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“The European Commission stepped up pressure on Hungary over Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s consolidation of power, calling on the government to heed its warnings about the erosion of the rule of law in the nation.
“Based on a first legal analysis, the commission has serious concerns over the compatibility” of the most recent constitutional amendment with the 27-nation bloc’s laws and values, the European Union executive said in a statement today. Once the legal analysis is finalized, the commission said it will take steps “where relevant” to start infringement procedures against Hungary, which could lead to a court case.
Lawmakers last month backed a constitutional amendment to curtail judicial authority, limit campaign ads in private media, restrict the definition of a family to marriage and allow the criminalization of homeless people who live on the streets, all of which the Constitutional Courthas vetoed in past decisions. The move underscored concern for the rule of law and checks and balances in Hungary, where Orban wields a two-thirds parliamentary majority.
“I strongly appeal to you and to your government to address these concerns and to tackle them in a determined and unambiguous way,” European Commission President Jose Barroso said in a letter to Orban, according to the commission statement.
The showdown with the EU threatens to affect Hungary’s finances after the foreign ministers of Germany, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands last month pushed to impose EU funding cutson member states that violate the bloc’s democratic values.
Independent Institutions…”Comments »
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“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Securities and Exchange Commission is experimenting with punishments that more closely fit the wrongdoing at issue in a bid to give its enforcement cases more bite.
Criticized for its traditional practice of a broad ban on wrongdoers breaking securities law again, theSEC is testing injunctions that specifically bar certain behavior, such as giving advice to pension funds or profiting from presenting investment seminars.
Critics of the SEC’s typical broad prohibitions say they are ineffective and not well enforced. Customized injunctions could also be a more precise tool than the blunt instrument of barring an individual from being a company officer or director.
“We want to use all of the tools available to us to specifically discourage repeat misconduct and go beyond the injunctions we traditionally obtain,” George Canellos, the SEC’s acting enforcement director, told Reuters in an interview.
In the past year SEC lawyers have slowly started seeking injunctions that bar defendants from specific types of conduct, even if that conduct is itself legal.
They are relying on authority derived from the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley investor protection law that makes explicit courts’ authority to follow through on the SEC’s recommended injunctions.
“We are actively exploring ways to invoke that authority more creatively toward the goal of creating remedies tailored to the misconduct at issue,” he said….”Comments »
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“In President Obama’s drive to curb gun violence in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, he and VP Joe Biden have mentioned on several occasions the possibility of executive action or an executive order on some aspects of gun control.
The very threat of such an act has stirred many conservatives to respond passionately in opposition to such a possibility, none more so than Texas Congressman Steve Stockman.
In a statement released Monday, Stockman said: “The White House’s recent announcement they will use executive orders and executive actions to infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms is an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic.”
So far, Mr. Obama’s statements on the subject of executive action on gun control have been given with the caveat that he will only consider it if Congress doesn’t act. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett reports the only area the president mentioned dealt with improved tracing at the federal level of guns sold to or stolen by criminals.
Still, that didn’t stop Stockman from making threats if Obama took “actions (that) are an existential threat to this nation.”
In his statement, Stockman said he “will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment.”
The president appears to have been prepared for such an impassioned response to his push for strong gun control regulations. At a Monday press briefing, the president acknowledged the fervor of gun rights advocates….”Comments »
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“Chris Rock has a funny, albeit morbid, bit about how most serial gun killers still live at home with their mothers. The caustic comic and perennial President Obama defender wants to take his joke to its logical conclusion.
Gun ownership should hinge on the buyer having a mortgage of his or her own.
“The gun lobby always says, well, people need the right to protect their property,” he told TheWrap. “Every mass shooting is done by a guy who lives with his mother. I honestly believe you should have to have a mortgage to buy a gun. No one with a mortgage has ever gone on a killing spree.”
He added: “A mortgage is a real background check. … And you know if you go to jail for 30 years you still have to pay your f—ing mortgage.”
Rock was one of several celebrities who took part in the pro-control “Demand a Plan” video in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.”Comments »
“CNN host Piers Morgan just called to discuss his interview last night with Alex Jones, the conservative radio host and gun advocate who went on a tirade against Morgan, gun control legislation, and a litany of government conspiracies.
“He was the best advertisement for gun control you could wish for,” Morgan told POLITICO.
“That kind of vitriol, hatred, and zealotry is really quite scary. I didn’t feel threatened by him, but I’m concerned that someone like him has that level of influence,” Morgan said. “There’s got to be a level of discourse that can rise above what happened last night. It was undignified, unedifying….”Comments »