President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner sat down on Sunday, December 9, for the first time in 23 days to discuss the fiscal cliff, but it seems a deal still has not been reached. However, both men seemed to come to agreement on one item, and that is what to say publicly regarding their talk.
The debate between congressional Republicans and Democrats over how to address the impending fiscal cliff remains heated, but Republicans are beginning to make concessions in an effort to reach a deal. House Speaker John Boehner said on Wednesday that by closing loopholes, taxes will effectively be increased on the so-called “rich,” in order to generate more revenue. Even with that concession, however, no deal has been reached between the two parties on the fiscal cliff.
The Alameda County, California sheriff’s office has been forced to suspend the purchase of a surveillance drone after constitutionalists and activists slammed the agency with concerns that the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle would violate privacy protections.
The sheriff’s office had asked the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to approve a $31,646 grant to purchase a drone. The money was part of a $1.2-million grant handed out by the California Emergency Management Agency.
County supervisors were preparing to vote on the use of grant money for such a purchase, but the public outcry from civil rights attorneys and anti-drone advocates has now forced the sheriff’s office to postpone the decision.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted against the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees, despite veto threats from the White House. The measure was an amendment to the annual Defense Authorization Bill, which failed by a vote of 54-41, with 10 Democrats voting against their party in favor of the amendment.
Texas Republican Ron Paul, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, and New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt are continuing the fight in the House of Representatives against the use of drones for targeted killing by the Obama administration. They have once again called upon the Obama administration to release documents to justify the use of the overseas drone strikes.
While the U.S. economy is said to be en route to go over the so-called "fiscal cliff" on January 1, Congress has made little headway in the process of reaching a solution, though there were indications of compromise over the weekend. Unless a compromise is reached, the American people will experience an onslaught of tax increases and spending cuts that the Congressional Budget Office says will set the economy on a downward spiral.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has announced that he will not be supporting the controversial Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act, which he wrote, after fierce criticism arose from a variety of groups over his revision to the bill allowing federal agencies warrantless access to Americans' e-mail accounts. The revised version of the legislation was antithetical to the original measure, which included a requirement for a search warrant.
State lawmakers in Texas are fighting to reassert their citizens’ Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights. Republican legislators have submitted two bills, one to remove the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the other to stop the intrusive screening procedures of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Conflict in the Mideast is intensifying between the Israeli government and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist political/military party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas declared ground warfare on Israel after Gaza Islamists had begun firing missiles at Tel Aviv, while Israel has launched several airstrikes against key Gaza sites. Israel is in the process of preparing for ground war, amassing troops outside the Gaza Strip.,
Several public school teachers are facing investigations for posting items on social networking sites that opposed President Obama and his agenda. Parents raised concerns regarding the teachers’ posts prompting the school distracts to launch investigations. Similarly, teens who posted anti-Obama messages on social networking sites are being targeted by a website called Jezebel, which not only reveals the identities of the students who made the posts, but reported the students to their schools.