil liberties in the wake of the attacks,” Feingold said at the time.

“I recognize that this is a different world with different technologies, different issues and different threats. Yet we must examine every item that is proposed in response to these events to be sure we are not rewarding these terrorists and weakening ourselves by giving up the cherished freedoms that they seek to destroy.”

A year later, in October 2002, Feingold returned to the Senate floor to oppose the George W Bush administration’s Iraq war plan. Feingold was one of 23 senators to vote against an authorization of the use of military force in Iraq.

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“Both in terms of the justifications for an invasion and in terms of the mission and the plan for the invasion, the administration’s arguments just don’t add up,” Feingold said .

“They don’t add up to a coherent basis for a new major war in the middle of our current challenging fight against the terrorism of al-Qaida and related organizations. Therefore, I cannot support the resolution for the use of force before us.”

Feingold appears on course for a rematch against Johnson, a businessman who spent at least $4m of his own money on the 2010 race, which he won by five points.

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘Quit your wicked life’: Rev. William Barber uses Bible to school Trump over crazed ‘Chosen One’ rant

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The Rev. William Barber on Thursday schooled President Donald Trump for declaring himself the "Chosen One," while also approvingly quoting a talk-show host who described him as the "Second Coming of God."

In response to a tweet from "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough that highlighted the president's messianic quotes, Barber quoted from the fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel, which describes the ruin of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, a prideful ruler who bragged about the great city he had built.

"King Nebuchadnezzar... boasted, 'Look at this, Babylon the great! And I built it all by myself... to display my honor and glory!'" Barber wrote. "The words were no sooner out of his mouth than a voice out of heaven spoke, 'This is the verdict... your kingdom is taken from you.'"

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70 US mayors issue scathing letter demanding Trump USDA call off effort to strip food stamps from 3 million people

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"Executive action should not be used to hurt individuals, families, and communities."

In a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, mayors from 70 cities across the country expressed their "strong opposition" to the Trump administration's proposed federal rule that could cut off food stamps for more than 3 million people.

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US raps China for ‘escalation’ in South China Sea

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The United States on Thursday sharpened its criticism of China's activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, slamming an "escalation" in efforts to intimidate other claimants" such as Vietnam.

China redeployed a government-owned survey vessel -- with armed escorts -- into the waters off Vietnam earlier this month, the US said.

Hanoi says those waters are part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The move could reignite a spat between Beijing and Vietnam over rights to the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. Other countries in Southeast Asia also have claimed parts of the sea.

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