A war nobody believes in, led by a man nobody trusts. If Barack Obama is still looking for a legacy, here it is. Everything about the Syrian dilemma stinks. Bashar Assad is recognized by nearly everybody as the source of at least half the stink. But only half. The rest of the stench is supplied by the rebels. It’s tempting to suggest that Mr. Obama, who yearns for applause, deserves the dilemma. Bombers always sound to the uneducated ear like the cheap, quick and sensible way to punish international bad guys. Lots of bang-bang, fire, smoke and bravado is exciting, stimulating and
With ObamaCare scheduled to launch on October 1, Democrats seem more than a little anxious about their ability to execute. That´s the only fathomable explanation for their nervous breakdown over a routine House inquiry. The Affordable Care Act is paying for "navigators," or non-government groups that received federal dollars in August to help people figure out and enroll for subsidies. That such a program even exists explains a lot about the complexity of the new entitlement. The navigators were supposed to cost $54 million, but the Health and Human Services Department dipped into a "wellness" slush fund to bump that
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 playbook and has
WASHINGTONThe State Department is ordering nonessential U.S. diplomats to leave Lebanon due to security concerns as the Obama administration and Congress debate military strikes on neighboring Syria. In a new travel warning for Lebanon issued early Friday, the department said it had instructed nonessential staffers to leave Beirut and urged private American citizens to depart Lebanon. The step had been under consideration since last week, when President Barack Obama said he was contemplating military action against the Syrian government for its alleged chemical weapons attack last month that the administration said killed more than 1,400 people near Damascus. Hezbollah, an
President Obama, who´s over in Russia today not talking to President Vladimir Putin, has canceled next week´s fundraising trip to California. That´s something he didn´t even do a year ago next Wednesday night when four Americans were murdered in Benghazi by terrorists who had nothing to do with a YouTube video. And it´s another sure-sign that he´s in trouble on his congressional vote to authorize attacks on Syria for using chemical weapons on rebels. Will Obama actually deign to lobby members? Thursday one more representative changed his mind.
Testifying about the proposed attack on Syria before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 4, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "With respect to Arab countries offering to bear costs and to assess, the answer is profoundly yes. They have. That offer is on the table. ... In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we´ve done it previously in other places, they´ll carry that cost. That´s how dedicated they are at this. That´s not in the cards, and nobody´s talking about it, but they´re
The U.S. economy added just 169,000 jobs in August, a number that will likely prolong the debate over when and how the Federal Reserve should start scaling back its easy-money policies. The headline unemployment rate fell to 7.3%, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor, down from July’s rate of 7.4%. Economists had forecast an increase of 180,000 jobs. Anticipation has been high for the government’s August jobs data because it’s widely believed the Fed is poised to start winding down its $85-billion-a-month bond purchasing program known as quantitative easing, possibly as soon as this month.
As expected, G20 leaders meeting in St. Petersburg found “no consensus” over Syria during a working dinner Thursday, but even setting aside the longstanding opposition from Russia and China the Obama administration’s assertions of a growing “broad coalition” continue to look shaky. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington Secretary of State John Kerry was asking “for countries to speak publicly about their support.” She named nine countries which she said have “publicly and explicitly expressed support for U.S. military action,” but then confirmed that did not mean they have offered to participate in any strike against President
The streak is still alive. The city of Newark continued its awe-inspiring murder streak Thursday evening with its tenth homicide in as many days. A 14-year old boy, Ali Rajohn Eric Henderson, was gunned down in the courtyard area of Riverview Terrace Housing Complex. Heroin and weapons were reportedly found in Henderson’s bedroom. It looked like a close call Thursday as to whether Newark would be able to continue its recent streak of nine murders in nine days or would drop below its 1.0 per day murder rate for the ten-day period, but the city, as always, rose to the
As Congress debates whether to support President Obama’s call for a limited strike against Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons, Iran is vowing to back Bashar al-Assad’s regime to the hilt and threatening to unleash terrorism should the U.S. strike. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Forces, Wednesday told the Assembly of Experts — the body that chooses the supreme leader — that “[w]e will support Syria to the end.” And in an unprecedented statement, a former Iranian official has warned of mass abductions and brutal killings of American citizens around the world and the rape and
Wednesday, John Kerry told the Senate not to worry about the cost of an American war on Syria. The Saudis and Gulf Arabs, cash-fat on the $110-a-barrel oil they sell U.S. consumers, will pick up the tab for the Tomahawk missiles. Has it come to this — U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen as the mercenaries of sheiks, sultans and emirs, Hessians of the New World Order, hired out to do the big-time killing for Saudi and Sunni royals? Yesterday, too, came a stunning report in the Washington Post. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has joined the Israeli lobby AIPAC
The statesmanlike case for voting Yes on the congressional resolution to use force against the Assad regime has been made widely and well by conservative foreign policy thinkers. At the end, the case boils down to this: As a policy matter, a Yes vote may be problematic in all kinds of ways. But a No vote would likely be disastrous for the nation in very clear ways. Statesmanship requires choosing the problematic over the disastrous. It’s true that Republicans on the Hill lack confidence in President Obama’s execution of the military action they are being asked to vote to authorize.
Most Americans say they believe the law is inadequate in protecting their privacy online. The e-mail or social media accounts of one in five have been broken into. And most American consumers take great efforts to mask their identities online. These findings are part of a survey by the Pew Internet Center that was released Thursday. They come amid a cascade of widely publicized revelations about the depth of United States government surveillance on the electronic communications of its citizens. And they challenge the conventional wisdom advanced in support of both commercial tracking and official monitoring of Web services: “If you’ve
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
The terrace doors of the opulent Intercontinental Carlton Cannes hotel on the French Riviera were supposed to be locked. But before lunchtime on the last Sunday of July, a thief—whose face was obscured with a bandanna and a motorcycle helmet—managed to slip through them and directly into an exhibition room loaded with millions of dollars worth of Leviev diamonds, "the world´s most extraordinary." Armed with an automatic pistol and an uncanny familiarity with the setting, the mystery bandit began his heist.
‘The genius of you Americans,” the Arab-nationalist and one-time president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, once explained, “is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them which we are missing.” I’ve long taken patriotic pride in such statements of befuddlement from foreigners. America is a gloriously complicated thing. We often confuse our national creeds for universal principles. We are a Jacksonian people (that’s Andrew Jackson, in case you were wondering) in love with Jeffersonian ideals and legalistically committed to Madisonian mechanisms. Like a
Beginning what will be a years-long effort to enroll Arizonans into health-insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of volunteers will canvass Phoenix and Tempe neighborhoods this weekend seeking out some of the state’s 1 million uninsured residents. Using mapping technology and political-campaign-style organization, the national non-profit group Enroll America is working with local health-care and social-service agencies to locate the uninsured, answer their questions about the federal health-care overhaul and get them signed up. Enrollment begins Oct. 1 in Arizona’s expanded Medicaid program and the online insurance marketplace. Those who enroll by mid-December will be covered beginning Jan.
During the apex of organized opposition to Barack Obama´s mad rush to transform the United States, Shelby Steele wrote a helpful, albeit incomplete piece just prior to the 2010 midterms, titled, "A Referendum on the Redeemer." Steele writes: [Obama´s] policymaking has been grandiose, thoughtless and bullying. His health-care bill was ambitious to the point of destructiveness and, finally, so chaotic that today no citizen knows where they stand in relation to it. His financial-reform bill seems little more than a short-sighted scapegoating of Wall Street. In foreign policy he has failed to articulate a role for America in the world. We don´t
The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempsey was largely (and respectfully) silent. Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. By no means do I profess to speak on behalf of all of our men and women in
President Barack Obama, arguing for an attack on Syria but confronted with a war-weary public and deep skepticism in Congress, is considering the gravest option any president has to sell a military strike — a prime-time address to the nation. Members of Congress, during two days of occasionally combative hearings on Syria earlier this week, have pushed for the president to make a more direct case to the public before the United States punishes Syria for using chemical weapons. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., asked Secretary of State John Kerry at a hearing Wednesday whether the president will speak from the Oval Office
President Obama swung through Sweden Wednesday on his way to Russia and couldn’t miss the chance to comment on what a wonderful job the Swedes are doing in creating a clean energy world: Sweden is obviously an extraordinary leader when it comes to tackling climate change and increasing energy efficiency, and developing new technologies.(Snip)Now, would you like to know what is really going on in Sweden? Here are the facts: Sweden does indeed have the lowest rate of carbon emissions in Europe, 5.3 metric tons per capita as opposed to 6.1 in France, 8.1 in Austria, 10.5 in Norway and
Voting Rights: While the Department of Justice sues Texas over its Voter ID law, analysis of Georgia´s 2008 statute shows turnout increased among all groups, including blacks and Hispanics. Jim Crow, call your office. When on June 25 the U.S. Supreme Court freed southern states from the most onerous part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, ruling that continuing certain requirements could not be justifiably based on past voter suppression but could be justified only if current discrimination against minorities could be proved, the decision did not sit well with Eric Holder´s Department of Justice. In August, DOJ´s civil rights division —
The woman whose opinion lawmakers are relying on to go to war in Syria is also a paid advocate for the war-torn country’s rebels. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged members of the House of Representatives to read a Wall Street Journal op-ed by 26-year-old Elizabeth O’Bagy — an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War — who asserted that concerns about extremists dominating among the Syrian rebels are unfounded. “Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al-Qaida die-hards,” O’Bagy wrote for the Journal
The phones are ringing off the hook in Congress — and virtually no one is calling in to support military intervention in Syria. At the office of Representative Chris Gibson (R., N.Y.), who represents a swing district, the number of phone calls and e-mails from constituents regarding military action in Syria has “far exceeded the normal volume,” says Gibson aide Stephanie Valle. In recent days, Gibson’s office has received “about 850 e-mails on it, and out of those, 840 are opposed to military intervention,” Valle adds. Gibson opted to go further. Instead of simply waiting for constituents to contact him, his office
Arab countries have offered to pay for an invasion of Syria by US forces amid new fears that President Assad’s regime possesses biological as well as chemical weapons. US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that several states had promised they were ready to foot the bill for overthrowing Assad if America led the military operation. Syria’s Arab neighbours are worried about the spread of the civil war and the possibility that the regime’s use of chemical or biological weapons could spill over into their backyards. Mr Kerry spoke as Russia warned of a catastrophe if US missile strikes hit a nuclear reactor
The Pew Research Center released its "What the Public Knows" study Thursday, illustrating that pretty much everyone in America recognizes that one photo of Edward Snowden, and nobody knows what´s going on with the Dow Jones Index. Pew asked a wide range of respondents 13 "news IQ" questions, to determine how well Americans know what´s going on in the world. Majorities got 5 out of 13 right on the quiz, which asked about public policy, geography, tech innovations, and famous people. It seems like Pew tried to throw a few more toughies in there this time — most people did a