Over the past week, President Barack Obama and his senior advisers have told us that the US is poised to go to war against Syria. In the next few days, the US intends to use its airpower and guided missiles to attack Syria in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus last week. The questions that ought to have been answered before any statements were made by the likes of Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have barely been raised in the public arena. The most important of those questions
Remember when Barack Obama, aka Mr. Flexibility, told Dmitry Medvedev to relay a message to Putin that after the 2012 election he´d be more "flexible"? Since Obama made the "more flexible" promise to Russia via an open mic, he has proven he´s anything but. In fact, he´s become even more stridently autonomous, intractable, and unable to be budged from whatever fool-headed notion he has. Now, with an inflexible amateur at the helm, the rest of the planet waits with the U.S. in nervous anticipation to see whether Barack Obama will be stupid enough to attempt to community-organize the world by single-handedly
Cuestiono la sincronización: A few months ago, Democrats (and Republican amnesty types) seemed to realize that they could make a lot of progress on their version of immigration reform if they didn’t talk about it. Loud, self-righteous campaigning only riled the Republican grass roots. Better to not give them a target, let them be distracted with scandals and other issues while pro-amnesty GOP money men quietly did their work. That trick helped get a “Legalization First” bill through the Senate. Then the Senate bill’s backers shrewdly failed to introduce any amnesty legislation in the House before the August recess–avoiding provoking 2009-style
Multiple reports confirm that White House officials have been meeting with labor leaders this week to address the latter’s concerns over how Obamacare will impact multi-employer health insurance plans, which many unions provide to their members. Union leaders — most of whom applauded the health care law when it was passed — have sounded the alarm in recent weeks over concerns that the structure of Obamacare will severely penalize those plans. They have made several public demands that President Obamas and Congress to find some fix. The administration initially resisted that because most fixes would likely cause Obamacare’s costs to soar even
“Careless” was how Toyoshi Fuketa, commissioner of the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority, reportedly described the inspection quality of hundreds of water tanks at the crippled Fukushima plant following the recent discovery of a serious radioactive spill. China’s Foreign Ministry went further, saying it was “shocking” that radioactive water was still leaking into the Pacific Ocean two years after the Fukushima incident. Both comments are to the point, and although many inside and outside Japan surely did not realize how bad the March 11, 2011 disaster was – and how bad it could get – it seems clear now that we have
Hollywood celebrities were thrilled by Tuesday’s report that the Obama administration is getting back into the venture capital business. Bloomberg News revealed the Energy Department’s plan to pour another $16 billion into the automotive companies most favored by the White House. President Obama doesn’t want anyone to call this corporate welfare, because that’s something he firmly opposes. “I don’t think oil companies need more corporate welfare,” the president explained last year. “Congress should end this taxpayer giveaway.” He loved the line so much he repeated a version of it 17 times in the space of two months, complaining about the $4
Burning Man, the annual arts, culture, and music festival in the Nevada desert, is well underway. This year, as many as 68,000 people were expected to turn out to join the "experimental community," which is completely built from the ground up ever year. Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart captured these stunning aerial images of Black Rock City, the city built by festival participants. (Snip for photo)
Is there room in the pantheon of Roman Catholic saints for a six-foot four-inch, 300-pound mustachioed writer, who loved (possibly in this order) his wife Frances, cigars, a good meal, a stiff drink, his walking stick, his cape and his sombrero, and who produced a prodigious amount of words, including plays, novels, literary and social criticism, poetry, essays, and examinations of faith? Considering the gusto with which G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) approached life, art, and social communication, there may be no more appropriate place to seek the answer to this question than in a Los Angeles neighborhood famed for indulging in
Unappreciative of Western philosophy, members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood probably never heard an analogy first mentioned by Roman statesman Cicero — “putting the cart before the horse!” For more than two millennia, the phrase has applied to situations of misplaced priorities. In the aftermath of the Egyptian military removing from office the country’s fifth — and first democratically elected — president, Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood is gaining an education about the phrase. From its inception in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has been the subject of persecution due to its commitment to a single goal — transitioning the world into
In March 2003, an America-led coalition of 46 countries invaded Iraq to topple the Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein and end his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam’s government fell in a matter of weeks. And yet it was months before coalition forces captured him, weapons stockpiles were never found, and ethno-sectarian violence persisted at horrific levels until 2008. Over the course of the last decade some 4,800 coalition soldiers were killed, many thousands more were wounded, and a hundred-thousand-plus Iraqis lost their lives. The human cost of the Iraq war was high and terrible, and no one wants to
In a written statement handed to the High Court in London, a senior Cabinet Office security adviser said it showed “very poor judgment” by David Miranda and other people associated with him. Senior judges agreed to issue a court order which allows Scotland Yard to continue to examine data from nine electronic devices seized from Mr Miranda on August 18. But the terms of the order were widened so police have specific permission to analyse whether Mr Miranda, and others, have breached the Official Secrets Acts or a section of the Terrorism Act 2000 which make it an offence to possess information
Wyoming Senate hopeful Liz Cheney said bluntly on Friday that she is “not pro-gay marriage.” Cheney, who is mounting a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), made the remark in a statement, which is posted on her website. Her sister, Mary Cheney, is openly gay. “I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage,” she said in the statement. “I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves.” The statement cited reports that Cheney
I n the lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003, more than 100,000 protesters in New York jammed the streets near the United Nations building, where, less than two weeks earlier, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made the case that Iraqi officials were "concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction." On Thursday, a few hundred protesters stood in Times Square to voice their opposition to U.S. military action against Syria. There were no celebrity appearances as in 2003, when Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Susan Sarandon, and Danny Glover gave speeches in the February cold. In Britain, the discrepancy is similar.
Pro-Choice: The Justice Department has asked a federal court to stop 34 school districts in Louisiana from handing out private-school vouchers so kids can escape failing public schools, just like the president´s daughters. He didn´t say it on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King´s "I Have a Dream Speech," but President Obama, along with Attorney General Eric Holder, also has a dream — one of leaving every black child in the Pelican State behind, trapped in schools that cannot educate them. Almost simultaneously with the president´s speech, Holder´s Department of Justice
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