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- Obama has lost the New York… by The Instigator
Make no mistake: by criminalizing James Rosen of Fox News for asking government employees to give him information, the Obama administration is suppressing the ability of the press to do its job. It is so egregious that even the New York Times, normally sycophants for Obama, is alarmed. The editorial board today writes:
With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.
And the Times, a member/owner of Associated Press, detects a pattern:
The Rosen case follows other signs that the administration has gone overboard in its zeal to find and muzzle insiders. The Associated Press revealed last week that the government had secretly seized two months’ worth of records for telephones used by the agency’s staff, partly to determine the source of a leak about a report involving a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen. At least two other major leak investigations are continuing. Six current and former administration officials have been indicted under the old Espionage Act for leaking classified information to the press and public. In 2010, a federal judge in Maryland sentenced a leaker to 20 months in jail while admitting that he was “in the dark as to the kind of documents” involved in the leak or what impact they had on national security.
Many conservatives have moved beyond caring what the Times thinks or writes. But the newspaper acts as a pilot fish for the rests of the media, so its position on this move toward authoritarianism is highly significant.
- Muslims Burn Swedish Suburb… by The Instigator
Rioters have lit fires and stoned emergency services in the suburbs of Stockholm for the third night in a row after a man was shot dead by police.
More than 80% of Husby’s 12,000 or so inhabitants are from an immigrant background, and most are from Turkey, the Middle East and Somalia.
- Why the IRS Went After the … by The Instigator
As the old saying goes, beware of Greeks bearing gifts; but as the new saying goes, beware even more of Republicans bearing bribes. In either case, one could get destroyed (or at least corrupted) from the inside by trusting the wrong people.
Since 2006, with the beginnings of the breakaway of populist conservatives from the national Republican Party via the Tea Party movement, the GOP has been trying to figure out how to co-opt and capture it once again, just as George W. Bush did with many elements of the conservative movement in the early years of the 21st century.
But with the unofficial (and official) rise of the Tea Party movement, this development has struck fear in the Washington establishment because it represents an intellectual challenge to the anti-intellectual status quo of the Democrats and the Big Government Republicans.
Dorothy Parker observed her own destructiveness and the “curling smoke” of the “burning bridges” of her escapades. The IRS and the Washington Establishment may have irreparably burned down the bridge of legitimacy granted it by the American people, and the national Republicans smell an opportunity in the curling smoke.
Men and women of the Establishment Republican Party like Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who previously regarded the Tea Party Movement as something unpleasant and unsophisticated, are now trying to be their friends. That sound you just heard was thousands of Tea Party individuals choking with laughter at the thought of Susan Collins defending them. Same goes for Mitch McConnell and other majoritarian Republicans. Already well known is the GOP establishment had and has nothing but contempt for the Tea Party. As my grandfather used to say, “Cover your wallet,” as the GOP desperately tried to inject itself into the debate.
- Judge: Lesbian Couple Can… by The Instigator
A lesbian couple in Texas is claiming discrimination after a judge told the pair they legally could not live together. Carolyn Compton and Page Price have been sharing a household with Compton’s two daughters, ages 10 and 13. But the judge said Price would have to move out, because of a “morality clause” in the divorce papers Compton signed when she ended her 11-year heterosexual marriage, the Dallas Morning News reports. The fairly common clause forbids either parent from having romantic partners stay overnight while their kids are home.
- Fox News poll: Obama rating… by The Instigator
After a week of revelations about government spying on reporters and the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives, most voters feel “like the federal government has gotten out of control and is threatening the basic civil liberties of Americans.”
At the same time, a new Fox News poll finds disapproval of President Obama’s job performance is above 50 percent for the first time in a year, his honesty rating is at a new low and half of voters already think he’s a lame-duck.
More than two-thirds of voters — 68 percent — feel the government is out of control and threatening their civil liberties. About one quarter disagree (26 percent).
Nearly half of Democrats (47 percent), as well as large numbers of independents (76 percent) and Republicans (87 percent) feel Uncle Sam is taking liberties with their liberties.
- The IRS scandal means House… by The Instigator
The IRS scandal provides Republicans and conservatives with the opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare now. The House Republican majority should refuse to fund the expansion of the IRS necessary to manage Obamacare. Without that funding, and hiring thousands of additional agents, the IRS cannot even begin to manage Obamacare.
President Obama may throw a fit. He may refuse to sign funding bills to keep the federal government open. No matter. Let him close his government down if he wants. Nobody wants the IRS playing political games with their health care and health records, like it did with the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and Equal Protection of Tea Party and conservative organizations. Contribute to the Republican Party? Attend a Tea Party protest? Good luck getting your Obamacare health insurance tax credit application approved. Good luck finding a doctor the government will pay to do that operation your kid needs.
Obama can flail away all he wants. The public will now back the Republicans in this fight, just as it did in the sequester battle. But won’t the public feel that the Republicans would be irresponsible to just refuse to fund Obamacare, leaving the health system in chaos?
- Senate Ratings Changes: The… by The Instigator
While national polls haven’t shown a shift in the public’s opinion of President Barack Obama’s performance, recent controversies have, in my view, significantly changed the political landscape.
And changes in the landscape have led the Rothenberg Political Report to change its Senate ratings.
For the past few years, the public’s focus has been on Republicans’ opposition to the president’s agenda, their desire to shrink (even cripple) government and their conservatism. But the IRS scandal, along with controversies involving the attack in Benghazi and the Justice Department’s collecting of journalists’ telephone records, has change the political narrative.
While the Oklahoma tornado tragedy will dominate media coverage for the next few days, the new political narrative that will re-emerge when journalists return to politics involves questions about what the administration knew, said and did.
The new focus on the Obama administration puts it on the defensive and should boost enthusiasm on the political right throughout this year.
While we don’t know how long the focus will stay on the administration — or whether Republicans will stumble over the investigations or matters of public policy — between now and the November midterms, it is undeniable that recent events have altered, at least for now, the trajectory of the 2014 elections.
Given the different natures of midterm electorates, the new political narrative increases the risk for Democratic candidates in red states, where Democrats must win independent and, in many cases, Republican voters to be successful.
- France Now More Euroskeptic… by The Instigator
The Pew Research Center’s latest survey on Europeans’ attitudes toward EU politics and economics brings across one message loud and clear: Europeans are not happy. People from every major country report extreme dissatisfaction with the economy and their political leaders. Increasingly, they also share a sense that the European Union and economic integration were mistakes for their countries: only 45 percent now view the EU favorably, down from 60 percent in 2012.
The one notable exception is Germany, whose people remain the most optimistic about the European project. Despite Germans’ hand-wringing about their spendthrift neighbors, they gave the EU a 60 percent approval rating, with 54 percent believing that economic integration has strengthened their economy. This may have something to do with the fact that Germans think the EU offers the best chance for controlling reckless spending by their neighbors; Germany is the only country where support for giving Brussels more power is over 50 percent.
- Judge apologizes for lack o… by The Instigator
The chief judge of the District’s federal court issued an unusual order Wednesday, apologizing to the public and the media for not making certain court documents widely available online.
The gesture of transparency by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth comes at a time when the Obama administration is under scrutiny for an unprecedented number of leak investigations, including one showing that the Justice Department had secretly probed the news-gathering activities of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
The investigation of Rosen was first reported Monday, after The Washington Post obtained court documents containing details of the case. A federal judge had ordered the documents unsealed in November 2011, but they were kept sealed for 18 months and not posted on the court’s online docket until last week, after The Post inquired about them.
Lamberth blamed a series of administrative errors and said a review of the “performance of the personnel involved is underway.” He also said he was creating a new category on the court’s Web site where all search and arrest warrants will be made public unless they fall under a separate sealing order.
- Immigration bill backers ad… by The Instigator
The Senate immigration bill’s authors acknowledged Tuesday that their legislation does not require illegal immigrants to pay all back taxes, saying it would be too difficult to make them ante up everything they might owe.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who is chief sponsor of the bill, said illegal immigrants by definition are living in the shadows, and requiring them to reconstruct their pay history could be tough — and potentially keep many of them from legalization.
“We all realize that the system is broken. We all realize that people did wrong things. And the goal is to set this right by letting those in the shadows come out,” Mr. Schumer said Tuesday as the Judiciary Committee plowed through more amendments to the 867-page immigration bill. “The worry I have here is that by being as rigid … as this amendment is, that it will delay and prevent many, many people from coming out of the shadows.”
The issue of back taxes is an emotionally charged part of the current immigration debate.
Mr. Schumer and the other members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” who wrote the immigration bill have said the legislation requires illegal immigrants to pay “a fine and back taxes,” and that is true — up to a point.
The bill says that before illegal immigrants can apply for initial legal status, they must have “satisfied any applicable federal tax liability.” That is defined as “all federal income taxes assessed.”
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