Massive street protests erupted in Tunisia in late December, which ended the 23-year reign of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Fueled largely by an Internet-connected youth movement, the protests were partly a reaction to the publication by WikiLeaks of documents from U.S. diplomatic cables that revealed pandemic corruption by the ruling party, as well as government oppression that included arrests of lawyers, journalists, and political opponents. Another spark helped to ignite the revolt was the dramatic protest by Mohamed Bouazizi, who publicly set himself on fire on December 17 because of frequent government confiscation of his produce in his street vendor’s business and the government’s refusal to issue him the required vendor permits.
An operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) known as Project Gunrunner has been implicated, albeit indirectly so far, in the December 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry by alleged bandits in Arizona, reports the president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council Andy Ramirez in a new piece for the Liberty News Network. Now, Agent Terry’s family wants answers and the Justice Department is apparently engaged in what critics are calling a “cover up.”
In a developing story, Fox News has learned that four Americans aboard a yacht hijacked by Somali pirates have been killed. Two of the Americans, Scott and Jean Adam, were the owners of the yacht, and the other two, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, were their friends. The Adams were running a Bible ministry and distributing Bibles to schools and churches in remote villages in a number of areas.
Conservative pundit Glenn Beck has recently made assertions on his Fox News program that Google played a significant role in the Egyptian revolution. Naturally, he was labeled a conspiracy theorist and rumors spread that he advocated boycotting Google, though he has explicitly stated that it was not his intent to provoke a boycott against the company.
Last week, the Arizona State Senate passed a bill, in a 21-8 vote, that could make Arizona the first state to challenge federal overreach into the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also penalizes federal agents attempting to violate the law. S.B. 1178 states that all goods grown or made in the State, and all services performed within it “are not subject to the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the several states."
Even with only modest cuts in the continuing resolution bill offered by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, it is highly unlikely to see the light of day when the Senate returns from recess, just before the March 4th deadline. Despite strong rhetoric from House Speaker John Boehner who said �When we say we�re going to cut spending, read my lips. We are going to cut spending, � this reminded one of the identical words (�read my lips�) uttered by Republican Presidential candidate George H. W. Bush in 1988, which cost him his chance for re-election in 1992 when he voted for higher taxes the year before. Boehner�s words also generated a protest of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who accused Boehner of threatening to shut down the entire government unless the House�s agenda was accepted.
After several days of enormous demonstrations organized by socialists, government-worker unions, and Democrats, a coalition of conservative and Tea Party groups rallied on Saturday, February 19, in Madison, Wisconsin, to support newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his proposals to rein in a massive budget deficit while reducing the power of state- and municipal-employee unions.
In what amounts to the next initiative undertaken by the Obama administration toward its escalating program of government expansion and nationalization of various aspects of the lives of the American people (such as the government takeover of health care, intervention in banks, and the nationalization of various automobile companies such as General Motors), the federal government is now embarking upon a program of government-directed wireless internet (Wi-Fi) delivery.
The U.S. Supreme Court next week will hear arguments in a case that may determine how far the government may go in detaining people as material witnesses. The court will hear a government appeal of a lower court decision upholding the right of Abdullah al-Kidd to sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft over Kidd's arrest and detention in early 2003 as a material witness in the prosecution of a terrorism suspect. Kidd was detained for about two weeks as a witness against Sami Omar al-Hussayen, who was accused of using his computer skills to aid terrorists. A jury in Idaho acquitted Hussayen on that charge in 2004, but deadlocked on other minor counts. Hussayen agreed to be deported to avoid retrial on those lesser charges.
President Obama is expected to sign a three-month extension of three provisions of the USA Patriot Act after Congress easily passed the measure, despite spirited opposition from congressional Democrats and a significant portion of the constitutionalist wing of the Tea Party movement.
As calls for cuts in the defense budget increased, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates knew what he would have to do: throw the cutters a bone, and then dig in against any further reductions. By admitting that he could shave $78 billion out of the defense budget over the next five years, Gates then went to work defending any further suggested incursions into the future spending plans by the military-industrial complex.