Internet pioneer Matt Drudge may have had enough of the Republican Party. Though known to needle the GOP and its leaders from time to time, the founder of Drudge Report let loose over the party´s direction on Twitter this week. Asking why anyone would vote Republican, Drudge listed his grievances: "Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!" His tweets referred to Republican leaders, like House Speaker John Boehner, getting behind the president´s military-strike push in Syria and other positions. But Drudge´s comments also touched on the broader internal fight in the party. Or as Drudge put
Vice President Joe Biden hosted a late-afternoon briefing on Syria with a small set of House and Senate members in the White House Situation Room Thursday, according to a White House official. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, who has taken an increasingly high profile during the Syria debate, joined Biden in briefing lawmakers. Attendees included Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), according to a photo of the meeting distributed by the White House. With Congress threatening to vote down President Barack Obama’s request for formal authorization to launch reprisal strikes in Syria, the administration has
If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big. That’s the private assessment of House Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides who are closely involved in the process. If the Senate passes a use-of-force resolution next week — which is no sure thing — the current dynamics suggest that the House would defeat it. That would represent a dramatic failure for Obama, and once again prove that his sway over Congress is extraordinarily limited. The loss would have serious reverberations throughout the next three months, when Obama faces off against Congress
Three Russian warships crossed Turkey´s Bosphorus Strait Thursday en route to the eastern Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, amid concern in the region over potential US-led strikes in response to the Damascus regime´s alleged use of chemical weapons. The SSV-201 intelligence ship Priazovye, accompanied by the two landing ships Minsk and Novocherkassk passed through the Bosphorus known as the Istanbul strait that separates Asia from Europe, an AFP photographer reported. The Priazovye on Sunday started its voyage from its home port of Sevastopol in Ukraine "to the appointed region of military service in the eastern Mediterranean", a military official told
Louisiana has emerged as America´s most corrupt state with the highest rate of convictions for people in public office, official figures revealed this week. The Southern state came top for public corruption convictions with nine per 100,000 population. Overall Louisiana convicted 403 public officials in the past ten years. The data was compiled by the Justice Department, covering the period from 2002 until 2011. [Snip] The lowest conviction rates for public corruption are South Carolina, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah--with 1 per 100,000 population. Corrupt public figures in Louisiana have littered the headlines in the past few years.
Nancy Pelosi waxed rhapsodic in 2010 as she imagined the benefits of Obamacare: “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.” Well, that was the economy we used to have. But as Obamacare begins to kick in, artists, photographers, writers, and other members of the “creative class” who have access to health insurance programs through numerous professional organizations will lose that coverage. Up until now professional organizations have worked with insurance providers to craft reduced-rate plans for their members. But
While President Obama is conferring with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, current and retired senior American intelligence officials fear he is blind to a growing threat from a resurgent Russia. These officials say that Moscow continues to probe America´s skies and seas with bombers and submarines, both to assert itself and to see just how far Russia can push Obama. In June 2012, Russian strategic nuclear bombers broke protocol and conducted maneuvers in the Arctic without alerting the U.S. A month later a Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bomber, capable of carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles,
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia—French President François Hollande pressed European leaders attending the Group of 20 summit here to support a statement denouncing the Syrian regime, but divisions remained and Russian resistance persisted. "It´s really important that the Europeans here at the G-20 are on the same page in condemning the use of chemical arms and condemning the regime that used them," said the French leader, who has been the lone Western ally supporting U.S. President Barack Obama´s push for military action in Syria. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said G-20 leaders at the two-day summit here were divided over whether to back
Wednesday´s 10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee supporting an authorization of military attacks on Syria may have been affected by varying levels of financial support the senators got from political action committees representing the defense industry, and from the companies´ employees. On average, a ´yes´-voting senator received 83 percent more money from defense contractors than one who voted ´no.´ [Snip] The resolution would not authorize the deployment of ground forces, but MailOnline reported Wednesday that the Pentagon has already estimated the need for 75,000 troops to secure Syria´s vast supplies of chemical weapons and the factories that produce
We have a problem. The president proposes attacking Syria, and his top military officer can´t tell you the objective. Does the commander in chief know his own objective? Why, yes. "A shot across the bow," explained Barack Obama. Now, a shot across the bow is a warning. Its purpose is to say: Cease and desist, or the next shot will sink you. But Obama has already told the world — and Bashar Assad in particular — that there will be no next shot. He has insisted time and again that the operation will be finite and highly limited. Take the shot,
The White House and its Democratic allies pressed Thursday to win Senate approval of a measure authorizing limited military strikes against Syria, with President Barack Obama making calls to senators from abroad and party leaders starting a formal head count to size up Democratic support. The White House said that Mr. Obama, while in Sweden in advance of this week´s Group of 20 summit, called five senators about the Syria resolution. And it announced he had cancelled a trip to California next week so he could focus on Syria. Mr. Obama has said he wants to "degrade" Syria´s military capabilities after concluding
Commenting on my column last month ("Today´s ´Useful Idiots´ Are Just Like Those In USSR" — Aug. 6), a reader lamented: "Authors writing about socialism need to know what socialism is. The author of this article would rather just go into a tirade about the problems in our country ... and automatically jump to the conclusion the problem is socialism. Huh? What? Where is the socialism you´re talking about?" An old Soviet joke goes as follows: "A Soviet and an America journalist argued about whose society is freer. The American declared, ´I can stand in front of the White House and yell
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who on Saturday said he supported President Obama’s decision to launch military action in Syria, has changed his mind. In a statement Thursday, Grimm says the window for action has now passed and that the feedback from his constituents has made him re-think his previous position. “Thus, after much thought, deliberation and prayer, I am no longer convinced that a U.S. strike on Syria will yield a benefit to the United States that will not be greatly outweighed by the extreme cost of war,” Grimm said. Grimm added: “Now that the Assad regime has seen our
Syrian Crisis: President Obama asks Congress to save him from his own mess on America´s stance toward a terrorist state. Has he given one credible reason why the egg should be on members´ faces too? The liberal Think Progress blog´s count Thursday found nearly 200 congressmen leaning against Obama´s request to approve a strike on Syria, and fewer than 50 leaning in favor. It called this "a drastic change that has occurred literally overnight." But with the president using the bully pulpit to make the case for this supposed national security priority, how can this be? The last straw for our self-important elected
With U.S. diplomats secretly talking with their Russian counterparts behind the scenes at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in hopes of avoiding a stalemate over Syria, publicly Moscow warned that a military strike on Syria could have catastrophic effects if a missile hit a small reactor near Damascus that contains radioactive uranium. But a U.S. official attached to the United Nations delegation told MailOnline that while Obama´s admission on Wednesday that U.S.-Russia relations have ´hit a wall,´ the president´s team is overreaching with an ambitious proposal that has no chance of success.
The most powerful men and women in the world tonight sat down for dinner in the luxurious surroundings of the Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg. The luxurious setting and the seemingly civil ambience belies the simmering tensions and rivalry that have dogged the G20 summit in Russia as nations clash, Cold War-style, over the civil war tearing through Syria. [Snip] Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama said he was convinced that the chemical attack in Damascus last month was the work of the Syrian government and claims the world must intervene to prevent further attacks and uphold the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Watsonville - A 31-year-old Watsonville woman was arrested after she was found swinging a dead rabbit around, Santa Cruz County sheriff´s deputies reported Monday. Around 9 a.m. Sunday, Rocio Camberos was seen walking on Coward Road near Riverside Drive carrying a dead rabbit, deputy Ryan Kennedy said. When Camberos confronted a person with the rabbit, the person reported the confrontation. Deputies arrived and found her swinging the carcass over her head in a helicopter motion, Kennedy said. It wasn't likely Camberos killed the rabbit herself, Kennedy said.
Famed Dodgers play-by-play broadcaster Vin Scully will be the grand marshal of the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena, officials announced Thursday. Appearing in front of the Tournament of Roses House, Scully -- who recently announced plans to call games for the Dodgers for a record 65th season -- said he was honored to be chosen. “All my life I’ve been enamored with the roar of the crowd,” he said. Scully, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame broacasters´ wing in 1982, will be leading the 125th Rose Parade through Pasadena on Jan. 1 in front of a worldwide
Kenyan MPs have approved a motion to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) following an emergency debate. [Snip] The ICC has charged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto with crimes against humanity, which they both deny. Mr Ruto´s trial is due to start in The Hague next week. The ICC said the cases would continue even if Kenya pulled out. The charges against both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto stem from violence that broke out after disputed elections in 2007, in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 forced from their homes.
The UK has fresh evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Damascus, David Cameron has told the BBC as he arrives in Russia for the G20 summit. Scientists at the Porton Down laboratories have been "examining samples" from Syria´s capital, he said. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed reports that UK scientists found traces of sarin gas on cloth and soil samples. Mr Cameron also denied claims he had "no hand to play" over Syria after his Commons defeat on UK military action. He said the UK would lead calls for more action on aid for refugees and push
A generation from now, Americans will be richer, more leisured, healthier and longer-lived than ever. That sentence could have been written at any time since the Mayflower landed (at least of the settlers; it was a different story for the indigenous tribes). It would always have prompted scepticism; and it would always have been true. These days, it is a sentiment we rarely hear, which is all the more reason to pay attention when we do. In America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the Twenty-First Century, James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus begin by conjuring a cheerful vision of
St Petersburg: World leaders have arrived for a dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, where they would discuss the crisis in Syria, with US President Barack Obama showing up alone and well after the main group. The main group of leaders led by Putin arrived together at the historic Peterhof palace outside St Petersburg, with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande seen talking animatedly at the back of the pack. But Mr Obama was nowhere to be seen and only arrived at the palace a good half an hour after the rest.
America faces a repeat of its last disastrous military intervention in this region, after President Ronald Reagan sent US Marines to Lebanon. [Snip] In 1982, when Ronald Reagan dispatched a 1,800-strong force of US Marines to neighbouring Lebanon, he was acting in response to an international outcry over the murders of hundreds of innocent civilians in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps. By authorising military intervention in the conflict, Mr Reagan sought to prevent further massacres of the civilian population. Britain, France and Italy also deployed forces to Beirut as part of a UN-sponsored multinational force seeking to bring
The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. Many users assume — or have been assured