In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon, Secretary of State John Kerry put forth a compelling and at times eloquent argument on behalf of U.S. action in Syria. But as was the case with Kerry’s statements last week that seemed to be the prelude to swift and decisive U.S. action in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, the secretary’s remarks to the committee seemed out of proportion to what the administration seemed to be promising if Congress acceded to the president’s request for an authorization of force. If American credibility is on the line in
Just minutes after 35 jihadists crashed through the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, nearly one year ago, the facility got word to the State Department, FBI and Pentagon that terrorists were attacking, according to a forthcoming book that provides the fullest review of the assault to date. In “Under Fire, the Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi,” it is revealed that an unidentified security official in the Benghazi compound protecting Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens messaged the U.S. embassy in Tripoli: “Benghazi under fire, terrorist attack.” Stevens and three others died that night. Twenty-five minutes after it began, the operation center
America can handle the truth. Even if that truth could include a coverup at the powerful IRS. The IRS mission statement pledges to "enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all." But public scrutiny has revealed details indicating a level of politicization totally at odds with that. Look at the two eye-opening developments that have happened at the IRS since May: An acting IRS commissioner resigned, and another powerful IRS official refused to answer questions before Congress, pleading the Fifth Amendment. Whatever is going on, there is only one way to proceed, and that is a professional and thorough investigation.
A prominent Kentucky Tea Party leader who endorsed the Republican primary challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is a registered Democrat who signed a pledge to support Democratic policies and principles while running for state representative in 2012. Louisville Tea Party President Wendy Caswell announced her support for McConnell’s challenger, Matt Bevin, in a Courier-Journal column last Wednesday. Bevin touted Caswell’s endorsement on his website, and the Hill reported it as a sign Bevin is gaining momentum in the primary race. “I am very grateful for Wendy’s support,” said Bevin. “She has been a staunch advocate for fiscal conservatism in her
He doesn’t know what to do. Of all the issues raised by President Obama’s conduct toward Syria, that is the most worrisome. He’s had a year — a year — to think this through, to consider the options, to consult his advisers, to make plans. And when the moment came, he froze. His decision over the weekend to seek congressional authorization is a sideshow. Yes, it may prove an instructive sideshow, in that it will force legislators out of the peanut gallery and into the arena where high-stakes decisions are truly made; it will create divisions among Republicans and force Democrats
Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no “bee-pocalypse.” There is lots of alarmist talk about colony collapse disorder, people are blaming pesticides and talking about hundreds of billions of dollars at risk. But a closer look tells a very different story. Yes, honeybees are dying in above-average numbers, but the most likely cause is the varroa mite and associated viruses. Moreover, if you look at the actual numbers, they undermine much of the catastrophic rhetoric. In the United States, where we have good data, beekeepers have adapted to CCD. Colony numbers were higher in 2010 than any year since
Mayor Bloomberg filed a lawsuit against City Council to overturn a law passed last month that would make it easier for people to sue after being targeted by the NYPD´s controversial stop-and-frisk program. In papers filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, the mayor´s Law Department says the law, passed over the mayor´s veto last month, "exceeds the bounds of permissible legislation by the Council." The law allows plaintiffs to sue for profiling in state court for injunctive relief only - which means a winning plaintiff could ask the court to mandate that the NYPD change its tactics, but could not
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Tuesday that members of Congress who refused to authorize retaliatory strikes against Syria would be responsible when the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad gasses its citizens or when North Korea or Iran attempts to use nuclear weapons. Opening the administration’s official pitch to Congress for action, Mr. Kerry testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that he didn’t want to rule out the need for the U.S. to deploy troops to the ground in Syria — then backtracked and said if it means winning a vote, they have “no problem” with
Myopic focus on alleged chemical weapons use by the Assad regime in Syria is wrongheaded, as it has been all along. The salient issue is whether the United States should intervene militarily on behalf of enemies of the United States — the “rebel” factions, in which ties to al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood run deep. If chemical weapons use, rather than American national security, is to be our obsession, however, it is worth remembering al Qaeda’s history in that regard. In 1998, the Clinton Justice Department filed its initial indictment against Osama bin Laden for conspiring to carry out mass-damage attacks
BILLINGS, Mont. – A Montana judge under fire for his comments about a 14-year-old victim in a schoolhouse rape case has ordered a new sentencing hearing for the former teacher who received just 30 days in prison for the crime. In setting the hearing for Friday afternoon, District Judge G. Todd Baugh said Tuesday that state law appears to require that a two-year mandatory minimum prison term be imposed against Stacey Rambold, 54, of Billings. Rambold last week was sentenced to 15 years with all but 31 days suspended and a one-day credit for time-served. He began serving his monthlong term last
We’ll start with Pew. The good news for O? Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats and a near majority of independents agree with him that there’s “clear evidence” that Assad used chemical weapons against civilians. (Are they right about that? Hmmmmm.) Of those who do believe the evidence is clear, support for airstrikes is even with opposition at 41 percent apiece. That’s in line with other, older polls showing that public backing for intervening in Syria soars once you introduce WMD into the equation. To the extent O can convince the public that Assad really did gas hundreds of people
While the Republican National Committee brass writes autopsies for the party’s 2012 losses and GOP lawmakers in Congress fight with each other over who´s a true conservative and who´s a wacko bird, a new generation of Republican women is breathing new life into the Grand Old Party. Here, nine GOP women with the potential to revitalize the right. If you haven´t heard of them yet, you will. 1. Susana MartinezIf asked to name a tough, charismatic Republican governor in a blue state, most people might say Gov. Chris Christie. But make that a female Hispanic chief executive with approval ratings
Baton Rouge- Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal found out late on Friday, August 23. Attorney General Eric Holder was suing to block the state’s school voucher program, which aims to give low-income kids in terrible schools the opportunity to attend better public schools and even private schools. The Justice Department claims the two-year-old program could interfere with federal desegregation orders in several Louisiana parishes, holdovers from the Civil Rights era. “This was a complete shock,” Jindal says. “A complete surprise.” Maybe it shouldn’t have been. Liberals have been fighting the Louisiana voucher initiative, officially called a “scholarship” program, from the beginning. “The teacher unions
The son of an American missionary imprisoned in North Korea is hoping that Dennis Rodman can perform a "miracle" and help bring his father home. "North Korea is a crazy place and anything is possible, even Dennis Rodman rescuing my father," said Jonathan Bae, the son of Kenneth Bae, who was last year was sentenced to 15 years hard labor after being accused of committing hostile acts against the state. Jonathan Bae conceded that it was unlikely Rodman, a flamboyant former professional basketball player, would leave Pyongyang with his father in tow, but after failed attempts through official channels it
SAN FRANCISCO — Sergio Garcia arrived in the U.S. illegally 20 years ago to pick almonds in the field with his father. But that was not all he wanted for his life. Working the fields and at a grocery store, he attended community college, studying to become a paralegal, and passed the California bar on the first try, a boast Gov. Jerry Brown, former Gov. Peter Wilson and nearly 50 percent of all first-time test takers can´t make. Now, still living in the U.S. illegally, he will ask the California Supreme Court on Wednesday to license him. He has the support of
A proposed $8.7 million TV advertising campaign to promote ObamaCare in the lead-up to a key launch date is being targeted by Sen. Marco Rubio, who calls the effort a “blatant misuse of federal dollars.” The Florida Republican said Tuesday that such spending is “unconscionable,” considering the uncertainty of the law and urged the Department of Health and Human Services to halt the spending. “Until critical questions can be answered regarding the availability and type of health insurance to be provided by ObamaCare, it is unconscionable to spend taxpayer dollars to promote and advertise ObamaCare plans that have yet to
Ariel Castro, the man sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the abductions of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, is dead. Castro was found hanging in his cell at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, south of Columbus, said JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He was housed in protective custody, which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes, Smith said. She had no other details about how he was hanging when he was found.
Chicago - A federal judge in a Chicago terrorism case has undone a key ruling where she found the government need not divulge whether its investigation relied on expanded phone and Internet surveillance programs — opening the sensitive issue back up to debate. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman took the rare step over the weekend of vacating that initial finding days after siding with government attorneys prosecuting Adel Daoud, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen accused of trying to ignite what he thought was a bomb next to a downtown Chicago bar last year.
Washington - An independent review panel has concluded that with American embassies and consulates facing an increasing threat of terrorist attacks, the State Department office overseeing diplomatic security is mired in the agency’s sprawling bureaucracy and must be elevated in importance. A separate, broader inquiry last December into the attack on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans last Sept. 11 blamed the diplomatic security bureau and another State Department office as failing to coordinate and plan adequate security. That inquiry also found that several
With up to 50 per cent of ordinary Americans still opposed to possible American strikes on Syria, US servicemen have turned to social media to voice their objection. As Congress debates the pros and cons of an attack - with a resolution expected perhaps as early as tomorrow - US service personnel have posted images of themselves holding signs which speak of their opposition to intervention. The reason for their opposition goes back to the 10 point Syria explainer we ran last week. In that background summary of the civil war, we explained this isn´t a case of the brave,
Cairo - The two-month-old Egyptian government on Tuesday stepped up its use of swift military trials to lock up Islamist supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, while an administrative court banned four satellite networks considered sympathetic to them, including an Egyptian affiliate of Al Jazeera. Although the government has promised a prompt return to inclusive democracy and the rule of law, the military trials and network closings extended its use of authoritarian tactics as it widens its crackdown on Morsi supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood. On Tuesday, a military court in Suez
Stockholm - President Barack Obama is seeking to use a 24-hour visit to this Swedish capital to show a softer side of American diplomacy even as the world´s gaze remains fixed anxiously on Syria. He intends to focus in the Nordic nation on climate change, trade and technology, a trio of issues on which there is broad consensus with European allies. The topics are a marked departure from the thorny, pressing matters he´s facing back home on national security and the economy. He also plans to pay homage to a Holocaust-era hero whose name is commemorated on street signs from
Moscow - Russia does not rule out agreeing to a military operation in Syria, provided Damascus´ responsibility for using chemical weapons is proved - but only with United Nations approval, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. In an interview with the Associated Press and Russia´s state TV network channel 1, the Russian president stressed that Russia needs "clear proof" as to who used chemical weapons in Syria, and that once it has this, "Moscow is prepared to act decisively." President Putin also confirmed that Russia has supplied components for the S-300 to Syria,
Western troops may have to remain in Afghanistan for another five years because local troops are losing too many men in battle, a Nato commander claims. Deaths have regularly topped 100 a week and monthly tolls are no longer published by Afghan ministers for fear of damaging morale, said US General Joseph Dunford. He now fears it may have been ‘premature’ for Nato to end combat operations this spring and said it may have to offer a supporting role after 2014 – when Western troops were scheduled to pull out. ‘I view it as serious, and so do all the commanders,’ he said.