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Obama will use executive orders to tackle global warming

President Barack Obama is planning a major push using executive powers to tackle the pollution blamed for global warming in an effort to make good on promises he made at the start of his second term. “We know we have to do more — and we will do more,” Obama said Wednesday in Berlin. Obama’s senior energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal, said the plan would boost energy efficiency of appliances and buildings, plus expand renewable energy. She also said the Environmental Protection Agency was preparing to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate heat-trapping pollution from
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House set to vote on cuts in farm crop insurance

The House will vote Thursday on whether to cut federally-subsidized crop insurance that helps farmers when they lose crops or revenue. The amendment by Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., would limit government help for crop insurance paid to wealthy farmers and limit the subsidies the government gives crop insurance companies. A vote on the amendment is one of several expected on the five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill. Supporters of the bill are rushing to complete the legislation Thursday, though it isn’t clear whether they have the votes for passage. The House bill, which would cut around $4 billion a year in overall
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Some Republicans admit: ‘We’re in a death spiral as a party’

Republicans continued their march towards irrelevancy Tuesday by passing strict abortion-restricting legislation that will never become law and reiterating their opposition to relaxing laws against immigration. As America moves towards the moderate center and embraces gay marriage, open borders and freedom of choice for women, the rabid right-wing that controls the GOP continues to fly in the face of public opinion and tolerance. “You would think that consistent losses at the polls would show Republicans just how out of step their party is with the majority of the nation,” pollster Shane Wills told Capitol Hill Blue Tuesday.  “It looks like
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Obama uses obscure, untested oversight board to justify NSA spying on Americans

The obscure oversight board that President Barack Obama wants to scrutinize the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance system is little known for good reason. The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has operated fitfully during its eight years of low-profile existence, stymied by congressional infighting and, at times, censorship by government lawyers. The privacy board was to meet Wednesday, its first meeting since revelations that the NSA has been secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Americans. The meeting will be closed to the public. The board has existed since 2004, first as part of the executive branch,
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Senate immigration bill gets boost from budget office

Supporters of a far-reaching immigration bill in the Senate see fresh momentum from a report by the Congressional Budget Office that says the measure would boost the economy and reduce federal deficits by billions of dollars. Congress’ nonpartisan scorekeeping agency said Tuesday that the immigration bill would decrease federal red ink by $197 billion over a decade and $700 billion in the following 10 years as increased taxes paid to the government offset the cost of benefits for newly legal residents. The White House said the report was “more proof that bipartisan commonsense immigration reform will be good for economic
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Obama lies, downplays impact of government spying on Americans

President Barack Obama, lying outright in an televised interview on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Monday,  claimed the U.S. is spying only on foreign citizens. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Obama said “if you’re a U.S. person, then NSA is not listening to your phone calls and it’s not targeting your emails” but records show the NSA is, in fact, monitoring phone calls and emails of millions of Americans around the clock. Obama qualified his claim by saying Americans are not targeted “unless it’s getting an individualized court order,” an interesting qualification since such orders are sealed not available
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Another right-wing legislative act in the House going nowhere after passage

In a monumental waste of time, effort and resources, the right-wing controlled House of Representatives is expected to pass tough anti-abortion legislation that stands no chance of approval in the Senate and a veto promise from the White House should such restrictive legislation. “This is typical, hypocritical actions by the hard-core conservatives that control the Republican Party, which controls the House,” political activist Theresa Compton tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “The right claims it is for less government intrusion into our lives, unless that intrusion is something outrageous like a bill outlawing abortion.” The bill, driven by the anti-abortion agenda of
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Pentagon plans to put more and more women in combat

  Military leaders are ready to begin tearing down the remaining walls that have prevented women from holding thousands of combat and special operations jobs near the front lines. Under details of the plans obtained by The Associated Press, women could start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later. The military services have mapped out a schedule that also will include reviewing and possibly changing the physical and mental standards that men and women will have to meet in order to quality for certain infantry, armor, commando and other front-line positions across the Army,
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Obama, Bush officials back NSA spying on Americans

Top officials from the Obama and Bush administrations say the government’s newly exposed secret surveillance programs have been essential to disrupting terrorist plots and have not infringed on Americans’ civil liberties. The officials justify the massive trawling for phone and Internet data as new revelations add to public disclosures about the classified operations. Denis McDonough, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, said the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, using “aggressive internal checks inside the administration, from inspectors general and routine audits, are overseeing how we do these programs.” McDonough, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” added, “The American
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Intel officials claim NSA spying on Americans revealed terrorist plots

Top U.S. intelligence officials said Saturday that information gleaned from two controversial data-collection programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries — and that gathered data is destroyed every five years. Last year, fewer than 300 phone numbers were checked against the database of millions of U.S. phone records gathered daily by the NSA in one of the programs, the intelligence officials said in arguing that the programs are far less sweeping than their detractors allege. No other new details about the plots or the countries involved were
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