GOP ramps up war on IRS

Two Republican lawmakers on Tuesday demanded that an Internal Revenue Service official who triggered investigations into the tax agency’s scrutiny of conservative political groups turn over personal emails. Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS tax-exempt division, apologized in May for the extra review given to Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking exemptions under a section of the tax code that allows limited political activity. In a letter to Lerner, the Republicans said they had concerns about some emails she had sent from her IRS account to a personal account. Those transfers could indicate that she had sent IRS
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Court: Obama broke the law

In a rebuke to the Obama administration, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been violating federal law by delaying a decision on a proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the commission to complete the licensing process and approve or reject the Energy Department’s application for a never-completed waste storage site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. In a sharply worded opinion, the court said the nuclear agency was “simply flouting the law” when it allowed the Obama administration to continue plans
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Protesters: ‘Obama, stop pipeline!’

Some 200 people staged a sit-in outside the US State Department Monday, demanding that President Barack Obama stop the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Activists from environmental groups and civil society organizations held placards and shouted:”President Obama, stop the pipeline!” The proposal under debate pertains to construction of a 1,179-mile (1,897 kilometer) portion stretching from Alberta to Nebraska. Opponents of the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to coastal Texas, say its environmental risks outweigh economic benefits, citing the impact on climate change and the potential for groundwater pollution should the pipeline break. “We expect to see here
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Mad as hell about NSA spying?

Charlotte Scot isn’t one to take things lying down — like the time President George W. Bush was re-elected and she moved to Canada in protest. So when the 66-year-old artist from Old Lyme, Conn., heard that major telecommunications providers have been turning over data about every Americans’ phone calls to the government since 2006, Scot demanded that her own phone company tell her what, if anything, it had shared about her. She soon received a non-response from an unnamed customer service representative informing her how to opt out of its marketing program, which only made Scot angrier. “Dear Anonymous,”
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Biden for President in 2016?

Joe Biden may run for president in 2016, or he may not. But he wants you to know he could. Iowa. New Hampshire. South Carolina. Michigan. Three years out from the next presidential election, the vice president is polishing his connections and racking up favors in all the right states to ensure he stays part of the conversation, keeping his name near the top of a list of likely contenders even if the prime spot seems to have already been claimed by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Biden’s advisers and friends say his crowded schedule of campaign events to boost Democrats in
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Holder to propose justice system reforms that ease punishment on some drug offenders

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder is looking at scaling back sentences on drug-related crimes as a way to ease overcrowding in prisons and begin what could become a major overhaul of the nation’s criminal justice system. Holder is scheduled to outline the changes Monday in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco.  Among his proposals will be diversion of those convicted of certain low-level drug offenses to treatment centers and community service programs while also expanding existing prison programs to allow release of elderly, non-violent offenders. His speech could be viewed by some as a pullback on the
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What you say may haunt you

Senator Mitch McConnell‘s campaign manager is in hot water for telling someone he once worked with on the Ron Paul Presidential campaign that he is ‘sorta holding my nose’ while trying to get McConnell re-elected. The guy on the other end of the line secretly recorded the phone conversation and posted it online. Jesse Benton, the campaign manager with the big mouth, violated the first rule of life in politics:  If you don’t want to make the front page, watch what you write or say. In my 23 years in Washington, I broke that that rule often. In 1981, shortly
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If Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager is ‘holding his nose,’ how can he help the Senator?

  Mitch McConnell‘s campaign manager for what is shaping up to be a serious fight at both the primary and general election level is not helping his candidate. In a phone conversation secretly reccorded, Jesse Benton, who may not be running McDonnell’s campaign much longer, said he is “sorta holding my nose” when it comes to working for the bombastic Kentucky Republican Senator. His remarks brought the sharks out of the woodwork over the weekend. “I think Jesse spoke for Republicans here in Kentucky and all across the country when he said he had to hold his nose to support
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Obama claims new limits against spying on Americans by America’s government

President Barack Obama announced plans on Friday to limit sweeping U.S. government surveillance programs that have come under criticism since leaks by a former spy agency contractor, saying the United States “can and must be more transparent.” “Given the history of abuse by governments, it’s right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives,” Obama told a news conference at the White House. Saying that it was important to strike the right balance between security and civil liberties, Obama vowed to improve oversight of surveillance and restore public trust in the government’s programs.
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Obama’s summer of distraction from spying on Americans by America’s government

For President Barack Obama, August was supposed to be the month a sweeping immigration bill landed on his desk. There was hope for movement on a grand deficit deal with Republicans, and in the optimistic early days of his second term, even a belief that Obama would have already achieved stricter gun laws. Instead, Obama finds his fifth year in office beset by distractions — perhaps none with broader domestic and foreign policy implications than the revelation of secret government surveillance programs. The matter dominated Obama’s hourlong news conference Friday, with the issues the White House had hoped to be
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