Archives for News

Feds want more agressive actions against cybertheft

Evidence of an unrelenting campaign of cyberstealing linked to the Chinese government is prompting the Obama administration to develop more aggressive responses to the theft of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets. A report being released Wednesday considers fines and other trade actions against China or any other country guilty of cyber-espionage. Officials familiar with the administration’s plans spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the threatened action. The Chinese government denies being involved in the cyberattacks cited in a cybersecurity firm’s analysis of breaches that compromised more than 140 companies. On
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NRA facing internal strife over its strident stances on gun control

While the National Rifle Association publicly trumpets what it calls astounding growth in membership during its strident opposition to any efforts to tighten laws on gun ownership, reports from within the organization’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia reveal growing concern over member backlash against leader Wayne LaPierre‘s hard-core stances. “A growing number of letters, emails and phone calls question our stance on the issues and the actions of Wayne,” admits one staff member, who asks not to be identified. Fueled by public reaction to growing concerns by TV talk host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman and gun owner, the cries
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Obama’s speech against gun violence doesn’t stop shooting of attendee’s sister

President Barack Obama returned to his Chicago home last last week to speak about the growing problem of gun violence in the city. A short time later, the sister of a teenager who sat behind the President during his speech was gunned down while walking in a suburb near her father’s home miles away from the school in the Hyde Park section of Chicago’s South Side. “I’m Lake County to get away from violence and now it happened in Lake County where I moved to,” Herbert McFarlane, father of 18-year-0ld Janay McFarlane, told WLS in Chicago. McFarlane died in the
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White House quickly backtracking from Obama’s leaked immigration plan

The administration of President Barack Obama, recognizing a political and public relations disaster, is backing away from a hastily-developed and prematurely leaked immigration plan that is drawing fire from both Republicans and Democrats. After USA Today reported on the plan that was under development without involvement of either side of Capitol Hill, the administration is now claiming the plan, still in early stages, was a “backup plan” and now is saying the White House “focus remains on supporting the Congressional process.” White House official privately admit the plan was a “screw up” and “premature” has put the president at odds
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Hagel’s foes want a quick vote on his future

Republican opponents are sending signals that Chuck Hagel‘s bid to become defense secretary will probably come to an up-or-down vote soon in the Senate. That’s unless more information damaging to the nominee — and the Obama administration — surfaces in the coming week. Critics maintain the decorated Vietnam combat veteran and former senator is unqualified to lead the U.S. military. A top White House official expressed “grave concern” over the delayed confirmation vote, adding that there was nothing to worry about in any disclosures that may yet come. Arizona Sen. John McCain, a key Republican on defense matters, said Sunday
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Obama quietly shutters plan to help those difficult to insure

Citing financial concerns, the Obama administration has begun quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president’s health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can’t get private insurance. In an afternoon teleconference with state counterparts, administration officials said Friday the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will stop taking new applications. People already in the plan will not lose coverage. Designed as a stopgap solution until the law’s full consumer protections are in effect next year, PCIP has served more than 135,000 people, a lifeline for patients with serious medical problems such as cancer
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Brennan open to special court to control drone strikes

The White House nominee to run the CIA said setting up a special court to oversee deadly drone strikes against American citizens is worth considering but raises difficult questions over how much authority it would have in decisions currently made by the president. Expanding on his testimony a week ago, John Brennan said the White House and other agencies had discussed the idea, when coming up with the process to determine which al-Qaida targets go on a capture-or-kill lists for the CIA and the military. “It would raise some novel, and potentially difficult, questions and furthermore would grant courts authority
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Jesse Jackson Jr., wife, agree to guilty pleas for campaign fund fraud

In a spectacular fall from political prominence, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife agreed Friday to plead guilty to federal charges growing out of what prosecutors said was a scheme to use $750,000 in campaign funds for lavish personal expenses, including a $43,000 gold watch and furs. Federal prosecutors filed one charge of conspiracy against the former Chicago congressman and charged his ex-alderman wife, Sandra, with one count of filing false joint federal income tax returns for the years 2006 through 2011 that knowingly understated the income the couple received. Both agreed to plead guilty in deals
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Republicans use Hagel debacle to try and sink Obama

Republicans have found a boatload of reasons to try to sink Chuck Hagel‘s hopes of becoming the next defense secretary. But the issue they used this week to stall his nomination — the White House’s handling of last September’s deadly Benghazi attack — may seem entirely unrelated to Hagel’s qualifications because, well, it is. Here are some questions and answers about the connection between President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Pentagon and the campaign by Sen. John McCain and others in the Senate to press for more answers on Benghazi: Q: How did the Hagel nomination become entangled with
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House right-wingers want three-year freeze on federal pay

House conservatives want to extend to a full three years the current freeze on cost-of-living pay increases for the nation’s 2 million civilian federal workers. They say that blocking a modest raise proposed by President Barack Obama for the last nine months of this year will save $11 billion over the long run and that well-compensated federal employees can afford it. Democrats, and a few Republicans, say federal workers have already done more than their fair share in helping reduce the federal deficit and they are being singled out for punishment by anti-government lawmakers. The House on Thursday took up
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