- - Thursday, May 10, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — Rep. Michele Bachmann ended her Swiss citizenship less than diplomatically Thursday, saying she was giving it up to prove she is a “proud American citizen.”

The Minnesota Republican said Thursday that she had written to the Swiss Consulate asking to withdraw her citizenship just two days after it was first reported that she had taken steps to affirm it.

“I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America,” she said.

The move came two days after Swiss TV broke the news that she had registered for Swiss citizenship, which she initially dismissed as a “non-story.” The campaign of her Democratic opponent for re-election, businessman Jim Graves, insinuated she might have divided loyalties.

“Earlier this year, Rep. Michele Bachmann was Iowan, earlier this week she was Swiss and today she’s an American,” Graves campaign spokesman Donald McFarland said in a statement Thursday.


Warren didn’t cite Indian past, but Penn said she had one

BOSTON — Records show that a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Massachusetts identified her race as “white” on a University of Texas employment record and declined to apply for admission to Rutgers Law School under a program for minority students.

But after leaving Texas in 1987, she joined the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where a report by a committee reviewing the status of minority faculty identifies Ms. Warren as a minority.

The Associated Press obtained the records Thursday on Elizabeth Warren. Her heritage has been under scrutiny after it surfaced that she had listed herself in law school directories as having American Indian heritage.

Incumbent Sen. Scott P. Brown has called on Ms. Warren to release all law school applications and personnel files from the universities where she taught.


Military suspends class with harsh views on Islam

A course for U.S. military officers has been teaching that America’s enemy is Islam in general, not just terrorists, and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths.

The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that it, too, was critical of Islam.

The teaching in the military course was counter to repeated assertions by U.S. officials over the past decade that the U.S. is at war against Islamic extremists — not the religion.

“They hate everything you stand for and will never co-exist with you, unless you submit,” the instructor, Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, said in a presentation last July for the course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va.

Lt. Col. Dooley also presumed, for the purposes of his theoretical war plan, that the Geneva Conventions that set standards of armed conflict, are “no longer relevant.”


Democrats attack NYPD over Muslim intelligence program

House Democrats on Thursday urged the New York Police Department to purge its intelligence databases of information gleaned from its clandestine spying on Muslim neighborhoods.

They also criticized the Obama administration for offering tepid responses to questions about whether it endorses such tactics.

Lawmakers introduced a resolution Thursday calling for an end to NYPD programs that infiltrated mosques and monitored even innocent conversations in cafes and bookstores. Muslim business owners were included in police files, even with no allegations of wrongdoing.

The resolution has little chance of passing but it followed a heated debate Wednesday night over a House amendment that would have banned racial profiling by any department that receives federal money.


Biden apologizes to Obama for gay-marriage remark

Shortly before President Obama voiced his support for gay marriage, Vice President Joseph R. Biden apologized to the president for comments that led him to speed up his public pronouncement.

The two men spoke in the Oval Office on Wednesday, a person familiar with the exchange said, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private talk. Mr. Obama accepted his vice president’s apology, saying he knew Mr. Biden was speaking from his heart when he declared in a television interview that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay couples marrying.

Mr. Biden’s comments pushed gay marriage to the forefront of the presidential race and focused a fresh spotlight on Mr. Obama’s vague position on the matter. The president had been saying he opposed gay marriage but that his personal views were “evolving.”

The vice president spoke out on gay marriage without White House consent, leaving Obama aides deeply frustrated.


USDA pushes tighter rules on Internet dog sales

Dog breeders who skirt animal welfare laws by selling puppies over the Internet would face tighter scrutiny under a rule change proposed Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The change would subject dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies electronically, by mail or over the phone to the same oversight faced by wholesale dealers as part of the Animal Welfare Act.

That law, written in 1966, set standards of care for animals bred for commercial sale and research. Retail sales were exempt from inspections under the assumption that anyone who visited the store could see whether the animals appeared healthy and cared for.

The Internet opened a new venue for puppy sales, and thousands of large-scale breeders who advertise there have not been subject to oversight or inspection.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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