President Obama on Wednesday defended the National Security Agency´s surveillance at home, responding to a question from a reporter in Sweden, where the public has voiced concerns about the program. "I can give assurances to the publics in Europe and around the world that we´re not going around snooping at people´s e-mails or listening to their phone calls," he said at a press conference in Stockholm. "What we try to do is target very specifically areas of concern."(Snip) Moving forward, there may be a need for tighter restrictions in U.S. law, Obama said. "As technology advances and capabilities grow, it may
The National Rifle Association (NRA) joined the American Civil Liberties Union´s (ACLU) lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) Wednesday, claiming the federal agency´s "database of phone numbers amounts to ´a national gun registry.´" According to The Hill, the NSA "acknowledged that it collects records on virtually all U.S. phone calls." The NRA and ACLU see tyranny in this. Because Section 215 of the Patriot Act is understood to allow the NSA to collect records that are considered "relevant" to terrorism, the NRA fears the surveillance program is especially being used to listen to calls to gun stores, shooting ranges, and
What kind of a president could reportedly sleep when four courageous Americans were being slaughtered in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya—but within a week of the first anniversary of the tragedy send the U.S. military to fight side by side with al-Qaeda in Syria? What kind of president could play 15 rounds of Spades while the Seal Team 6 sent by him was taking out Osama bin Laden? What kind of president would allow his Secretary of State to announce to the world that Saudi Arabia would be willing to finance the U.S. attack on Syria? John Kerry could
Obama´s choice of John Kerry to lead the charge for war against Syria demonstrates once again just what a tin ear this administration has. When you have a hard sell from the get-go, it helps to have a credible spokesman. Has every member of the president´s inner circle forgotten the 2004 election and how John Kerry was shown by former members of his naval unit in Vietnam to have huge credibility issues regarding his own war record and his untruthful testimony before Congress about American atrocities in Vietnam? Have they never considered that the reason John Kerry never followed through
The letters and photos were beyond value -- some of the mementos Joe Quinn still had to remember his older brother Jimmy, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Now they are gone, sullied by floodwaters and charred by fires that tore through the Queens community of Breezy Point last October during Superstorm Sandy. From photos and letters to coffin liners and actual memorials, scores of families from Breezy Point and Rockaway -- two Queens beachside neighborhoods hit particularly hard by both events -- lost cherished reminders of loved ones taken by one tragedy that were then swept
St Petersburg, Russia- Europe´s top officials warned against a military response in Syria on Thursday, aligning themselves more closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin than President Barack Obama in how best to respond to the chemical attack in the Syrian civil war. While describing the Aug. 21 attack near Damascus, in which an estimated 1,400 people died, as "abhorrent" and a crime against humanity, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said a military strike would not help resolve the crisis. "There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict," Van Rompuy told reporters ahead of a summit
President Obama landed in Russia on Thursday for this week´s G20 summit, but will be busy on the sidelines trying to make the case to his prickly Kremlin counterpart to ease off supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria ahead of possible military strikes by the U.S. Obama landed in St. Petersburg on Thursday morning, one day after admitting that U.S.-Russian relations have "hit a wall." However, Obama later added that he´d continue to press Russian President Vladimir Putin despite the latter´s continuing resistance to any kind of action against Assad. "It is not possible for Mr. Assad to
CROWN, Minn.- Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., battling cancer, has entered hospice care at his home in Crown, Minn., a family spokesman said. Minnesota GOP activist Ken Kaiser said Grams, 65, was diagnosed with cancer in April 2012 and entered hospice care "within the past couple of weeks," Roll Call reported Wednesday. "He´s still very upbeat, still gets around the house and still has company coming over" to visit him and his wife on the family farm where he grew up, Kaiser said. Grams is "still pretty good, very tired though," Kaiser said, and recently decided to suspend chemotherapy.
NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia--In an interview with The Associated Press and Russia´s state Channel 1 television, President Vladimir Putin discussed a wide range of issues, including disputes over the Syrian civil war, his relations with President Barack Obama, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and the rights of gays in Russia. Here are 10 interesting things he said in the interview late Tuesday. 1. CHEMICAL WEAPONS VIDEOS DON´T PROVE SYRIA´S GOVERNMENT IS GUILTY [Snip] "These pictures do not answer the questions I have just posed. There is an opinion that it´s a compilation by these very rebels, who are connected with al-Qaida
President Obama’s liberal activist base is adamantly opposed to military strikes in Syria, according to a new survey the Progressive Change Campaign Committee released Wednesday. PCCC says more than 57,000 of its activists weighed in, and 73 percent of them opposed the U.S. taking action in Syria. Just 18 percent supported strikes, and just 14 percent said the U.S. should go ahead unilaterally if it can’t find any allies. Indeed, a majority of the activists don’t believe Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry are being honest when they lay out their justifications for taking military action. Four
Less than a month ago, Jazz Shaw wondered whether Client #9 could be stopped. Eliot Spitzer had a 17-point lead over Scott Stringer in the New York City Democratic primary race for comptroller and presumably a clear path to a political comeback. In just three weeks, though, his nineteen-point lead over Stringer (56/37) in the Quinnipiac poll series has flipped to a 45/47 deficit — a change of 21 points in the gap in nearly as many days: The Democratic primary for New York City Comptroller is too close to call, with 47 percent of likely primary voters for Manhattan
U.S. forces in the Middle East tasked with carrying out military action against Syria were ready to go this past weekend and were caught off guard by President Barack Obama´s decision to first seek congressional approval. Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean equipped with cruise missiles had ramped up operations from the previous week, thinking they would be ordered to launch a strike as early as Saturday. "I thought that was the night," a Defense Department official told CNN. "We were standing multiple watches. Everyone was pretty sure it was going to happen," the official added. He said the sudden change in direction from
Popular and widely read Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd published the above picture today portraying U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama as Satan himself. The unflattering picture has been making the rounds on Facebook in the Middle East and, according to Al Wafd, is representative of the hatred growing numbers of people in the region have for the American president, thanks to his staunch and unwavering support for Islamists and jihadiis — whether in Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, or Syria — even as they terrorize, murder, rape, and burn down Christian churches, that is, even as they engage in diabolical activities.
The federal government paid more than $74.6 billion last year to provide 46.6 millions Americans with food stamps. This is an astonishing increase, even for this era of rapidly rising federal spending. Four years earlier the comparable figures were $34.6 billion in benefits for 28.2 million recipients. Thus the impetus behind majority leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) effort to reform food stamps (aka the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the House this fall. Food stamps have been part of the farm bill for almost an entire half-century. But House Republicans stripped the food stamp program out when they passed the farm
President Obama is struggling to convince lawmakers, foreign leaders and the public that military action in Syria isn’t about him. Opponents of a military intervention in Syria say the president is trying to save face after declaring the use of chemical weapons a “red line” that should not be crossed. The idea that Obama’s motives are political is taking hold on both the left and right, underscoring the challenge he faces in securing support for a risky military venture abroad. “It sounds to me like saving face because he has made a promise, so he is going to follow through
A former soldier has gone from downing pints with the lads - to having a sex change and converting to Islam. Lucy Vallender, 28, said she is finally being "true to herself" after becoming Britain´s first transgender Muslim. Defiant Lucy - who used to be a TA private called Laurens - has become the second wife of a devout Muslim. Lucy, who used to live in Cirencester, wed her online sweetheart without telling him she used to be a man. Now she prays five times a day and wears a full burkha and spends hours deep in study of the
WASHINGTON--Secretary of State John Kerry´s public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.(Snip)While the radical Islamists among the rebels may not be numerically superior to more moderate fighters, they say, Islamist groups like the al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front are better organized, armed and trained. Kerry´s remarks represented a change in tone by the Obama administration, which for more than two years has been wary of sending U.S. arms to
Lesbian couple claim Church of England vicar refused to baptise baby after they both insisted on being registered as the mother. Aimi Leggett, 25, and civil partner Victoria, 22, had planned to have one-year-old son Alfie christened at St Mary´s Church, Gosport, Hants, in two weeks. However, when both women asked to be listed as the mother in a meeting with Reverend George Gebauer he said the church baptism register would not allow it. He suggested one be registered as the mother while the other be put down as the Godmother instead.
When she left the White House the other day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shared with reporters her conversation with her five-year old grandson. She recounted how he asked her whether she supported “war” in Syria. Before telling the rest of the story, she paused to note to the assembled journalists the precocious tike’s overly aggressive and politically incorrect language. “Now, he’s five years old … and he’s saying ‘war,’” she explained. “I mean, we’re not talking about war, we’re talking about an action here.”From the mouth of babes. The child has a better grasp of the connection between words and
You probably could have anticipated this. When President Obama gets in trouble, he either has no idea about the wrongdoing (think IRS, FBI). Or it was someone else´s fault. (You-know-who from Texas.) Now, we know that the red line statement Obama made as president 381 days ago about how any Syrian use of chemical weapons "would change my calculus" wasn´t really Obama´s fault. According to Obama, although it looked just like the American president standing at the little podium with no teleprompter in the White House Briefing Room, that modest man was actually speaking on behalf of the entire world.
Those looking for good news by reading the morning paper or cruising the Internet must be focused and not easily discouraged. It’s no job for the feckless among us. But news last week that Vin Scully plans to return in 2014 for his 65th year of broadcasting Dodgers games (first of the Brooklyn then the Los Angeles kind) qualifies as good, maybe even great news. This boon will most benefit Angelinos, who will once again have Vin’s soothing voice to perfume Southern California nights and turn accounts of baseball games into poetry and the pleasure they are meant to be. But
US President Barack Obama will ask Moscow what happened to Swedish Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg after he was taken into Soviet custody and disappeared in 1945, Wallenberg´s family told Swedish media. Wallenberg was posted as a Swedish diplomat to Nazi-occupied Budapest in July 1944 and rescued tens of thousands of Jews by issuing them protective passports in the final months of the Holocaust.
BERLIN — Russia has released a 100-page report detailing what it says is evidence that Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, were behind a deadly sarin gas attack in an Aleppo suburb earlier this year. The report, which includes numerous tables and charts said to chronicle the scientific analysis of samples reportedly taken from the site of the attack, was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website late Wednesday. Russian officials said the report had been delivered to the United Nations in July. Russia said its investigation of the March 19 incident was conducted under strict protocols established
Far from being a meeting of the world´s most powerful leaders, the G20 summit in St Petersburg is taking on the appearance of a juvenile parlour game in which you have to guess which leaders are not talking to each other. Topping the list is Barack Obama, who is in a huff with Russian President Vladimir Putin for granting political asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Despite the urgency of the crisis over Syria, where the Russians and Americans badly need to patch up their differences over how to deal with the Assad regime, Mr Obama has cancelled his scheduled
An entire Swedish motorway was shut down to make way for President Obama´s massive entourage on Wednesday when the American leader visited Stockholm. A whopping total of 27 cars and eight police on motorcycles led the way for Mr Obama as he and his crew arrived at Arlanda Airport and headed to Stockholm City. While the end of the motorcade included a number of high-occupancy vehicles, there was one very special people mover in the row: the Beast. The President´s personal limousine blends right in amid the long line of black cars, but it is certainly there as there is
The bizarre circular patches of bare land called "fairy circles" in the grasslands of Africa´s Namib Desert have defied explanation, with hypotheses ranging from ants to termites to grass-killing gas that seeps out of the soil. But the patches may be the natural result of the subsurface competition for resources among plants, new research suggests. Grasslands in the Namib Desert start off homogenous, but sparse rainfall and nutrient-poor soil spark intense competition between the grasses, according to the new theory. Strong grasses sap all of the water and nutrients from the soil, causing their weaker neighbors to die and a