President Obama tried to salvage his credibility on the world stage tonight in a national address that threatened Syria with the full force of America´s military might even as he conceded he was willing to bow to an eleventh-hour diplomatic proposal that would put Russia in the driver´s seat. The president insisted without irony that America is not ´the world´s policeman,´ after being outfoxed by his arch-rival Vladimir Putin. [Snip] Speaking firmly from a White House podium in the East Room and looking like a world leader on an expansive, lonely stage, he emphasized in a 15-minute address that his
The size and location of Syria´s chemical weapons stockpile have been the subject of speculation for many years, but some believe it is the world´s largest. While Syria´s possession of chemical weapons has never been in any doubt, there is no reliable information on how it obtained and developed its arsenal. The country has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) nor ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), so it has never made a formal declaration of its stock. Most experts believe it has the blister agent sulphur mustard, the nerve agent sarin, and the more potent and persistent nerve
Vladimir Putin is often accused of sticking spanners in the works of international diplomacy. But if Russia´s initiative on Syria is successful, it would be a huge diplomatic coup for the Kremlin leader. Averting a US military strike on a key ally in the Middle East, while removing the threat from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad´s chemical weapons: that would already be seen as a stunning success for Moscow. According to several Russian newspapers this morning, it would also allow US President Barack Obama to "save face", by removing the need for a military action most Americans are uneasy with.
A document House Majority Leader Eric Cantor distributed to all House Republicans on Tuesday, obtained by Breitbart News, confirms that he is planning to make it appear as though the House is voting to defund Obamacare while using a legislative procedural trick which would allow the Democrat-controlled Senate to strip defunding language from the Continuing Resolution. “Many House Republicans have stated that they want to pass a CR that affirmatively defunds the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare,” Cantor wrote to House Republican members. “In addition to firmly putting the House on record, such an effort would force the Democrat Senate
TRIPOLI, Libya — Security officials say a powerful explosion has caused serious damage to Libya´s Foreign Ministry building in the heart of the coastal city of Benghazi. The early Wednesday morning blast also damaged the building next door housing the Benghazi branch of the Libyan Central Bank. The officials said several passers-by were slightly injured by the blast, which blew out windows in nearby buildings. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The blast came exactly one year after al-Qaida-linked militants stormed the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of
CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Talk about Southern hospitality. Famed Democratic strategist Pat Caddell swept into South Carolina on Monday night, blistered Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and then insulted the people who put him in office. And he was rewarded for his bravado with a round of hearty applause and laughter. “Lindsey Graham is the effective leader of the surrender caucus of the Republican Party,” Caddell proclaimed during a fiery speech before the Charleston Meeting, a monthly gathering of conservative activists hosted at the swanky Harbour Club in downtown Charleston. “And I don’t know how he works with the public in South Carolina,
He’s more charismatic than Scott Walker, more conservative than Chris Christie and, unlike so many of the top-tier 2016 Republicans, he has actually run a state. So why isn’t Indiana Gov. Mike Pence generating the kind of buzz worthy of a top-tier candidate? Probably because while his opponents have been show horses, he’s been a work horse. And that makes him a dark horse. Here are five reasons why we should take Pence’s chances very seriously: 1. The résumé’ - “[A]s a former congressman and now a governor, [Pence] has garnered that hard-won ‘two-fer’ status, thus giving him a very credible résumé,” says
For Charles E. Woods, mystery still shrouds the death of his son and of three other Americans in the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. “It’s been almost a year, and very few questions have been answered,” said Mr. Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, one of two former Navy SEALs who died that day. Outnumbered by militants, Woods and Glen Doherty fought to protect diplomats and other personnel until three terrorist-fired mortar rounds killed them. U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his aide Sean Smith were killed during an earlier onslaught. “Even fewer questions have
Colorado Springs — Despite the media’s insistence that the Colorado recalls were the first skirmish in a new proxy war between the National Rifle Association and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the simple truth is that Tuesday’s stunning elections were prompted and won by forces on the ground. At the Stargazers Theatre last night, I sat with those forces as a famous victory unfolded. Speaking after Senator Morse conceded, the recall’s founder, Tim Knight, told the crowd that “you must own your freedom in order to protect and pass it on to your children.” He has spent the last few
Rep. Mark Sanford, whose extramarital dalliance abroad while governor of South Carolina led to scandal, took his mistress-turned-fiancée, María Belén Chapur, to Israel in August, on a trip paid for by American Israel Education Foundation, congressional records show. Such privately funded trips are typically limited to relatives, but Sanford, who won election to the House in a special election earlier in the year, asked for and received a special exemption to take Belén Chapur along. Sanford gave a two-word answer on the congressional travel form when asked why he wanted to participate in the Israel trip. "Educational purposes," he wrote
Near the end of his speech to the nation on Syria, President Obama quoted Franklin Roosevelt: “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideas and principles that we have cherished are challenged.” Which of FDR´s stirring wartime speeches does this quotation come from? None of them. The sentence Obama quoted is from a speech Roosevelt gave on October 2, 1935, in San Diego. It´s part of a section of the speech defending a non-interventionist "good neighbor" policy in Latin America and non-interventionism more broadly. Indeed, FDR mentions our
Ever since Edward Snowden hit the front pages in early June with his leaks to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper and other media outlets, it’s been known that the National Security Agency had a huge surveillance program collecting data about nearly every American’s phone calls. And officials have conceded that the operation of that program wasn’t always perfect. Documents released Tuesday fill in some of the blanks. Here are five key points: (1) The NSA was supposed to show a “reasonable articulable suspicion” of terrorism links when targeting a phone number, but between 2006 and 2009, only 1,935 of 17,835 numbers checked against
During excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount which were conducted this summer, Jerusalem Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar discovered two bundles of a treasure containing thirty-six gold coins, gold and silver jewelry, and a gold medallion with the menorah (Temple candelabrum) symbol etched into it. Also etched into the 10-cm medallion are a shofar (ram’s horn) and a Torah scroll. Mazar, a third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, directs excavations on the City of David’s summit and at the Temple Mount’s southern wall, the Ophel area. Calling the find “a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime discovery,”
They say that the process of making sausage isn’t pretty, but all that matters is how it tastes. And often, that applies to politics, as well. The political process can be messy, with bad decisions along the way, but if the outcome is popular, the process doesn’t matter at all. That’s why those of us in the political analysis business often fall back on the trite — but true — response that the proof is in the pudding. So, even though the Obama administration has looked confused, erratic and in way over its head on Syria, and most members of Congress have
WASHINGTON – Seven months after resigning as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa Jackson returned to the hot seat Tuesday to refute allegations she had abused her official email accounts and used her own private account to circumvent open records requirements. Jackson, who used an email under the alias “Richard Windsor” at the EPA, said the practice of using a secondary official account was common among former administrators from both parties. “I had a secondary official government account like my predecessors before me, and that was done for time management and to be able to do my job,” Jackson said
Remember, earlier this year, when the Obama administration was transforming each and every sequestration budget cut into some nightmarishly dire prediction about how each and every major department wouldn’t be able to perform the full extent of their absolutely and irrevocably essential duties? It would seem that, even as there are Defense Department employees being furloughed and Secretary Hagel warns of more layoffs and our military slims down on equipment, training programs, and etcetera, the Pentagon evidently continues to prioritize the forceful implementation of so-called “green” and “renewable” sources into their energy repertoire. Via Reuters: The U.S. Army has picked 17
Human beings have stopped evolving and should be persuaded not to have large families, Sir David Attenborough has said. The TV naturalist, 87, said he was not optimistic about the future and "things are going to get worse". He said he did not believe humans would become extinct, but told the Radio Times: "I think that we´ve stopped evolving. "Because if natural selection, as proposed by Darwin, is the main mechanism of evolution - there may be other things, but it does look as though that´s the case - then we´ve stopped natural selection. "We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being
WASHINGTON — In a debate that’s brought strange bedfellows, this is hard to top: President Obama is now hoping that Vladimir Putin saves him from his own Congress. The president tonight offered virtually no new arguments and little fresh urgency in his push to confront Syria over chemical weapons. The only short-term option is the one supplied by the Russians, in a dizzying series of events that brought quick recalculations on the part of the White House. The prime-time address underscored the extent to which the president is stuck in a box he constructed. It capped an extraordinary 10-day span during which
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For more than two hours, the red-white-and-blue-clad crowd stood and sang "Dos a cero! Dos a cero!" over and over and over. And 2-0 it was. The United States clinched its seventh straight World Cup appearance, getting second-half goals from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan on Tuesday night for the now traditional 2-0 home qualifying win over Mexico. "It´s become its own monster. People want to come to Columbus and see U.S.-Mexico. And so it´s almost like the mecca really for us," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "You almost feel like it´s our destiny to win here."
WASHINGTON-- The surveillance machine grew too big for anyone to understand. The National Security Agency set it in motion in 2006 and the vast network of supercomputers, switches and wiretaps began gathering Americans´ phone and Internet records by the millions, looking for signs of terrorism. But every day, NSA analysts snooped on more American phone records than they were allowed to. Some officials searched databases of phone records without even realizing it. Others shared the results of their searches with people who weren´t authorized to see them.
After a week or so of political whiplash, the country heard directly from President Obama as he tried to explain his policy. The speech was exceptionally revealing in the logical disconnect that plagues his policy: Chemical weapons use is beyond the pale and different than any weapon. We cannot let it go on. We have a national interest in acting. But I would ask Congress to hold off on voting for me to do anything. We’ll consider a deal to have Assad turn over his weapons. But remain in power. Several other disturbing inconsistencies were noteworthy. First, he talked about
Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner bowed out of the New York City mayoral contest with his middle finger raised to the reporters who covered his scandal-ridden campaign. Shortly after conceding defeat in a brief speech to aides and supporters at a bar in Midtown, Weiner dashed into a black SUV and displayed his middle finger from behind the vehicle´s tinted windows. Weiner´s unceremonious exit from the race concluded a tumultuous campaign, which was plagued by ongoing revelations over the candidate´s illicit online relationships with various women. [Snip] A blurry image of #Weiner saying goodbye with his middle finger as he drives off
Point by point, Mr Obama explained why America must act following the chemical weapon strikes of August 21 that killed 1,400 people, including 426 children. He laid out the intelligence supporting the US contention that Assad was responsible; he set down the moral case to act on behalf of the father "clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk" and dwelled on the historical responsibility to uphold global prohibitions on using chemical weapons. He empathised with the war-weariness of the American public and promised absolutely there would be no US boots on the ground in Syria.
Colorado Springs — Two Colorado Democrats who provided crucial support for a slate of tough new gun-control laws were voted out of office on Tuesday in a recall vote widely seen as a test of popular support for gun restrictions after mass shootings in a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school. The election, which came five months after the United States Senate defeated several gun restrictions, handed another loss to gun-control supporters. (snip) Both defeats were painful for Democrats – Mr. Morse’s because he had been Senate president, and Ms. Giron’s because she represented a heavily Democratic, working-class
Although cautiously welcoming Russian proposals to oversee the decommissioning of Syria´s chemical weapons, Mr Obama said the US military remained on alert "in case diplomacy fails". In a highly-publicised address delivered in television prime time from the White House, Mr Obama broke little new ground but instead tried to directly address the concerns of a nation "sick and tired of war". "The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world´s a better place because we have borne them," he told an American public that opinion polls show are strongly opposed to military action. Mr Obama said the Russian initiative,