Let’s take a closer look at Obama’s buck-passing statement in answer to the question of whether a strike against Syria is necessary in order to preserve his credibility after setting a red line: Let me unpack the question. First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress
That’s what Think Progress says as of 4:30 p.m. ET. The big caveat: Many of the yays and nays aren’t firm. TP’s trying to divine intent from casual statements made by House members about how they’re likely to vote, which is especially dicey in the case of Democrats who might be whipped by the White House and Pelosi later to come through for O in a pinch. If the tally’s right, though, then opponents of intervention are already within 50 votes of winning with more than 200 representatives (and nearly 100 Republicans) still undecided. Time to panic in the West
A civilian lawyer who represented Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the murders of 13 people and who fought to wear a beard during his trial in keeping with his Muslim faith, said he plans to sue the military after his client was forcibly shaved upon arrival at the military brig in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. "Forcibly shaving him after a military council approved the beard for the duration of the trial smacks of retaliation by Army officials. This was a vindictive act," Hasan´s former civilian lawyer John Galligan told ABCNews.com on Wednesday. No recent photos of Hasan have been
CLEVELAND -- Ohio´s prison system is reviewing how Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro - perhaps the most notorious figure behind bars in the state - managed to hang himself with a bedsheet while in protective custody. Castro was a month into his life sentence for holding three women captive in his home for a decade when he committed suicide Tuesday night. Protective custody involves checks every 30 minutes. Ohio prisons director Gary Mohr ordered two reviews Wednesday, less than a day after Castro was found in his cell and medical responders were unable to revive him.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — President Barack Obama is heading into the lion´s den of Russia, confronting Syria´s key patron as well as foreign leaders skeptical of his call for an international military strike against Bashar Assad´s government. Obama on Thursday begins a two-day visit to St. Petersburg for the Group of 20 economic summit, putting him in the same country as Edward Snowden for the first time since the American fugitive fled to Moscow earlier this year. Both Syria and Snowden have been sore points in an already strained U.S.-Russian relationship, fueling the notion that Obama and Russian President Vladimir
CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Clearlake resident Bill Morgan took a different kind of vacation this year. Instead of packing a suitcase and heading for the Mendocino Coast, Las Vegas or some other destination that comes to mind for a sexagenarian, the 62-year-old Morgan took a trip that would make most 20-somethings cringe: An 800-mile walk from Sonoma to San Diego along El Camino Real while visiting the California Missions.
It´s no secret that the right is going through what some call a healthy debate and what others see as an identity crisis. For some, the solution to what ails it requires a sudden philosophical shift leftward to win back the last Rockefeller Republicans, presumably hanging on in nursing homes like stranded Japanese fighters who haven´t heard World War II is over. Others argue that Republicans must shake off the heresies of moderation and compromise and accept the unalloyed true faith of 100% conservatism. Those are hardly the only choices, of course. Some make a very good case for fighting fire with
It´s the Golden State´s latest version of the Great Secession. Fed up by Sacramento´s regulations and Southern California´s political sway, residents in one rural Northern California county are taking steps to leave the state. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted, 4-1, on Tuesday to pursue seceding from California, the Redding Record Searchlight reported. Proponents say Siskiyou should form a new state -- called Jefferson -- with other counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon they believe share similar interests.
Washington - The U.S. government faces billions of dollars in potential costs if it decides to cancel foreign military aid to Egypt, a senior Pentagon official told Reuters on Wednesday. (Snip) Washington has already halted deliveries of four F-16 fighters built by Lockheed Martin Corp, and must decide soon on several other large weapons shipments, according to U.S. government officials. Some smaller items covered by the foreign military assistance have been allowed to proceed. Funding for the weapons sales must be finalized or "obligated" by September 30, when the U.S. government´s 2013
Thousands of Walmart employees around the country will hold a massive strike on Thursday, demanding higher wages, the right to unionize and the rehiring of more than 70 employees fired for striking earlier in the summer. The strike is being organized by a group called "OUR Walmart," according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It comes on heels of last week´s strike by fast food workers with similar demands. A post on OUR Walmart´s Facebook page reads, "Walmart, it´s time to reinstate Associates who have been unjustly fired. We´re ready to stand up until this happens and we,
New York - The National Rifle Association said on Wednesday it supports a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups to strike down the U.S. government´s broad telephone surveillance program, citing potential violations of gun owners´ privacy rights. (Snip) The surveillance potentially provides "the government not only with the means of identifying members and others who communicate with the NRA," the brief said, "but also with the means of identifying gun owners without their knowledge or consent." The NSA referred questions to the U.S. Justice Department, which declined to comment.
Chattanooga, Tenn. - The prospect of the United Auto Workers (UAW) gaining a new foothold at Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee worries some Southern Republicans, who say laws banning mandatory union membership have helped lure foreign automakers. But Volkswagen faces pressure from labor interests on its supervisory board to grant workers a stronger voice at the plant. And Handelsblatt, a German business newspaper, reported Monday that UAW President Bob King and five other officials discussed the Tennessee plant with the company’s employee-relations chief last week at VW’s
Washington - Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) announced an order for Airbus jets on Wednesday worth almost $6 billion at list prices, softening its reliance on Boeing for the first time in two decades as it looks for plane bargains. The order, crowning a months-long competition between the transatlantic plane-making rivals, includes 30 A321 narrowbody planes to be used on domestic flying as well as 10 A330-300 widebody aircraft for international routes. Deliveries will be between 2015 and 2017. The list price for the deal is $5.6 billion, but analysts said Delta may have won a steep discount
Anchorage, Alaska - For the honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, a weekend dogfight was less political, more literal. Mayor Stubbs the cat is recovering at a veterinarian´s office in Wasilla after being injured by a dog Saturday night in the quirky tourist town near Denali National Park. Owner Lauri Stec tells KTUU that Stubbs suffered a fractured sternum and a punctured lung, and already has undergone three hours of surgery. Stec is planning to file a police report. She says the would-be assassin "needs to go away." Residents didn't like the mayoral candidates years ago, so they encouraged enough
From gross to gourmet. That pretty much sums up civet poop coffee. The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal´s digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee. The exotic processing makes the coffee, called Kopi Luwak, exceptionally rare — and expensive: Think . And thus, experts suspect that much of what´s sold as civet coffee on the market is actually either or made from low-grade beans. Now biotechnologists in Japan have the first chemical test to
Anti-war protesters are objecting to military action in Syria, but their efforts pale compared to the crowds that came out against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women’s anti-war group Code Pink, blames the Democrats, “We’ve been protesting Obama’s foreign policy for years now, but we can’t get the same numbers because the people who would’ve been yelling and screaming about this stuff under Bush are quiet under Obama,” she said. Code Pink has seen a decrease in membership and, as a result, isn’t able to plan as many events across the country. Ms.
Shock, outrage and mocking criticism is building among conservatives — and those of other political stripes who put the White House and its possessions on a historical pedestal – over a photograph showing President Obama in an informal pose, with his foot on his Oval Office desk. The desk hails back from 1880, a gift from Britain’s Queen Victoria. And even its construction is special: It was built with wood from the sunken Arctic Rescue Ship, the HMS Resolute. But to Mr. Obama, it’s a good place to rest his feet, as The Daily Mail reported. He’s been snapped in
Washington - The Obama administration on Wednesday escalated its effort to dismantle federal barriers to same-sex marriages, announcing that the Department of Veterans Affairs would immediately begin providing spousal benefits to gay men and lesbians despite a federal statute that limits such benefits to veterans’ spouses who are “of the opposite sex.” (Snip) “Decisions by the Executive not to enforce federal laws are appropriately rare,” Mr. Holder wrote. “Nevertheless, for the reasons described below, the unique circumstances presented here warrant nonenforcement.”
Last month’s alleged chemical attack near Damascus has refocused attention on Syria’s 30-year-old biological weapons research and raised concerns about whether the government there could activate an effort to make a weapon. Syria’s bioweapons program, which U.S. officials believe has been largely dormant since the 1980s, is likely to possess the key ingredients for a weapon, including a collection of lethal bacteria and viruses as well as the modern equipment needed to covert them into deadly powders and aerosols, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials and weapons experts. This latent capability has begun to worry some of Syria’s neighbors,
David Cameron and Barack Obama will not hold a formal meeting at a summit in Russia this week, in what some people suggested was a snub because of the Prime Minister’s handling of the Syrian crisis. By contrast, the US president will use the G20 summit in St Petersburg to hold formal bilateral meetings with leaders including President François Hollande of France, who is still considering backing the US in attacking Syria over the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Mr Cameron had urged Mr Obama to attack Syria, but last week failed to persuade the House of Commons
Most presidents, having presided over the Syrian debacle, would be chastened. But not the Great and Mighty Obama. He’s decided to begin to rewrite history so that he emerges as the hero. Consider what Mr. Obama, in Stockholm earlier today, said in response to a question about Syria: First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war.
My colleague Ron Radosh does a fine job of laying out a case for conservatives to support President Obama’s drive for military strikes on Syria. Radosh draws from his considerable knowledge of history, focusing in on the dangers of “isolationism,” to make his case that isolationism both left and right should be rejected and the president should be supported. Radosh joins the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens in making this case. Today, as Bret Stephens pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, isolationism seems to be rearing its ugly head, although he writes, “Most Republicans don’t want to become, again,
WASHINGTON — Last January, Al Gore took a boatload of scientists, donors, and celebrities to Antarctica to talk about climate change. Richard Branson, James Cameron, Ted Turner, Tom Brokaw, and Tommy Lee Jones joined more than 100 other paying guests — Gore’s handpicked best and brightest — on the National Geographic Explorer, an ice-class 367-foot cruise ship, to see “up close and personal” the effects of a warming planet, courtesy of the former vice president’s environmental nonprofit, the Climate Reality Project. [Snip] Back in the more populated areas of the world, climate change activists snickered. The trip, and the Climate
Securing Syria´s chemical weapons stockpiles and the facilities that produced them would likely require the U.S. to send more than 75,000 ground troops into the Middle Eastern country, MailOnline learned Wednesday. That estimate comes from a secret memorandum the U.S. Department of Defense prepared for President Obama in early 2012. U.S. Central Command arrived at the figure of 75,000 ground troops as part of a written series of military options for dealing with Bashar al-Assad more than 18 months ago, long before the U.S. confirmed internally that the Syrian dictator was using the weapons against rebel factions within his borders. ´The report exists,
WASHINGTON – You 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. Now, however, there is concern that bombing other sites could accidentally release dangerous chemical weapons that the U.S. military did not know were there because they’ve lost track of some of the suspected nerve agents. Bombing stockpiles of chemical weapons — purposely or accidentally — will likely kill nearby civilians in an accidental nerve agent release, create a long-lasting environmental catastrophe or both, experts said. That’s because under ideal conditions — and
Washington is weighing expanding support for Syrian rebels by having the Pentagon take charge of arming the opposition instead of a clandestine effort by the CIA, officials said Wednesday. "It´s under consideration," said a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If and how (it would be done) are both questions being discussed," the official told AFP. The Wall Street Journal first reported the possible change on Wednesday. After concluding in June that the Syrian regime used sarin gas in a small-scale attack, President Barack Obama´s administration decided to start supplying weapons to the rebels through the Central Intelligence Agency. But after another alleged