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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Hagel, the lobby and the limits of power

Chuck HagelThe former Republican senator is guilty of a cardinal sin which has cut short many promising careers in Washington.

You have to do no more than watch this attack ad produced by the neoconservative pressure group the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) to understand the significance of Chuck Hagel's possible nomination as US secretary of defence. The former Republican senator from Nebraska is guilty of a cardinal sin which has cut short many promising careers in Washington. He has proved himself insufficiently loyal to Israel and less than enthusiastic about confronting Iran.

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Former Florida GOP leaders say voter suppression was reason they pushed new election law

Voter suppression FLoridaA new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.

Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law’s main purpose: GOP victory.

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Poetic justice: Romney likely to finish at 47 percent

Romney at 47 percentWhen all the votes are counted, could Mitt Romney really end up achieving perfect poetic justice by finishing with 47 percent of the national vote? Yup. Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report says new votes in from Maryland put Romney at 47.56 percent. He predicts with certainty that with all of New York and California counted, Romney will end up below 47.5 percent of the vote.

Rounded, of course, that would put the final tally at 51-47. Anticipating this moment, Markos Moulitsas has inaugurated the “Romney 47 percent watch.”

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IRS not enforcing rules on churches and politics

Politics and religionFor the past three years, the Internal Revenue Service hasn't been investigating complaints of partisan political activity by churches, leaving religious groups who make direct or thinly veiled endorsements of political candidates unchallenged.

The IRS monitors religious and other nonprofits on everything from salaries to spending, and that oversight continues. However, Russell Renwicks, a manager in the IRS Mid-Atlantic region, recently said the agency had suspended audits of churches suspected of breaching federal restrictions on political activity. A 2009 federal court ruling required the IRS to clarify which high-ranking official could authorize audits over the tax code's political rules. The IRS has yet to do so.

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Top Romney advisor crusaded to outlaw homosexuality and abortion in Africa

Jay SukelowIn the conservative political world, Jay Sekulow is hailed as an avowed crusader for religious liberty and the super-attorney behind the American Center for Law and Justice, a group Time magazine called a "powerful counterweight to the liberal American Civil Liberties Union."

Unlike many conservatives, Sekulow, a Fox News legal analyst, has long backed Mitt Romney, whom he calls his friend. Sekulow advised Romney's 2008 presidential campaign, and has reprised that role during the 2012 election. He and his group have also joined forces with anti-gay crusaders in Africa to criminalize homosexuality.

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Does the Romney Family Now Own Your e-Vote?

Romney owns e-vote companyWill you cast your vote this fall on a faulty electronic machine that's partly owned by the Romney Family? Will that machine decide whether Romney will then inherit the White House?

Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

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Mitt Romney's Stake in Chinese Stocks

Mitt RomneyOn the campaign trail, Mitt Romney rips President Obama's policy on China and talks tough against the rising global power. "We're going to crack down on China," he said at a recent event in Ohio.

"They've stolen our jobs; that's gotta stop." But according to Romney's recent tax returns, between 2008 and 2011 Romney invested more than a half million dollars in the stocks of 10 Chinese companies—including firms that embezzled, partnered with Iran, and stole US intellectual property.

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