If there’s one favor Russia and China have done for us all lately, it’s been to reduce the United Nations to glaring irrelevance in the Syria conflict. Due to these two, there has been no Security Council resolution proposing to deal with Syria, and it looks like there won’t be. Repeated emergency meetings and draft resolutions have all arrived at a big nothing. Why is that helpful? Because it removes the fig leaf assumption that the UN is on the job, ergo something is being done. Too often, when terrible events start to build, the UN becomes the go-to place for
The Obama administration is today still reeling from Thursday’s enormous setback to the Syria intervention effort, as the UK voted to reject military intervention in the war-torn nation. It is difficult to overestimate just how devastating this is to the President’s foreign policy. Britain has stood side by side with America in almost every post-war conflict. The one major exception was the Vietnam War, arguably America’s biggest ever defeat. Put simply, America wins when it goes in with Britain, it loses when it does not. And Britain almost always stands shoulder to shoulder with its strongest ally. So what happened?
This is a tougher question that it seems on the surface. KEYE TV reports that the Austin city council is considering whether to replace a barely-visible tribute to the homeless who have died on the street with a more prominent statue for the same purpose, at a cost of $175,000. One advocate for the homeless and the statue calls the cash “chump change” while defending the project: This week the Austin City Council considers placing a full-size statue to the homeless along Lady Bird Lake. But could the money be better spent on homeless programs? For people jogging along Lady Bird
We knew it was coming — the grand opening of the exchanges is barely a month a way, and Americans are still largely confused about how ObamaCare is going to impact their lives — but that isn’t going to make this any more pleasant. The administration and Democrats in general are going to have to get vocal on ObamaCare during it’s rollout, whether they like it or not, to do plenty of damage control on the inevitable “kinks” they’re carefully assuring us will be part of the process, via Politico: The White House is mapping out a strategy to deploy
Americans say they don´t want the U.S. to strike Syria, but that they could support a limited action that did not risk the lives of American soldiers, according to recent polls. In a new survey from NBC, 50 percent of 700 respondents said the U.S. should not take "military action" in Syria, while 42 percent said the U.S. should. But opinions changed when participants were asked about airstrikes launched from U.S. ships, without involving ground troops or U.S. planes flying over Syria. Asked their opinion about a mission "limited to airstrikes using cruise missiles launched from U.S. naval ships that
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is poised to become the first U.S. leader in three decades to attack a foreign nation without mustering broad international support or acting in direct defense of Americans. Not since 1983, when President Ronald Reagan ordered an invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada, has the U.S. been so alone in pursing major lethal military action beyond a few attacks responding to strikes or threats against its citizens. It´s a policy turnabout for Obama, a Democrat who took office promising to limit U.S. military intervention and, as a candidate, said the president "
Colombia is deploying troops in the capital, Bogota, following violent protests in support of a strike by small-scale farmers. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the troops were needed "to assure normality". Clashes with police broke out after thousands of people took to the streets in support of the farmers. At least two people have died. Farmers say government policies are driving them into bankruptcy. "Last night, I ordered the militarisation of Bogota and I will do the same today in any municipality or area that needs the presence of our soldiers," President Santos said in a televised address after an overnight cabinet meeting.
London - A tax deal reached between Switzerland and the United States on Thursday effectively puts an end to the status of the small Alpine country as a tax haven for wealthy Americans. The agreement, which came after more than three years of intense discussions between the two countries, is expected to punish Swiss banks that helped wealthy Americans hide money from United States tax authorities in offshore accounts and require them to disclose information about United States account holders. Even before the agreement, many banks in Switzerland had started to turn away American
Washington - For the past two years, Republican senators facing re-election have very deliberately spent millions of dollars, hired multiple consultants and cast scores of conservative votes with one goal in mind: avoiding the embarrassing primary conflagrations that befell their party in 2010 and 2012 and cost Republicans a chance at taking back the Senate. It has not worked. Despite their careful efforts, some of the best-known and most influential Republicans in the Senate have been unable to shake threats from the right and have attracted rivals who portray these lawmakers as a central part of
Washington - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outpaced President Obama last year in receiving lavish gifts from foreign leaders. Clinton received gold jewelry worth a half-million dollars from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The State Department said the gift included a necklace bracelet, ring and earrings. The white gold was adorned with teardrop rubies and diamonds. (Snip) Clinton and Obama won´t pocket the swag. Under law, most gifts must go to the National Archives or General Services Administration, unless recipients reimburse the Treasury for them.
Washington - The U.S. Department of Justice´s talks with Microsoft Corp and Google Inc have hit a wall as the government pushes back at the tech companies´ demand for the ability to disclose the now-secret data requests they receive. (Snip) The director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on Thursday pledged to disclose aggregate numbers of FISA orders issued to tech and telecom companies, but the intelligence community has not agreed to allow particular companies to make such disclosures. "FISA and national security letters are an important part of our effort to keep the nation
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is trying to regain credibility with the conservative base by helping Sens. Ted Cruz (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) with their effort to defund Obamacare in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR), but Tea Party activists are still placing pressure on the junior Senator. “Amid a smattering of boos and yells of ‘no amnesty,’ Sen. Marco Rubio waded through a rowdy summer-recess crowd on Friday where he tried to focus more on the push to defund ObamaCare than the ongoing debate over immigration legislation,” Fox News’ Serafin Gomez reports from Orlando’s Americans for Prosperity Summit. During
Aniruddh Chaturvedi came from Mumbai to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn., where he is majoring in computer science. This past summer he interned at a tech company in Silicon Valley. During two years in the U.S., Chaturvedi has been surprised by various aspects of society, as he explained last year in a post on Quora. Chaturvedi offered his latest thoughts on America in an email to Business Insider. The most surprising things about America: Nobody talks about grades here. Everyone is highly private about their accomplishments and failures. Someone´s performance in any field is their performance alone. This is different compared to India where
Yet again, congressional Republicans have backed themselves into a corner by believing the Left’s anti-GOP talking points — this time on Obamacare. “Shutting down the government just because I’m for keeping it open? That’s not an economic plan,” Obama said in Florida last month. “Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable through shutting down the federal government,” Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.) parroted. As Republican senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio keep repeating, though few listen, they aim to shut down nothing. They want a continuing resolution that funds the entire federal government past September 30, except for
We marched against the recent attack on voting rights. We demanded justice in the face of Stand Your Ground laws and racial profiling. We marched to raise awareness on unemployment, poverty, gun violence, immigration, and gay rights. And we called for action on climate change. Chances are, when you think about civil rights, environmental issues aren´t on the radar screen. But stop and think about it. Remember Hurricane Katrina? The hurricane that leveled New Orleans showed that severe weather in low-income neighborhoods and communities of colour is a matter of life and death. The images from the storm are hard to forget:
There is a painfully uncomfortable episode of “Louie” in which the comedian Louis C.K. muses that maybe child molesters wouldn’t kill their victims if the penalty weren’t so severe. Everyone I know who watches the show vividly recalls that scene from 2010 because it conjures such a witches’ cauldron of taboo, disgust and moral outrage, all wrapped around a disturbing kernel of truth. I have similar ambivalence about the case involving former Montana high school teacher Stacey Dean Rambold. Louie concluded his riff with a comment to the effect of “I don’t know what to do with that information.” That
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer predicted on Friday that should President Barack Obama make a misstep when dealing with Syria, he could spark a “major regional war.” In his column published in Friday’s Washington Post, Krauthammer alluded to the “guns of August,” a reference to 1914 and the build-up that led to the start of World War I. That reference was a comparison to the current situation in Middle East involving Syria and a pending U.S. strike over the use of chemical weapons, and how those seemingly isolated events could unfold into something bigger.
Economic Illiteracy: With last week´s one-day strike, fast-food workers sent a clear message: They want the minimum wage raised from $7.25 an hour to $15. But they should be careful what they wish for; they just might get it. It isn´t hard to see what a doubling of the minimum wage would do in an industry that pays out an estimated 70% of revenue to workers: Hundreds of thousands would lose their jobs overnight. The average fast-food employee makes $8.94 an hour, according to the National Employment Law Project. Unions and workers want to boost that to $15 an hour. Fine, except
Intelligence veterans said Friday that the unclassified presentation of the intelligence assessment appeared solid. “This is a pretty strong assessment,” said John McLaughlin, who served as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000 to 2004. “The intelligence community does not say ‘high confidence’ about something unless they have really chewed it over.” Intelligence agencies state their findings in terms of high, medium, or low confidence. Mr. McLaughlin said the term “high confidence” is not “used lightly” particularly since the 2003 Iraq intelligence failure. But he noted that the assessment includes a caveat that “high confidence” falls short of confirmation. He said
Just a generation after the collapse of the Soviet socialist system, a recent Pew poll reports that 49% of Americans 18-29 years old have a positive view of socialism, while only 46% have positive views of capitalism. The ambivalence toward capitalism is due in part to the influence of the information and entertainment class — the mainstream media, Hollywood and the universities — whose biases are entrenched and well known. Their portrayal of the 2008 financial collapse and the shambles of its aftermath — as being caused by greedy Wall Street bankers who got rich by foisting deceptive loan underwriting practices on
For as far back as anyone can remember, Missouri Baptists have gathered on river banks for Sunday afternoon baptisms. The preacher leads the new believers into the water, draped in white robes as a choir sings, “Shall We Gather at the River.” It’s the way it’s been done for generations – baptizing in creeks, lakes, and rivers “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The National Park Service began enforcing a policy recently that required churches to obtain special use permits in order to baptize in public waters.
In the deadly poker game that the great powers are playing over Syria, the British have just folded. Thursday´s vote in the House of Commons has not only damaged Prime Minister David Cameron´s authority, perhaps beyond repair, but forced President Obama to face the prospect of military intervention without the support of America´s staunchest ally. No wonder officials in Washington are making no secret of their fury that for the first time in half a century the Anglo-American "special relationship" has proved unreliable. It was Mr. Cameron who had tried to play the heroic part of Margaret Thatcher by taking the
Syria: The president whose genius was going to talk Islamofascist Iran into submission can´t even get America´s closest ally to help us bomb a WMD-wielding terror state. You don´t follow the ex-leader. In the aftermath of the British Parliament´s stunning refusal to help America attack Syria, ask yourself: would Thatcher have ever refused a Reagan request to help bomb a terrorist regime? Would Blair have refused Bush? "To renew American leadership in the world, I intend to rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security," candidate Obama wrote in a 2007 Foreign Affairs article marveled
With the U.S. poised to attack Syria, debate is raging over what that attack should look like, and what, if anything, the U.S. is capable of accomplishing. Those questions can´t be answered without taking a very close look at the situation in Syria from ground level. Since few journalists are reporting from inside the country, our understanding of the civil war is not only inadequate, but often dangerously inaccurate. Anyone who reads the paper or watches the news has been led to believe that a once peaceful, pro-democracy opposition has transformed over the past two years into a mob of violent
WASHINGTON - You simply can´t safely bomb a chemical weapon storehouse into oblivion, experts say. That´s why they say the United States is probably targeting something other than Syria´s nerve agents. But now there is concern that bombing other sites could accidentally release dangerous chemical weapons that the U.S. military didn´t know were there because they´ve lost track of some of the suspected nerve agents. Bombing stockpiles of chemical weapons - purposely or accidentally - would likely kill nearby civilians in an accidental nerve agent release, create a long-lasting environmental catastrophe or both, five experts told The Associated Press. That´s because
Many of the leaks about U.S. strike plans for Syria, a copious flow of surprisingly specific information on ship dispositions and possible targets, have been authorized as a way for President Obama to signal the limited scope of operations to friends and foes. But a number of leaks have been decidedly unauthorized -- and, according to Obama administration sources, likely emanating from a Pentagon bureaucracy less enthusiastic about the prospect of an attack than, say, the State Department, National Security Council or Obama himself. "Deeply unhelpful," was how one West Winger described the drip-drip of doubt. "They need to shut the f--k up,"