Remember that dumb cowboy George W. Bush, who alienated all our allies and dragged us into wars of choice in the Mideast? And remember that goofball Mitt Romney, whom Joe Biden a year ago accused of wanting to go to war in Syria? Both of them must be having a big laugh over the way things are going for Obama now. When I wrote last week on our bumbling Syria diplomacy, it seemed that things couldn´t possibly go further downhill. Boy, was I wrong. Last week, it seemed our only ally was France. But now the French are having second
President Barack Obama has revealed that has hasn´t ruled out abandoning an attack on Syria, and that he has been secretly discussing a non-military resolution to the Syrian crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin ´for quite some time.´ ´We will pursue this diplomatic track,´ Obama told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. ´I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way.´ But ´it´s fair to say that I haven´t decided´ what to do if Congress fails to authorize a military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, he conceded to NBC News´ Savannah Guthrie. While he said
Australia´s incoming conservative government has promised to reboot a stalled mining boom and revive an appetite for investment. Prime minister-elect Tony Abbott swept into office on a platform to scrap a mining tax and run a stable administration. Mr Abbott´s Liberal-National Party coalition ended six years of often turbulent Labor Party rule and three years of minority government. It won a majority of more than 30 seats in the 150-seat parliament at the national elections. It was Labor´s worst result since 1934. Mr Abbott, a former student boxer, Rhodes scholar and trainee priest, began his first day as prime minister-elect with a dawn bike
Peking duck is no longer a dish in China, it´s a craze. Rubber ducks have been appearing on lakes, some used to commemorate the outlawed democracy movement, some to promote businesses and others just set out for fun. [Snip] The craze began in May, when a 54-foot duck made by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman was floated in Hong Kong´s Victoria Harbor. Copycat versions of the work made in China began appearing all over. The ducks showed up in at least 16 cities, used mostly to advertise real estate.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel´s choice of the term "degrade" to describe an attack on Syria has been interpreted by Pentagon planners as guidance for a limited strike, according to senior military officials. (snip) A second senior official, who has seen the most recent planning, offered this metaphor to describe such a strike: If Assad is eating Cheerios, we´re going to take away his spoon and give him a fork. Will that degrade his ability to eat Cheerios? Yes. Will it deter him? Maybe. But he´ll still be able to eat Cheerios.
President Obama, speaking at the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg on Friday, reminded me of an investment banker trying to sell a deal he doesn´t believe in. And the customer knows it. Halting. Hesitant. Uncertain. Uncomfortable. That´s what Obama´s statement and body language had to say. On the verge of a potentially huge defeat on the Syrian question in Congress, President Obama is in a box. He´s looking for a way out, but he can´t find one. He´s losing supporters in the legislature at home, and he didn´t gain any at the G-20 summit abroad. When Obama speaks to the American people on
CARACAS – One of the worst power outages in Venezuelan history has given a jolt to President Nicolas Maduro’s government and revived opposition accusations that its socialist policies and incompetence are wrecking the country. Even though Venezuela’s 29 million people have endured sporadic blackouts since 2009, there was widespread shock at the extent of this week’s outage across two-thirds of the nation. In the capital Caracas, which the government strenuously shields from rationing, the power went off throughout Tuesday afternoon, causing chaos on the streets. “This isn’t the Third World, it’s the Fifth World!” griped student Marilyn Morales, 26, recounting how first she
JAMAICA WILL, this weekend, seek to have Venezuela agree to a proposal for the training of Venezuelans in English language as part of a programme to offset oil debts. Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica’s minister of science, technology, energy and mining, who leaves the island for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, today, said he is expecting a positive response to the proposal. “By the end of the weekend, I will be able to report on it,” Paulwell told The Gleaner. Paulwell will be attending the 11th meeting of the PetroCaribe Council of Ministers and the second meeting of the PetroCaribe Economic Zone. “We are continuing our discussions with Venezuela
President Obama said on Monday he would "run to ground" a proposal floated by the Russians that would wrest control of chemical weapons from Syria and would potentially head off a U.S. military strike against the Bashar Assad regime. Obama, who conducted a half dozen television interviews on Monday afternoon to try to gin up support for his call for military action against Syria said he would "absolutely" put off a punitive strike if Assad gave up his weapons. "It´s possible if it´s real," Obama told CNN in an interview that aired Monday of the possible breakthrough on the Syria
President Obama said Monday, a day before his prime-time address to the nation justifying military action in Syria, that he would prefer a diplomatic solution over a military strike and that he doesn´t think he will be able to convince a majority of Americans that it´s the right thing -- but that he can make "a strong case." (Snip) Mr. Obama also told Ifill that, "I did have those conversations" with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when asked whether he had discussions with the Russian leader about the idea of putting Syrian chemical weapons under international control.
Actress Eva Longoria and Michelle Obama are teaming up to encourage people to drink more water. The two will be at a high school in Watertown, Wis., on Thursday for the event, which is a part of Obama´s Let´s Move! anti-obesity campaign. Longoria is a prominent Obama supporter who addressed delegates at the Democratic National Convention and raised funds for the president´s reelection bid. The first lady will also spend time with military families this week. She will visit military children at Fort Belvoir, Va., on Wednesday, the anniversary of 9/11. She´ll also stop by Intrepid Spirit One — which
Small business owners who thought they were off the hook for ObamaCare regulations until 2015 may be in for an expensive wake-up call next month. Beginning Oct. 1, any business with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue must notify all employees by letter about the Affordable Care Act’s health-care exchanges, or face up to a $100-per-day fine. The requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of size. Going forward, letters are to be distributed to any new hires within 14 days of their starting date, according to the Department of Labor.
Syria: As a Chinese warship joins Russian ships in the Mediterranean, we should remember a cruise missile attack on an Israeli warship. President Obama should understand that Syria and Hezbollah have missiles, too. As the Obama administration continues to deploy its comical weapons, with Secretary of State John Kerry promising America any attack on Syria will be "unbelievably small," a Chinese warship deploys off the Syrian coast, joining its Russian counterparts in what used to be an "American lake," the Mediterranean Sea. The People´s Liberation Army has dispatched the amphibious dock landing ship Jinggangshan, a move that follows the announcement that Russia
Syria: The attack the U.S. is threatening Bashar Assad with for alleged chemical weapons use will now be an "unbelievably small, limited kind of effort." Is America becoming a paper tiger? When the White House´s foreign policy team aren´t dissembling or dithering, they can be found fudging, vacillating or prevaricating. Secretary of State John Kerry, the face President Obama obviously wants defending an increasingly indefensible non-strategy, vowed Monday, "We´re not going to war. We will not have people at risk in that way." We will have "a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort," an "unbelievably small, limited kind of effort." We´re talking
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will let President Barack Obama make his case to senators before moving to a vote on a resolution to authorize a strike on Syria. “I don’t think we need to see how fast we can do this. We have to see how well we can do this,” Reid told senators Monday evening. “What we need to do is make sure that the president has the opportunity to speak to all 100 senators all 300 million people before we do this.” Reid said he consulted with the president before making his decision. The move could mean
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday delayed a vote on using military force against Syria. Faced with stiffening opposition from Republicans and skepticism from many Democrats, Reid said he would not rush the vote to begin considering the controversial use-of-force resolution. He insisted he was not delaying action because of a lack of votes. “I’ve spoken to the Republican leader. I’ve talked to virtually all my Democratic senators and we have enough votes to get cloture,” he said. Reid said the delay could give senators more time to weigh the arguments of President Obama and other proponents
Diana Nyad´s 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida has generated positive publicity and adoration for the 64-year-old endurance athlete — along with skepticism from some members of the small community of marathon swimmers who are questioning whether she accomplished the feat honestly. On social media and the online Marathon Swimmers Forum, long-distance swimmers have been debating whether Nyad got a boost from the boat that was accompanying her — either by getting in it or holding onto it — during a particularly speedy stretch of her swim. They also question whether she violated the traditions of her sport — many
If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives up his chemical weapons, a military strike would "absolutely" be on pause, President Obama said today. "I consider this a modestly positive development," Obama told ABC News´ Diane Sawyer in an interview at the White House when asked whether Syria´s apparent willingness to relinquish control of its chemical weapons would prevent a U.S. strike. "Let´s see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used," the president said. Obama´s comments come after the Russian foreign minister suggested
All summer long, Texas coach Mack Brown tried to paint the most pleasant picture of his program, denying the notion that he was under pressure to win big this season. Halfway across the country, Southern California athletics director Pat Haden posted a video on the school´s athletics website declaring emphatically that Lane Kiffin was not on the proverbial hot seat. Just two weeks into the season, those sunny outlooks for two of college football´s mega-programs are already in serious doubt. Brown might not publicly acknowledge that his tenure at Texas is in jeopardy, but his actions Sunday said it all.
The Chicago gun control ordinance rushed into place after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city’s handgun ban would be “gutted” to satisfy Illinois’ concealed carry law, under a rewrite advanced Monday that delighted the National Rifle Association. Todd Vandermyde, the NRA’s legislative liaison, went so far as to call it a “great day for gun owners” in Chicago. “Mayor Daley’s pinnacle handgun ordinance after the loss in the McDonald decision is now, for all intents and purposes, gutted,” Vandermyde said. “The Chicago firearms permit requirements are gone.
President Obama on Monday took a sharp turn away from his "red line" threat to Syria on the eve of taking his case to the American people, saying in an interview with Fox News that he´s open to negotiations on an alternative plan that could avert a military strike. The president was responding to a proposal, formally put forward by the Russians, to have the Assad regime turn over its chemical weapons to international control.(Snip)The president, while saying his advisers would "run to ground" that proposal, indicated he still wants Congress to debate a resolution to authorize a strike against
The treasurer of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.´s campaign committee has resigned less than a month after Jackson and his wife, Sandi, were sentenced to prison for the misuse of about $750,000 in campaign funds to buy luxury goods, vacations and celebrity memorabilia. Vickie Pasley, the treasurer, was listed as "Person B" in court documents in Jackson Jr.´s case — one of six people identified by the letters A through F and linked to various aspects of the Jacksons´ crimes. A prosecutor told the Tribune last month that the six would not face charges "at this time."
President Obama is doing six big interviews tonight for NBC, CNN, PBS, CBS, ABC, and Fox News, but an anchor for the network Univision is wondering why the president glossed over them. Univision’s Jorge Ramos took to Twitter to call out Obama for not including Univision in his big pre-Syria address media blitz, calling it a wasted opportunity. Ramos fired off two tweets slamming the snub of Univision from the president’s roster. [Tweets] Univision spokesperson Jose Zamora told POLITICO it was disappointing that they were passed over, while the network sent along a somewhat frustrated statement to Deadline. What happens
The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria thrusts the international spotlight onto the same deadly "nerve agents" stored at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County. Sarin, one of the world´s most dangerous chemical warfare agents, has been identified by the United States as the substance loaded onto rockets on Aug. 21 and shot into the suburbs of Damascus. The Obama administration estimates that more than 1,400 people died. Syrian President Bashar Assad is also thought to have used a network of front companies to import the precursors needed to make VX, the deadliest nerve agent ever created, The
New report reveals Syria is the owner of one of the world´s largest chemical stockpiles. The report, presented Monday by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya´s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, states that as of June 2013, Syrian President Bashar Assad holds one of the world´s largest caches of mustard gas, sarin and the lethal nerve gas VX. The institute´s report described the manner in which Assad attained his impressive inventory as well as warning of the possibility the unconventional munitions could fall into the hands of terrorist groups active in Syria. By the 1980s, the report stated, the Syrian regime had