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Ear to the Ground

Democrats Demand Answers From Obama, Warren Blasts Republicans, and More

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Posted on Mar 12, 2013

Now They Speak Up: A week after Republican Sen. Rand Paul temporarily filibustered CIA Director John Brennan’s confirmation vote over the Obama administration’s targeted killings program, Democratic lawmakers—who were conspicuously silent on the issue that day—are seeking details on the drone policy. In a letter sent to President Obama, eight Democrats asked him to declassify documents that justify the administration’s use of drone strikes. From the letter: “Authorizing the killing of American citizens and others has profound implications for our Constitution, the core values of our Nation, our national security and future international practice. The executive branch’s claim of authority to deprive citizens of life, and to do so without explaining the legal bases for doing so, sets a dangerous precedent and is a model of behavior that the United States would not want other nations to emulate.” (Read more)

Medal Meddle: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the review of a medal that would be given to service personnel who operate drones and conduct cyberwarfare after the discovery that the honor would outrank traditional combat ones such as the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart caused outrage. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was approved by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, would commend the “extraordinary” achievements of members of the military who served after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, even those who are conducting remote warfare. In the meantime, production of the medals has been halted. (Read more)

Consumer Sentiment: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., ripped Senate Republicans on Tuesday for holding up the nomination of Richard Cordray, who has been tapped by President Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans claim they are doing so because they have an issue with the bureau’s structure. But Warren, who helped build the CFPB before she was elected to the Senate, accused Republicans of wanting to weaken it. “I think the delay in getting him confirmed is bad for consumers, it’s bad for small banks, bad for credit unions, for anyone trying to offer an honest product in an honest market,” she said. (Read more)

Movie Action: According to Iranian media reports, the country may sue Hollywood alleging the Oscar-winning movie “Argo” featured an “unrealistic portrayal” of the nation. The film is a dramatization of the rescue of six American diplomats who escaped the U.S. Embassy during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. After the movie’s best picture win at the Academy Awards, Iran called “Argo” pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda. Several news outlets say that a lawyer is talking with officials about how and where to file the lawsuit. (Read more)

Merry Scary: Sarah Palin’s getting into the Christmas spirit a little early this year. The former half-term Alaska governor is writing a book about the mythical-nonexistent-outside-Fox-News “War on Christmas.” In a statement, Palin said: “This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas.” The book, titled “A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas,” is scheduled to come out in November. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Did Paul Ryan’s Freudian slip reveal his true agenda when he said during a news conference Tuesday that “we are not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.” Based on his recently released budget, a good guess would be “yes.”

 

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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