The emerging Russian-brokered deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria to forestall any US attack is – from Israel’s point of view – a very mixed blessing. The good news is that if Syrian President Bashar Assad honors the deal, a huge “if,” considering that Assad is a butcher who has killed tens of thousands of his own people to stay in power, then a very deadly weapon will be removed from Israel’s doorstep. Israel will no longer have to worry about chemical warfare with its bitter enemy to the north. Moreover, if indeed the stockpiles are all destroyed or
Washington–If implemented, Russia’s plan to solve the global crisis in Syria by placing the regime’s chemical arms under international control would, theoretically, produce historic results. The world would suddenly be rid of the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in its most dangerous region, currently controlled by a man who is, apparently, willing to use them against children. Vladimir Putin could claim that Russia has reinforced world order, and US President Barack Obama would declare a victory for nonproliferation, a pillar of his foreign policy since 2008, and the justification for any military action in Syria he may have otherwise ordered.
Prisoners held by the regime of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet were played a “torture soundtrack” of songs by Julio Iglesias and George Harrison, according to new research. Music played at high volume during torture was part of the psychological suffering endured by some of his thousands of political opponents who were detained when Pinochet seized power in 1973. According to former prisoners, Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”, the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange and songs by Spanish crooner Iglesias were played for days at a time.
The good news is we´re not at war. The bad news is … almost everything else about President Obama´s handling of Syria – the fumbling and flip-flopping and marble-mouthing – undercut his credibility, and possibly with it his ability to lead the nation and world. As he addressed a global audience Tuesday night, liberal elites blindly accepted White House fiction that Russian intervention this week was somehow part of Obama´s master plan. Their conservative counterparts practically rooted against a diplomatic breakthrough, preferring an Obama black eye over peace. Obama won! Obama lost! The fact is it´s too soon to keep
Colorado Springs, Colo. — State Senate President John Morse could be the first Colorado lawmaker to be recalled by his constituents, based on the first batch of returns Tuesday night. But this recall appears like it will come down to just a couple hundred votes. Unofficial early results show 52 percent in favor of recalling Morse, 48 percent against. The margin: 565 votes. (Snip) Morse, a Democrat who angered many constituents by voting for stricter gun control laws earlier this year, told reporters 90 minutes before the polls closed that he was concerned about the lower-than-expected turnout on the final
Bill de Blasio, who ran for mayor of New York promising to address deepening concerns about income inequality and controversial police practices, won far more votes than any other candidate in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, according to exit poll results. But it was not immediately clear if he had won the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff with the second-place finisher, either William C. Thompson Jr. or Christine C. Quinn. The city’s Democratic voters, worried about jobs and schools, were seeking a clean break after 12 years of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Though most approved of him,
Bill deBlasio has a large lead over Bill Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, according to an exit poll by Edison Research. The pollster, who did an exit poll for the Daily News and other outlets said, "It is possible, but not certain that de Blasio could hit the 40% threshold and avoid a runoff." Controller John Liu and former Rep. Anthony Weiner are "trailing in single digits." State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James are the top two candidates for Public Advocate. (Snip)The race for City Controller between candidates Eliot Spitzer and Scott Stringer is too
McClatchy chief correspondent Mark Seibel reports on Tuesday evening that President Obama’s speech on Syria will last just 15 minutes. That is a massive downgrade from most addresses to the nation. The theme of the address has also reportedly shifted from a pitch for military action against Syria to a triumphal announcement that negotiations are underway. Obama speech is scheduled to broadcast live on all four major broadcast networks. Its short length will provide a challenge for networks struggling to slot the president in. According to NBC News, Obama will tell Americans not that they ought to gird their loins
Bashar Assad’s forces may find themselves face-to-face with Barry, who is already in the region in case military strikes are launched against Syria. The USS Barry, that is. Along with the destroyer sharing the nickname of the president, the Navy has deployed three other ships to the Mediterranean in preparation for the possible military action: the USS Ramage, Gravely, and Stout. (Photo) The destroyer is, in fact, named after the American Revolutionary War captain John Barry,
Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, President Obama will deliver live, televised remarks on Syria from the White House. Daily Intelligencer has secured a copy of this speech, as prepared for address. Good evening. Tonight I had hoped to speak directly to you, the American people, as your president and commander-in-chief, about the necessity of taking military action against the Assad regime in Syria. I was going to talk all about why bombing Syria was not only a moral obligation, but also squarely in our national interests. That´s what I had planned to do when we scheduled this speech last week. But
For nearly two years, the United States and its key allies have been challenging the Syrian government´s claim to legitimacy. Some countries have recognized the Syrian opposition as the country´s legitimate government. Others have offered the rebels arms, military training, and advice. But in the real world, possession of territory counts for a lot. The United Nations, for one, must rely on the Syrian government to gain access for humanitarian aid workers seeking to relieve hungry Syrian civilians, and cooperate with Syrian authorities to ensure the protection of U.N. chemical weapons inspectors in Damascus or U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan
This is what I think we’re seeing: The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can’t acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he’s coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. Bashar Assad isn’t going to give up all his hidden weapons in wartime, in the middle of a conflict so bitter and severe that his forces this morning reportedly bombed parts of Damascus, the city in which he lives. In such conditions his
Russia´s proposal for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to place his chemical weapons under international supervision and then destroy them is quickly gaining steam. Assad´s government accepted the plan this morning. A few hours later, President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande announced that they´d seriously explore the proposal. It already has the backing of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a growing number of influential lawmakers from both parties. There´s just one problem: the plan would be nearly impossible to actually carry out. Experts in chemical weapons disposal point to a host of challenges.
A Pennsylvania school board has agreed to review a request by a biologically female student who was denied the opportunity to appear on the ballot for homecoming king. Kasey Caron, 17, was assigned as female at birth, but identifies and presents as male. He was born with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that leads to a hormone imbalance where the ovaries make more androgens – sometimes called male hormones – than normal and has had to field the question ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ throughout his childhood. For the bulk of his four years at Richland High School in Johnstown,
Here is the take from Fox News: “The possible breakthrough pertains to a proposal, floated by Secretary of State John Kerry and then formally put forward by the Russians, to have the Assad regime turn over its chemical weapons to international control.” “We will pursue this diplomatic track,” Obama told Fox News. “I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way.” If that’s from Fox, wait until NBC and the NYT embellish along these lines: “In a brilliant diplomatic move, Kerry persuaded the Russians into pressuring Syria, under Obama’s looming threat of a devastating strike, to relinquish
The President of the United States is facing a grave crisis of trust at home and abroad. Whatever the fate of the draft resolution on chemical weapons that France has put before the UN Security Council, the Syrian crisis has damaged respect for Barack Obama, probably irretrievably. [Snip] Russia’s brutish president has launched a diplomatic initiative which leaves the U.S. wrong-footed and potentially isolated. Fareed Zakaria, one of the country’s most influential commentators, calls the Washington administration’s handling of Syria ‘a case study in how not to do foreign policy’. Weakness. This presidency has touched a low point.
Vladimir Putin said last night Barack Obama must withdraw the threat of US air strikes against Syria before Russia would back plans to make Bashar Assad hand over Syria’s vast chemical weapons arsenal. The Russian president delivered his ultimatum as the US, Britain and France prepared to table a UN Security Council resolution to force Syria to surrender an estimated 1,000 tonnes of poison gas. The Western allies are also expected to insist that Assad faces trial for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. President Putin’s intervention stepped up diplomatic pressure on Washington as a vote in Congress on missile strikes against
Every politician claims to hate fraud in government, and the House of Representatives will have a chance to prove it Wednesday when it votes to close a gigantic hole for potential abuse in the Affordable Care Act. The Health and Human Services Department announced in July that it won´t verify individual eligibility for the tens of billions in insurance subsidies the law will dole out. Americans are supposed to receive those subsidies based on income and only if their employer doesn´t provide federally approved health benefits. But until 2015 the rule will be: Come on in, the subsidy is fine. HHS will
What could be worse for America´s standing in the world than a Congress refusing to support a President´s proposal for military action against a rogue regime that used WMD? Here´s one idea: A U.S. President letting that rogue be rescued from military punishment by the country that has protected the rogue all along. That´s where President Obama now finds himself on Syria after he embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin´s offer to take custody of Bashar Assad´s chemical weapons. The move may rescue Mr. Obama and Congress from the political agony of a vote on a resolution to authorize a military strike
Foreign Policy: Hillary "What Does It Matter?" Clinton was bad enough as secretary of state. But her successor may have imperiled his boss´ presidency after just six short months at Foggy Bottom. John Kerry is a man of many blunders. But his biggest gaffe may have come Monday during a joint news conference over the Syrian crisis with Britain´s foreign secretary. Responding to a reporter´s question, Kerry made the off-the-cuff suggestion that Syrian despot Bashar Assad could avoid a U.S. attack by turning over his chemical weapons within a week. Kerry wasn´t authorized to offer Syria that, and the administration had to
Scandal: As cruise missiles are readied to aid Syria´s al-Qaida-linked rebels, the president has yet to keep a promise to avenge the Benghazi dead and bring the killers to justice. A year has passed since Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ty Woods were murdered in a Sept. 11 terrorist attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. A month later, Obama said of the attack that "my biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice, and I think the American people have seen that´s a commitment I´ll always keep." That depends on what he means by "bringing them to
I suspect that, at least privately, many of the most partisan supporters of President Obama would admit his actions and inactions as well as his statements and misstatements with regard to Syria have been an embarrassment at best. In a column in the Wall Street Journal, Norman Podhoretz argues that this seeming incompetence of the president regarding Syria and other pressing issues of the day is really a cover and part of a greater plan because: "As a left-wing radical, Mr. Obama believed that the United States had almost always been a retrograde and destructive force in world affairs. Accordingly, the fundamental
Syria: President Obama can take all the credit he likes for Moscow´s deal on Bashar Assad surrendering chemical weapons. In fact, Russia is filling the U.S. power vacuum on its way back to superpower status. According to the surprise new peacemaker on the global stage, ex-KGB officer and Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, Syria will only follow through on his agreement with the terror state to get rid of chemical weapons "if the United States and other nations supporting it tell us that they´re giving up their plan to use force against Syria." That is the opposite of the Obama White House´s claim
President Obama will address the country over the situation in Syria tonight, an address that comes amid continued erosion of Congressional support for a use of force resolution against the country and the emergence of a possible diplomatic solution involving Russia and the United Nations. So, what will Obama say? And, perhaps more importantly, how will he say it? Here’s our viewer’s guide for the speech. The target audience: When President Obama initially announced he would give this speech last Friday in Russia, the expectation was that it would be aimed at convincing the American public and,
The National Security Agency for almost three years searched a massive database of Americans’ phone call records in violation of court-approved privacy rules, and the problem went unfixed because no one at the agency had a full technical understanding of how the system worked, according to new documents and senior government officials. The improper activity went on from May 2006 to January 2009, according to a scathing March 2009 opinion by Judge Reggie B. Walton, a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
CROSSVILLE — Obama’s May 5 Ohio State commencement speech was, for the most part, cliché’-ridden and predictable, a long Civics 101 lecture about “citizenship” with tired laugh lines about students sleeping late. The paragraph that, to me, required attention and was a real jaw-dropper was this: “Unfortunately, you have grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that is the source of all of our problems; some of these voices are doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.