This Week’s Under-reported News Summary Jan. 2, 2019

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Israeli’s own witch hunt—and a test of rule of law
  • How the IRS was gutted
  • How America’s bluest state can be a model for the other 49

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a snap election in April as his right-wing government faces growing internal dissent over national security issues and a growing bribery scandal. The official reason for the snap election was the right-wing government’s inability to pass a law to regulate the enlistment of ultra-orthodox men into the Israeli military. But the corruption cases loom large. Only days before Netanyahu’s call for new elections, state prosecutors recommended Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges. Two previous prime ministers who were indicted were later forced to resign.

(“Israeli’s Own Witch Hunt—And a Test of Rule of Law,” CS Monitor, Dec. 11, 2018; “State Prosecutors Hand Indictment Recommendations Against PM to Attorney General,” Times of Israel, Dec. 19, 2018)

• Congressional Republicans have waged an eight-year campaign to cut funding for the Internal Revenue Service while proclaiming that the tax-collection agency is biased against conservatives. In 2008, an internal IRS investigation discovered hundreds of foreign companies operating in the U.S. were not paying U.S. taxes. Soon after the IRS sought $50 million in unpaid taxes, the Republican majority in Congress responded by reducing the IRS enforcement budget.

(“How the IRS Was Gutted, ProPublica, Dec. 11, 2018)

• A Democratic “blue wave” crashed into conservative Orange County, California, defeating all seven congressional seats held by Republicans.  Prominent GOP firebrand Dana Rohrabacher was among those ousted. Democrats now also make up a super-majority in California’s state legislature.

( “How America’s Bluest State Can Be a Model for the Other 49,” American Prospect, Dec. 3, 2018)

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