President Obama’s proposal to Republicans to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff — huge tax increases, huge spending increases, and no serious entitlement reform — is risible. What the president is offering up is essentially his last budget, which didn’t win a single vote of support from any member of Congress. It may be that this proposal was simply an extreme negotiating position that will be dramatically reshaped over the next 27 days. Or it may be that the president is, for political reasons, happy to have us go over the cliff.
An eight-minute animated video that channels Occupy Wall Street is a "disgusting hit piece" and "propaganda," says Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity. Ed Asner became the target of conservatives late Tuesday for appearing in a cartoon created by the California Federation of Teachers that excoriates wealthy Americans for not paying their "fair share" of taxes. Asner, the Mary Tyler Moore and Lou Grant star who has called himself a socialist, narrates an eight-minute video called Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale
BEIRUT, Lebanon- The German government of Chancellor Angela Merkel is eyeing big arms deals in the Middle East and Asia that could make the country a major global defense exporter. The deals reportedly include a Saudi Arabian request for Boxer armored cars built by defense giant Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, which is already in line to sell Riyadh 600 Leopard 2A7+ tanks worth $12.6 billion. German newspapers say Riyadh´s looking for "several hundred" armored vehicles modified for desert combat.
WASHINGTON- House Republicans´ "fiscal cliff" counteroffer to President Barack Obama hints at billions of dollars in military cuts on top of the nearly $500 billion that the White House and Congress backed last year, and even the fiercest defense hawks acknowledge that the Pentagon faces another financial hit. The proposal that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders sent to the White House this week calls for cuts of $300 billion in discretionary spending to achieve savings of $2.2 trillion over 10 years. The blueprint offered no specifics on the cuts, although the Pentagon and defense-related
A special Cook County grand jury indicted former Mayor Richard Daley´s nephew on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman in a drunken confrontation on the city’s Near North Side, the special prosecutor said today. The grand jury found that Richard J. Vanecko "recklessly performed acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another" in Koschman’s death in 2004, according to the indictment. Headline split by staff
Last week, a book review appeared in the Wall Street Journal by South African journalist Rian Malan, a man from the Afrikaner family who ran the apartheid regime but broke with them and became an opponent of apartheid. Still, he was a journalist of integrity who did not hesitate to report on and to write about the dark side of the African liberation movement. His first book, My Traitor’s Heart, was an international bestseller in which Malan traced out his return from exile as he sought to learn the truth about his racist ancestors
San Diego veterans who served post-9/11 can apply for a program announced Monday that would guarantee them a job at Qualcomm. The program, through the Manpower San Diego staffing agency, will provide the veterans two weeks of paid training on how to navigate and participate in the civilian work force. Then, it´s off to Qualcomm, where the graduates will have six-month, 40 hour-a-week positions in the company´s information technology department. Phil Blair, the CEO of Manpower San Diego, said the program - called "Strategies for Success" - would pay the veterans $15 per hour
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Monday called on Fatah to join his movement in the fight against Israel and to stop wasting time and effort with the peace process. Zahar’s call came as Hamas and Fatah representatives stepped up their efforts to end their differences and achieve “national reconciliation.” Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Ramallah that his top priority now was to end the rivalry with Hamas, and said he saw no reason why the two sides could not reach an agreement on holding presidential and parliamentary elections.
Washington - The US Senate on Tuesday voted 98-0 to approve a wide-ranging defense bill that authorizes $631.4 billion in funding for the US military, the war in Afghanistan and nuclear weapons. The bill, passed after five days of debate and consideration of hundreds of amendments, must be reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives before it can go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. There are several key differences between the House and Senate bills, including whether to back continued work by the military on developing biofuels for jets and warships.
The entire conflict between Israel and the Arabs is over their denial of Israel’s right to exist and not about Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. (Snip) “What was the war about? The war was about our very existence. We left areas that we captured in the Six Day War, like the Gaza Strip, and they fire missiles at us. “Therefore, our top public diplomacy mission is to explain that the root of this conflict is not territorial,” said Netanyahu. “It is over our very existence in any borders whatsoever. “From 1967 until today, for 45 years, day in,
The number of terrorist attacks each year has more than quadrupled in the decade since 9/11, according to a study launched today. The Global Terrorist Index showed that in 2002 there were 982 separate attacks. By 2011 that had risen to 4,564. Researchers suggest the U.S. military interventions pursued as part of the West´s anti-al Qaeda ´war on terror´ may have made terrorism worse. It also said it was impossible to prove whether the policy made the U.S homeland safer. Despite the increase in attacks in the past ten years, the number of deaths in terrorists attacks has fallen.
On the day after the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution recognizing Palestine as an observer state, including East Jerusalem and borders based on the pre-1967 lines, Israel announced plans to build additional housing in and around Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The Obama administration responded quickly with a series of condemnations. Several European countries, including France, Britain, Spain, Sweden and Denmark, summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest Israel’s decisions. Blind to the implications of the General Assembly’s full-throated endorsement
United Nations - The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled. (Snip) The resolution, approved Monday by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty ‘‘without further delay’’ and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting ‘‘no’’ were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.
Lawmakers in the House have proposed establishing a Watergate-style investigatory committee aimed at exploring every aspect of the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans. Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) and a delegation of his colleagues introduced a resolution Tuesday to establish a House select committee, much like the one that investigated and ultimately brought down former President Richard Nixon. (Snip) “The Congress has an obligation to fully investigate this attack in order to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities as it does its
The budget standoff between the White House and House Republicans appears to be getting worse. President Obama has now flatly rejected the GOP proposal for revenue increases and spending cuts. His reason: any revenue increase that does not include a tax increase for the wealthy is unacceptable. The president believes the purpose of the tax code and, indeed, the only reason to prolong the fiscal crisis, is to punish the rich even though doing so does little to balance the budget. Moreover, he clings to this position even though the GOP has offered alternative methods for raising revenue.
The conventional wisdom about the Israeli government’s decision to allow new building projects in Jerusalem in the E1 area between the city and the Ma’ale Adumim suburb is that it was a blunder. Critics of Prime Minister Netanyahu claim the move has worsened relations with the United States, alienated European nations and heightened the country’s diplomatic isolation. (Snip) But like most pieces of conventional wisdom, the assumption that Netanyahu has hurt his country is not accurate. Even if shovels went in the ground in the E1 area tomorrow — something that actually won’t happen for a long
They are separated by several generations. But veteran television journalist Barbara Walters has named Honey Boo Boo as one of her Most Fascinating People of 2012. The 83-year-old has been spellbound by the antics of the spoiled six-year-old beauty queen, whose real name is Alana Thompson. Barbara told Us Magazine the reason the TLC show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a hit as it exposes the touching bond she has with her mother June. She said: ´It´s a love story. It´s a very sweet, loving story. ´A lot of people will say, "For heaven´s sake, this is ridiculous,
Wana, Pakistan - A suicide car bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of an army base in northwestern Pakistan, security officials said on Wednesday. There was no immediate information on casualties from the blast in Wana, the capital of the South Waziristan region.
Conservative Republican Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan hit back at Republican leadership on Tuesday, following their Monday removal from prominent committees, calling the move “petty” and “vindictive,” and accusing Speaker of the House John Boehner and his deputies of silencing independent conservative voices in preparation to steamroll a tax hike through Congress. Huelskamp — who was removed from the Agriculture and Budget Committees — released a video on Friday declaring his intention to not vote for any tax increases and received notice of his removal on Monday, “one business day” later.
Bloomberg News is reporting that President Barack Obama is considering nominating Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, to be either his next ambassador to Britain or France. (Snip) Wintour and Hollywood actress Sarah Jessica Parker hosted an $80,000 plate fundraiser in New York City for Obama during the election this year at Parker´s penthouse in Manhattan. It should be noted that the NY Times reported on a February of 2011 Vogue feature about the regime’s relationship with Wintour´s magazine. I described the piece in June 2012 Water Cooler post: According to a New York Times
Washington - Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, who takes over as head of international forces in Afghanistan next year, faces the challenge of winding down a war in a country where he has little experience using a strategy he did not devise. Dunford, whose nomination was confirmed by the Senate on Monday night, will be the fifth commander of the International Security Assistance Force since President Barack Obama took office, a leadership churn that worries Afghan war analysts. Friends and colleagues describe Dunford, the Marine Corps assistant commandant, as a calm and
This was a real statement made by the leader of the free world, the most powerful man on the planet, President Barack Obama: (Snip) “da bears still gotta shot” There are so many things wrong with this. For a president who has actually done some good things in terms of education reform, he’s really struggling to construct a basic sentence. Even with the limitations imposed by Twitter, President Obama still could have spelled out “the.” It would have cost him no characters to properly write “got a” and to capitalize the “p” in “plus.” However, Obama didn’t have to because his point was not to engage
Yes, we lost. But I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say that ACORN stole the election, do you? PPP´s first post election national poll finds that Republicans are taking the results pretty hard...and also declining in numbers. 49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn´t exist anymore.
The Senate has failed to ratify an international treaty intended to protect the rights of those with disabilities, as a bloc of conservatives opposed the treaty believing it could interfere with U.S. law. The Senate voted 61 to 38 to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, a tally that fell short of the two-thirds needed to sign on to an international treaty. The 2006 treaty, which forbids discrimination of the disabled, has enjoyed bipartisan support. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the treaty would encourage
The father of a former Navy SEAL killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, says he learned the details of his son’s bravery not from the Obama administration, but in an email from an American whose life was saved by his son. Tyrone Woods, 41, was found “slumped over his machine gun, which was caked with blood,” Charles Woods, the former SEAL’s father, said during a telephone interview from his home in Hawaii. “He had continued to fire until he had no blood left and was unable to fire anymore,” Mr. Woods said.
CAIRO — Egypt’s Islamist president fled his palace by the back door Tuesday as riot police used clubs and tear gas to battle thousands of demonstrators protesting his seizure of broad powers that enabled him to push through a draft constitution. Protesters proclaimed the march on the presidential residence in Cairo a “last warning” to President Mohammed Morsi. They shouted, “We want the downfall of the regime” and “leave, leave,” echoing chants used against authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February 2011. Observers feared for the stability