obama weekly addressPresident Barack Obama said in his weekly address last Saturday that we can “get our deficits under control and move from recovery to prosperity” by getting rid of “dozens of government programs shown to be wasteful or ineffective” and, in general, making government more “efficient” and “accountable.”  He also said that he has “assembled a team of management, technology, and budget experts to guide us in this work.”

PhoneThe New York Times has reported that the Obama administration has stepped up federal surveillance of law-abiding Americans since taking office: “The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.”

ObamaPresident Barack Obama said in a written statement released on April 16 that CIA and other intelligence officials who conducted felony torture during the Bush administration shouldn’t be prosecuted. The White House provided the statement on the occasion of the public release of four Bush administration-era memos that attempted to paint a veneer of legality on torture techniques. According to Obama:

GuantanamoFox News online has found an attorney who says the Bush administration did not engage in torture. David B. Rivkin, whom FoxNews.com describes as “constitutional lawyer and member of the Council on Foreign Relations,” concludes that the Bush administration’s claims that “the specific interrogation techniques used by the CIA did not constitute torture — are eminently reasonable.”

Gun controlGun control is off the agenda for now, according to Newsweek. Although the Obama administration is packed with anti-gun stalwarts, from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Attorney General Eric Holder to President Obama himself, the political will has dwindled to revisit the misnamed “assault weapons ban,” which expired in 2004, or close the so-called “gun show loophole,” whereby firearms can be bought and sold between private individuals without the transaction being registered, to name just two long-standing agenda items of the gun confiscation lobby.