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Ear to the Ground

Perry Makes Major Announcement, Koch Brothers Try to Kill Obamacare, and More

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Posted on Jul 8, 2013

It’s a No-Go: The longest-sitting governor in Texas state history is finally calling it quits. Rick Perry announced Monday that he would not run for a fourth full term when he’s up for re-election next year. “The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership. Today, I am announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas,” he told a crowd of supporters at a local Caterpillar dealership. But Perry’s not saying goodbye to his political career just yet. It appears that the man whose presidential campaign ended in epic fashion hasn’t ruled out making another run for the White House. “Any future considerations I will announce in due time and I will arrive at that decision appropriately,” he said. (Read more)

Koch Ad Campaign: The conservative billionaire Koch brothers are spending $1 million through the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity on an advertising campaign meant to undermine President Obama’s signature health care law before it goes into full effect. Although the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was signed into law three years ago, the GOP is still trying to limit its reach, with House Republicans already voting to repeal it—to no avail, of course—37 times. The Koch brothers hope that the ad blitz by Americans for Prosperity will bolster the cause. The new television spots try to plant the conservative narrative seed that Obamacare will raise insurance premiums while limiting choice. The ads will begin airing in Ohio and Virginia before expanding to other states. (Read more)

IRS Goof: According to a recent audit by the public domain group Public.Resource.org, the Internal Revenue Service mistakenly posted the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of Americans on the government’s website. (As Rick Perry would probably say: “Oops!”) The breach involved the IRS’ database of 527s, which are political nonprofit groups. The Social Security numbers were up for less than 24 hours before the mistake was discovered and they were taken down, though as the National Journal observed, “the damage was done” by then. Public.Resource.org has requested that the IRS remove the entire 527 database in order to prevent more “lapses.” (Read more)

Getting Better: The condition of Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, is said to be improving after she reportedly suffered a seizure and was hospitalized over the weekend. According to the State Department, the 74-year-old’s condition was upgraded from “critical” to “fair” Monday. “She is undergoing further evaluation and Secretary of State John Kerry, her son, and other family members remain with Mrs. Heinz Kerry at the hospital in Boston, as they have been since she became ill,” a spokesman for Kerry said in a statement. “The family is touched by the outpouring of well wishes.” (Read more)

Fox News Is Tops: In a survey that might just destroy your faith in all future surveys, a new Gallup poll found that Fox News is the cream of the crop when it comes to Americans’ choice of news sources. That’s right, the network known for telling falsehoods and outright lies garnered the highest percentage of respondents who were asked about their main source for news and current events. The cable news channel bested other mainstream outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, NPR and even whole news industries such as newspaper and radio. The poll also showed that by and large, television and the Internet are the two primary ways Americans get their news today. (Read more)

Video of the Day: The Guardian on Monday released more excerpts of journalist Glenn Greenwald interviewing National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong last month. In the most recently posted video clip, Snowden predicts that he would be charged under the Espionage Act for leaking top-secret documents about the NSA’s domestic and international spying programs (we know now of course that Snowden’s forecast was correct). “I think they’re going to say I’ve committed grave crimes, you know, I’ve violated the Espionage Act. They’re going to say, you know, I’ve aided our enemies in making them aware of these systems, but that argument can be made against anybody who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems, because fundamentally, they apply equally to ourselves as they do to our enemies,” he said. Snowden also gives a fuller explanation on why he exposed the information. You can watch the seven-minute long video here

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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