Daily Archives: November 27, 2011

Gingrich Clashes with Other Candidates over Illegal Immigration

Gingrich's official portrait as Speaker

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Representative Michele Bachmann renewed her attack on Saturday of Newt Gingrich over illegal immigration, saying he favors “amnesty” for all illegal immigrants.

Rep. Bachmann released a letter that Mr. Gingrich signed in 2004 supporting a proposal by President Bush for a guest-worker program that would have given undocumented workers employee benefits.

Rep. Bachmann called Mr. Gingrich “the most liberal G.O.P. candidate on the issue of immigration reform.”

The issue arose after a debate on Tuesday night in which Mr. Gingrich called for a “humane” solution for illegal immigrants.

The Republican base has moved to the right on the issue since Pres. Bush floated his guest-worker program, which he dropped before his 2004 re-election campaign.

Republican primary voters disapprove of any program suggesting amnesty for illegal immigrants.

On Wednesday, Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Gingrich for tying legal status to the time someone has been in the country. “How about someone who has been here 20 years?” he said. “How about 12 years? How about 10? 5? 3?” He, too, labeled Mr. Gingrich’s proposal “amnesty.”

Mr. Gingrich said Friday at a campaign appearance that his Republican rivals were twisting his position. He repeated his support for a system to give legal status to some who have long been in the U.S., stating the least would be twenty-five years. He would leave the choice to grant legal status to local community boards.

Mr. Gingrich said he would secure the Mexican border by January 1, 2014 and fine businesses that hired undocumented workers, but in suggesting anything less than deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, he opens himself up to charges of “amnesty.’’

Rep. Bachmann, who has made a hard line on illegal immigration a signature of her campaign, repeated that Mr. Gingrich favors amnesty for all 11 million.

The February 2004 letter that she circulated, printed in The Wall Street Journal, was an indication of how conservative opinion has shifted on the issue. Among its signatories was Ed Goeas, who earlier this year was an adviser to Mrs. Bachmann.


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On This Day…

In 1973, the Senate voted 92-3 to confirm Gerald R. Ford as vice president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew, who’d resigned.

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Justice Department Reviews Debit Card Fees in Violation of Antitrust Laws

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The Justice Department is reviewing allegations that U.S. banks and their trade associations coördinated increases in debit card fees in violation of antitrust laws.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said in a letter released Tuesday,

The Department of Justice is reviewing the statements and actions by banks and their trade associations regarding possible increases in consumer fees for using debit cards.

Please be assured that if it finds that individuals, banks, or other parties may have violated the antitrust laws, the department will take appropriate action.

Statements by big banks and trade groups, including Wells Fargo and the American Bankers Association, raised questions about whether financial companies colluded on fee increases to make up for revenue lost because of a new cap on debit card swipe fees.

That controversial cap went into effect on Oct. 1.

Banks defended the debit card fees, saying they had to make up for billions of dollars of lost revenue from retailers, but most scrapped them when faced with customer backlash.

Via Cleveland.com.

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Gingrich, Paul Clash on PATRIOT Act at Tuesday’s Debate

Newt Gingrich

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Newt Gingrich and Texas Representative Ron Paul clashed at Tuesday’s debate when Mr. Gingrich saying terrorism means “all of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives.”

Mr. Gingrich said he would look at strengthening the PATRIOT Act if elected. Rep. Paul disagreed, saying “the PATRIOT Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty.”

The CNN debate, focused on national security and foreign policy issues, was the first in which Gingrich is firmly among the front-runners in national surveys.

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Khmer Rouge Leader Calls Accusations Against Him a “Fairy Tale”

Khieu Samphan at a public hearing before the P...

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A Khmer Rouge leader insisted Wednesday he had no authority during the regime’s rule of Cambodia and allegations he bore responsibility for its atrocities were a “fairy tale.”

Head of state Khieu Samphan told a tribunal he was a figurehead who never joined key policy meetings in the radical communist government, which is accused of orchestrating the “killing fields” and causing the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians in the 1970s.

In his rebuttal, he said the prosecutors’ opening remarks were exaggerations based mainly on unreliable old news reports and books.

After the trial of Khieu Samphan and two other leaders opened Monday, prosecutors described the pitiless policies the Khmer Rouge imposed to build an agrarian utopia.

The tribunal is seeking justice on behalf of the quarter of Cambodia’s population who died from executions, starvation, disease and overwork under the Khmer Rouge rule.

The defendants are the most senior surviving members of the regime: Khieu Samphan; Nuon Chea, the group’s chief ideologist; and former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary. They are charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, persecution, homicide, and torture.

The Khmer Rouge’s supreme leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998 in Cambodia’s jungles while a prisoner of his own comrades.

Khieu Samphan stressed the nationalist credentials of the Khmer Rouge, who opposed French colonialism, fought against a pro-Western regime and its U.S. backers, and finally forced a showdown with neighboring Vietnam.

Mr. Khieu’s French lawyer, Jacques Verges, dismissed the prosecution statements as similar to the novels of Alexandre Dumas, author of dashing adventure yarns.

Khieu Samphan has said he has known Verges since he attended university in France in the 1950s, when both were active in student movements against French colonialism.

“He and I used to attend meetings of student committees against colonialism. That’s what bound us together in friendship,” Mr. Khieu said in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press.

Verges has defended Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal and Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie and is noted for a slashing, sarcastic courtroom style, aimed as much at discrediting the judicial establishment as getting his clients off the hook.

Khieu Samphan, along with Verges, reminded the court that intensive U.S. bombing of his country during the Vietnam War contributed to its misery. “Can you imagine what my country faced after such bloody killing and war?” Mr. Khieu declared.

While decrying the case against him, Khieu Samphan added that he welcomed the opportunity to explain his role to the Cambodian public.

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Pop Five: Hollywood’s Greatest May-December Romances

Moore and Kutcher in September 2008

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It’s been a week since Demi Moore announced that she and husband Ashton Kutcher would be divorcing.

The relationship between the two always caused a stir among the media, who loved to gab about the fifteen-year age difference. In honor of their six-year marriage, I’ll count down  five of Hollywood’s greatest May-December romances.

5 (tie). Donald Trump and Melania Trump (24 years) and Ivana Trump and Rossano Rubicondi (24 years)

Donald Trumpt went after the supermodel Melania Knauss after he met her at a fashion event. As she is twenty-four years his junior, there is hope that Melania will keep Mr. Trump’s attention, unlike wives number one and two.

Donald’s first wife, Ivana, also has an eye for younger partners. In April 2008, Ms. Trump married Rossano Rubicondi, who is twenty-four years her junior. Eight months later, the couple split.

4. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (25 years) have withstood a decade of marriage. Mr. Douglas proposed to Ms. Zeta-Jones on New Year’s Eve in 1999. Their son, Dylan, was born less than a year later. Their daughter, Carys, arrived three years later, and they seem to be going strong today.

3. Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn (35 years) may be known as the creepiest Hollywood duo, as Ms. Previn was Mr. Allen’s step-daughter before they tied the knot. The two married in Venice in 1997 when Mr. Allen was sixty-seven and Ms. Previn was twenty-seven. Although she had been adopted at age seven by Mr. Allen’s former partner, Mia Farrow, Ms. Previn says she never saw him as a father figure.

2. Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris (60 years). Ever since Mr. Hefner launched Playboy in 1952, his life has revolved around the Bunnies who work with him, date him, and marry him. He was married when he founded the empire, but that ended quickly. After dating several Bunnies, he tied the knot with Kimberley Conrad, with whom he had two sons. They divorced, and Mr. Hefner proposed to his twenty-five-year-old playmate, Crystal Harris, who called off the wedding to the eighty-five-year-old five days before the wedding. She reportedly hated the thought of not being the only Bunny in his life.

1. Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall (63 years). Six months before she appeared in Playboy, Anna Nicole Smith met oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall while she was dancing at Gigi’s, a Houston strip club. Over a two-year courtship, he lavished gifts on the blonde until they were married. When Mr. Marshall died in 1995 after thirteen months of marriage, Ms. Smith battled his son (twenty-eight years her senior) in court for the $1.6 billion estate. Ms. Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007.



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Arab League Recommends Sanctions against Syria

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria

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Arab League finance ministers recommended Saturday that sanctions be levied against Syria for its part in ongoing violence within its borders. Arab League foreign ministers will meet at 11 a.m. Sunday to consider the proposal.

Syria failed to respond to a Friday deadline to allow Arab League observers to watch the government’s response to civil unrest.

The Arab League suspended Syria from its membership this month after President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime ignored demands to end its crackdown on citizens.

President al-Assad has resisted mounting calls for his resignation in recent weeks. He says his government is battling armed terrorist groups.

The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have died in the course of an eight-month government crackdown on protests.

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