Reuters is reporting the following:
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.
The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.
Enough is enough. There is no legitimate reason for allowing intelligence agencies full access to every American’s financial transactions. How is such sharing not a violation of citizen’s rights to privacy? Financial crimes can be investigated by financial regulators and the FBI. Opening the books to the CIA and the NSA is another matter entirely.
The Onion turns Fox News-style political coverage up to 11. An excerpt:
With the savage roar of the heathen Democratic horde rising all around him, President Barack Obama delivered an incendiary speech to close his party’s national convention Thursday night, commanding the ultraprogressive minions in attendance to help him “destroy Jesus and usher in a new age of liberal darkness that shall reign o’er the earth for a thousand years.”
The thunderous 45-minute address—during which the president argued for a second term so that he could “finally kill Jesus once and for all, as well as all those who worship him”—was well received by the frenzied, wild-eyed audience, whose piercing chants of “Four more years!” and “Slaughter the believers!” echoed throughout the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Yesterday, Mitt Romney raised the “birther” issue while taking a swipe at Obama:
Very unfunny, especially coming from a guy who attacks Obama with claims that Obama is running a rough campaign. And here is how Romney tried to minimize the damage:
Some on the right claim that a lawsuit filed by the Obama administration in Ohio is designed to eliminate the rights of military members to vote in the three days before the actual election date.
However, this is false. The lawsuit does not seek to invalidate the military voting rights. Rather it seeks to allow all Ohio residents to vote during the three day period since the polls will be open in any event. They seek equal early voting access for all.
Here is the brief filed in the case:
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request of this Court the following equitable relief:…
B. A preliminary and permanent order prohibiting the Defendants, their respective agents, servants, employees, attorneys, successors, and all persons acting in concert with each or any of them, from implementing or enforcing lines 863 and 864 of Sec. 3509.03 (I) in HB 224, and/or the SB 295 enactment of Ohio Revised Code § 3509.03 with the HB 224 amendments, thereby restoring in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters;
England [sic] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.
– Mitt Romney, from his book No Apology: Believe in America. Surely this is a powerful statement of the critical Anglo-Saxon shared heritage Mitt says he has with the Brits but which Obama knows nothing about.
The latest on the presidential race:
What is the effect of Obama’s attacks on Romney? Let’s take a look at the key swing state of Ohio, shall we?
No, we will not apologize.
– President Obama, refusing Mitt Romney’s call for a public apology regarding the Bain attacks.
A new ad is out from the Obama campaign. I like it.
Update: Check out James Wolcott’s take:
It’s the political ad that everyone’s talking about this post-All Star game season, and no wonder–it’s a sneaky jab that completely shatters Mitt Romney’s glass jaw. What’s brilliant about “Firms” isn’t so much the way it mails home the irony of Romney murdering “America the Beautiful” with his toneless, tuneless voice on the soundtrack as info flashcards remind us of all the jobs Bain Capital shipped overseas and how much money Romney’s stashed in tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, though it is a clever, damaging juxtaposition that takes Romney’s chief asset as a candidate–his halo of executive achievement–and hangs it around his neck like a choke collar. Very Rovian, that.
No, what’s genius is the initial transition between President Obama striding a few steps at the White House and cutting to Mitt making with song…the contrast between Obama’s vocal and physical gravitas and Mitt’s goofiness is hilarious, devastating, emasculating. It’s like going from The Shawshank Redemption to Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor when the Buddy Love spell wears off, from Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night to Fred MacMurray in Son of Flubber. And the fact that this ad is approved by Obama gives it much more authority and pow than if it were just something cooked up at the editing console by some bright operatives hoping the video would go YouTube viral. It’s a smackdown from the man himself, not some Democratic front group, thus sending a much stronger message.
It’s clear that the Obama campaign’s strategy is to hit Romney hard early, define and diminish him in the public imagination with cartoon clarity, and send him into the Republican convention with a Dan Quayle deer-in-the-headlights look that conveys the unbearable lightness of completely lost.
The initial response from Team Romney is that the Obama ad is making mockery of “America the Beautiful,” and thus of America itself, and therefore dishonors those great patriots who shop for mattresses on Presidents’ Day. If that’s the best these marshmallows can counterpunch, they’ll be digging up Lee Atwater before Labor Day and trying to reanimate him with jumper cables.
Note this: Obama is not a wimp. He is coming out tougher in this campaign than he has during most of his first term.
A reality check for the Romney campaign from Gallup:
The President takes on Bain.
At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.
– President Barack Obama
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has pledged to support an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And yesterday, Romney said that he even opposes civil unions:
My view is the same as it’s been from the beginning. I don’t favor civil unions if it’s identical to marriage, and I don’t favor marriage between people of the same gender. If a civil union is identical to marriage other than with the name, why, I don’t support that.
The jobs situation is bad. But how bad, and how much can Obama be blamed and how much credit should he get for the recovery in jobs so far? It is not at all obvious. Here are the statistics:
(image via CNN Money)