Bashar Assad won Round 1, and there probably won’t be a Round 2. The momentum toward punishing the Syrian regime, payback for what everyone agrees are war crimes and crimes against humanity, has dissipated. Momentum blunted is difficult to recover. Through leaks, winks and nudges, President Obama first did a reasonably persuasive imitation of Sylvester Stallone and the Terminator, as the bold and decisive man of war bubbling with testosterone. He sounded as if he were trying to remind the world of George H.W. Bush who on the eve of the campaign to evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, famously cried: “This
To the average American coming and going from work, all this amounts to is one more sect of Muslim killing another sect of Muslims. Americans have been watching that now for over a decade, during which thousands of Americans have been killed and wounded trying to save one group of Muslims from another group of Muslims. To most Americans, such Muslim factions fighting each other is no longer newsworthy, and they would be very happy to leave the Islamic world alone so that they can massacre each other in peace. It seems like the British feel the same.
The federal government raked in a record of approximately $2,472,542,000,000 in tax revenues through the first eleven months of fiscal 2013, which ran from Oct. 1, 2012 through the end of August, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement for August. That is up about $285 billion from the approximately $2,187,527,000,000 in taxes the government took in through August of fiscal 2012. Despite these record tax revenues, the federal government still accumulated a $755 billion deficit in the first eleven months of fiscal 2013. Totally federal spending through the first eleven months of the fiscal year was $3.228 trillion. At the end of last
Deputy Attorney General James Cole told Congress this week that although the Justice Department did consult with federal, state and local agencies on marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State, "we should have reached out to them one more time before we made the decision" not to challenge those state laws. Cole testified before the Senate Judiciay Committee on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 10. That very morning, Cole said, he and Attorney General Eric Holder met with various federal, state and local groups for over an hour -- to apologize and ask their forgiveness for not offering "one more opportunity for them
The State Department through its Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs plans to spend $450,000 to create green jobs in Morocco. “Morocco has set the goal to become one of the world’s largest sustainable economies by 2020, with an emphasis on creating green jobs in: renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental and natural resource management, and improvement in environmental technologies,” the grant announcement said. “Morocco’s green growth strategy focuses on three major areas that include: energy security, food security, and environmental security. This includes solar and wind power, energy efficiency, intensive and communal sustainable agriculture, and solid waste and greenhouse
One of the often forgotten precepts of the Christian Just War Theory is that "Before war is entered upon there must be a reasonable belief that such an action will be successful." This is to guard against a futile waste of life and destruction - even if the cause for action may be just. Some will maintain that President Obama´s request for military strike on Syria does not constitute a war. Quite simply, however, barring legal technicalities any attack on a sovereign nation is a de facto act of war. The outcome of any war is unpredictable because of unforeseeable variables. However,
But ridding Syria of its chemicals won’t be easy If you’re reading or listening in the wrong places, you might think they’re already measuring a place for Vladimir Putin on Mount Rushmore, sandwiched between Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. That’s where Barack Obama, who may have to give Mr. Putin the Nobel Peace Prize he won for doing nothing, expected to rest one day. Before the sculptors with their chisels board a train for Rapid City, the euphoric legion should stop to figure out just how Mr. Putin and his client, Bashar Assad, intend to dismantle the stocks of chemical weapons. Easier
The unprecedented gesture came as his incoming number two, the Vatican´s newly-nominated secretary of state, said that the rule that priests should be celibate was not "a dogma of the Church" and could be open for discussion. Francis, who has won praise for spontaneous and unusual moves during his six month papacy, wrote a lengthy letter to a newspaper, La Repubblica, which the Italian daily printed over four pages, including page one, under the simple byline "Francesco". "God forgives those who obey their conscience," he wrote in the unprecedented letter, the latest example of the markedly different tone and style from his
KABUL - Suspected Taliban militants in Afghanistan on Thursday shot dead an Indian woman whose memoir about marrying an Afghan and life under the Islamist militia was made into a Bollywood movie, officials said. The killing of Sushmita Banerjee was the latest in a string of attacks on prominent women in Afghanistan, adding to fears women´s rights in a country where many are barely allowed outside the house will recede even more after U.S.-led foreign forces fully withdraw in 2014. The militants arrived before dawn at Banjerjee´s residence in eastern Paktika province, which lies in Afghanistan´s east — a region where the
It is hard, if you´ve got a head and a heart, to come down against a strong U.S. response to Syria´s use of chemical weapons against its civilian population. This is especially so if you believe that humanity stands at a door that leads only to darkness. Those who say, "But Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons—the taboo was broken long ago," are missing the point. When Saddam used gas against the Kurds it was not immediately known to all the world. It was not common knowledge. The world rued it in retrospect. Syria is different: It is the first obvious,
Ahead of a day of prayer and fasting for Syria on Saturday, called for by Pope Francis, a Christian charity working in the country said church leaders there are appealing for help, not military intervention. “As U.S. President Barack Obama rallies support for a military strike on Syria, Christian leaders from the country have called on Western nations to focus their efforts instead on providing aid to help meet the ‘dire need’ of the suffering people,” said Barnabas Fund. In a letter Thursday to G20 leaders meeting in Russia, Pope Francis urged them to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military
September is National Preparedness Month, and in a news release urging everyone to be mindful of potential terror attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the federal government is ready to help: "While our federal family is becoming better prepared to support the nation, we know that being truly resilient requires the whole community coming together," she said. "Simply put: bystanders can’t stand by. We’ve seen countless times that bystanders are truly the first responders. They save lives. Each of us must be ready to help others when every minute counts."
DAMASCUS, Syria — The sound of artillery reverberated Thursday through a predominantly Christian village north of Damascus as government troops and al-Qaida-linked rebels battled for control of the mountainside sanctuary. The hit-and-run attacks on the ancient village of Maaloula, one of the few places in the world where residents still speak Aramaic, highlighted fears among Syria´s religious minorities about the growing role of extremists among those fighting in the civil war to topple President Bashar Assad´s regime. The fighting came as President Barack Obama´s administration pressed the U.S. Congress for its authorization of a military strike against the Assad regime, while
For some time we have been hearing, and in my case believing, that the United States of America is headed for a train wreck of gigantic proportions. Fiscally, socially, politically, and now President Obama has added militarily to the list among other things. The USA has always had the resiliency of a rubber band, but events of the last five years have all but taken away our ability to snap back. A rubber band can only stretch so far before it breaks. It is said that one definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting
On PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday night, New York Times columnist David Brooks warned that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and similar legislators’ rise to prominence threatens the traditional Republican Party. (Snip) “What’s going on in the House, and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism,” Brooks said. “And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, doesn’t have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he is going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., responded to Monday’s tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard with another plea for Congress to take action against gun violence. “This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?” asked Feinstein. “Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless
The Obama administration is nearing completion of a proposal to require that movie theaters offer technology so blind and deaf people can go to the cinema. The draft rule, which is part of a decades-long effort by advocates for people with disabilities, would likely require thousands of movie theaters across the country to offer devices that display closed captioning and provide audio narration of what’s happening onscreen.(Snip) But theater owners worry that a federal mandate will force small, rural and struggling theaters to close given the costs associated with the rule.
Cher has turned down the chance to open next year´s Winter Olympics in Russia as a protest to the country´s new anti-gay laws. (Snip) The 67-year-old, whose son Chaz underwent gender transition surgery in 2010, is the latest celebrity to react against the laws brought in by Vladimir Putin´s government in June. She said: ‘I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. ‘I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate
This report is coming from The Hill and relies pretty much on “Republican lawmakers” and staffers “speaking on condition of anonymity” so factor that in. But given what we’ve heard from some other members over the last couple of months, I wouldn’t find it terribly surprising if this were true. Republican lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with what they say is a lack of communication from their leaders. Both centrist and conservative members in the House believe that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants could have done more earlier this year to counter the Tea Party’s effort to defund
My friend and colleague Steve Grammatico is out with his new book, “You Hear Me, Barack?” a collection of his mordant, satirical takes on President Obama and his extended family of zany, lovable characters, including the First Lady, the vice president and a host of other comic-opera Public Enemies currently adored by the collection of circus clowns known as the White House Press Corps. Please enjoy my introduction and the following excerpts and remember: this is no dream, this is really happening.When the late Andrew Breitbart asked me in the fall of 2009 to start a new website called Big
WASHINGTON- The White House said Saturday U.S. President Barack Obama will speak next week about economic growth following the worst recession since the Great Depression. In a statement, the White House said the president will speak Monday in the Rose Garden to discuss "the progress we have made to grow the economy and create 7.5 million private sector jobs, and highlight the work we still need to do to strengthen the middle class and those fighting to get into it." The statement said Obama will "highlight his better bargain for the middle class, and warn against more self-inflicted wounds from
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the New York Times ran an article on what psychologists call the "impostor phenomenon." To measure it, they ask test subjects questions like, "At times, I feel my success has been due to some kind of luck" or "I can give the impression that I´m more competent than I really am." Although the article had nothing to do with Barack Obama, he would surely have scored off the charts had he answered those questions honestly. He was a reasonably bright guy but not the "brilliant" author and savant white liberals thought him to be. His "luck"
Syria has moved 20 trucks worth of equipment and material used for the manufacturing of chemical weapons into neighboring Iraq, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Sunday. The government in Baghdad has denied allegations that it is helping the Syrian government conceal chemical stockpiles. The report came just a day after the United States and Russia struck a deal stipulating that Syrian President Bashar Assad´s regime would destroy its chemical arsenal to avert an American military assault. The newspaper reported that the trucks crossed the boundary separating Syria with Iraq over the course of Thursday and Friday. Border guards did
On Sunday, President Obama joined ABC’s This Week to discuss the threat of Iranian nuclear development, and emphasized that he had not taken force off the table: “I think what the Iranians understand is that the nuclear issue is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that the threat…against Israel that a nuclear Iran poses is much closer to our core interests. My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn’t draw a lesson that we haven’t struck [Syria] to think we won’t strike Iran.” Obama added that Iran should learn from Syria that diplomatic solutions
A video (from the Daily Caller) reveals the Republican Party´s real angst about the Tea Party. David Brooks (the Gray Lady´s idea of a housebroken conservative) laments, to PBS´s Judy Woodruff that Republican legislators like Ted Cruz aren´t "normal members. . . going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances and . . . pass a lot of legislation" while interesting themselves in "the perks . . . the leadership has to offer." Indeed, Brooks asserts, "They´re not [real] legislators" at all -- just obstructionists "who want to stop things." All of which conversely implies Brooks believes real legislators are ones who
SEATTLE - A local man has died and a woman is in serious condition after they were stabbed repeatedly by a stranger who confronted them Friday night as they were walking in Pioneer Square after the Seattle Sounders game, police said. Friends identified the man who died as Troy Wolff, 46, who was chairman of the English Department at Shoreline Community College and had taught there for 17 years. He was walking with his girlfriend near 3rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street at about 10:30 p.m. Friday when she was suddenly confronted by a man who pulled out a small knife and