U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies monitoring security at the Sochi Olympics say the southern Russian city faces a high risk of an Islamist terrorism attack. One message from a security analyst to those considering attending the Winter Games: Don’t go.
The Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 6-23 in Sochi, the port city on the western shore of the Black Sea and about 25 miles north of the Russian border with Georgia.
Motor City has become Murder City. With 333 homicides of all kinds last year, Detroit tops the list of major cities under siege by violent criminals. The man with the nation’s most thankless job, Detroit Police Chief James E. Craig, shocked the establishment when he said last week that he thinks the solution to Motown’s crime is more guns.
Chief Craig served nearly three decades in the Los Angeles Police Department, where “it took an act of Congress” to get permission to carry a gun. That’s how he once thought things ought to be done. He was a standard-issue big-city police official. Then he moved east to become the top cop in Portland, Maine, one of the safest cities he had ever been in and where many people own guns.
House passes Obamacare security-notification law; 67 Democrats join GOP majority オバマケア情報流出通告法案が通過、民主議員67人も賛成
The House passed a bill Friday that requires the federal government to notify consumers within two days if their personal data has been breached on online-based insurance markets tied to the new health care law.
Roughly one third of voting Democrats joined the Republican majority in passing the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, 291 votes to 122, even though the Obama administration said legislation is unnecessary because notification rules are in place.
Iraq’s ambassador to Washington says the Obama administration doesn’t fully grasp the consequences of failing to more aggressively combat a surging al Qaeda threat inside his country, pointedly suggesting that President Obama has been less engaged with Baghdad than his predecessor.
“The administration has to have a better understanding of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to Iraq,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told The Washington Times in an interview Wednesday. “It cannot afford a whole town or province of Iraq falling to al Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national security to do that.”
The year 2013 ends with higher taxes, more spending and a stagnant economy. The promise of “hope and change” remains as elusive as ever and likely will stay that way until voters give Washington new marching orders in the 2014 midterm elections.
A poll for CNN, released last week, gives Republicans a 5-point edge against Democrats in a generic ballot. Surveys that don’t include the names of actual candidates aren’t worth a lot, particularly 10 months before an election. Voters’ moods and attitudes change quickly. In October, the Democrats were crowing about a 12-point advantage during the government shutdown squabble. But what the latest poll shows is that change lies within the grasp of Republicans – providing they don’t blow it.
Colo. Democrats blamed for $80M hit to economy by pushing out gun firm Magpul 銃規制でコロラド州経済に8000万ドルの打撃、民主党に非難
DENVER – Democrats came under heavy criticism Friday for driving Magpul Industries out of Colorado by pushing an aggressive gun-control agenda, a move that could cost the state more than $80 million annually.
Republican state Rep. Lori Saine said she was “saddened to see this completely partisan law, widely considered unenforceable by sheriffs across Colorado, cause Magpul to leave our state.”
Pre-Olympics terror attacks, Boston bombings may be linked to ‘Russian bin Laden’ 五輪前にロシアでテロ、ボストン事件と関連か
Two suicide bombings targeting Russian civilians just weeks from the opening of Winter Olympics have renewed fears that a Chechen terrorist known as the “Russian bin Laden” may be bent on committing or inspiring more attacks on so-called soft targets, and possibly major international sporting events.
Such concerns reared their head in April amid evidence that one of the two young Chechen immigrants who executed two deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon drew inspiration from Doku Umarov, the 49-year-old leader of the regional terrorist network known as the Caucasus Emirate whose stated goal is to establish an Islamic state inside Russia.
Christmas continues to cheer our increasingly secularized and benighted world, and this sets on edge the teeth of its relentless detractors. Consider the length to which the Grinches go to persuade us that Christmas is nothing special. Proving a negative is always a challenge, but arguing there’s no original cause for the Christmas effect is a hopeless exercise. Despite the war on the celebration of the birth of the Christ, the spirit of the season endures.
The American Atheists group this year has purchased space on a huge electronic billboard above New York’s Times Square to flash the question: “Who needs Christ during Christmas?” The word “Christ” is crossed out, replaced with “nobody.” Nobody, of course, is the patron of the atheists, who urge everyone to believe in nothing. With the zeal of Saul-turned-Paul on the road to Damascus, the atheists urge New Yorkers to “Celebrate the true meaning of Xmas,” without saying exactly what the meaning might be. New Yorkers, famous for brusque street demeanor, gave a television reporter an earful of unfestive Gotham response. The atheists still have a lot of work to do.
Obama, as president of the ‘Great Satan,’ likely won’t make a personal visit to Iran オバマ氏のイラン訪問は非現実的
On Iran, don’t expect President Obama to have his “Nixon to China” moment.
Despite reports from foreign news outlets, the White House fiercely denies it is considering a trip to the Middle Eastern nation, throwing cold water on the idea that the president will personally reboot the U.S.-Iranian relationship with a visit to Tehran.
The sharp divisions among the states on gay marriage in the U.S. are being repeated on the global stage, with some countries rushing ahead to approve such unions but others － including India, Russia, Australia and Uganda － moving in the opposite direction.
What is the state of gay marriage internationally? “Ironically, it’s all over the map,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
Some liberals think it’s payback time in Wisconsin. Conservatives have made substantial inroads in traditionally blue states, notably with the election and retention of Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, in Wisconsin. Democrats think this is unacceptable, and they’re using a prosecutor and his power and authority to deliver the message.
Three years ago, the Milwaukee County district attorney opened an unusual legal process known as a “John Doe” investigation, targeting a who’s who of prominent Republicans and conservatives in Wisconsin, looking for violations of campaign-finance law. Under this rarely used procedure, groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth have been forced to turn over hundreds of thousands of emails and confidential documents.
China growing ‘more concerned’ about North Korea, former top U.S. diplomat says 北朝鮮への懸念強める中国、米元外交官が指摘
The former top diplomat who oversaw the Obama administration’s self-described “pivot to Asia” says recent moves by North Korea’s young dictator Kim Jong-un have triggered unease in China, which has long served as North Korea’s main ally in the region.
“There are indications that China has grown steadily more concerned by the brutal goings-on in Pyongyang and the provocations staged against its neighbors,” said Kurt M. Campbell, who served as the administration’s assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs throughout most of Mr. Obama’s first term in office.
President Obama’s internal review panel has accused the government of abusing the Patriot Act and said many of the intelligence community’s key tools should be reined in, including the NSA’s phone-snooping program and the FBI’s use of national security letters to demand secret information from private businesses, according to the stunning report released Wednesday.
The panel told Mr. Obama to scrap the National Security Agency’s phone-records collection program, saying it’s an infringement of privacy, and said the government instead should ask phone companies to store the records. The NSA would be able to ask for the records only when it deems national security is at stake.
Most mourners at a funeral are happy that the occasion isn’t about them, but President Obama wants star billing everywhere he goes, even at the gates of paradise. Speaking Tuesday in Johannesburg at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the president imagined that a somber occasion where the eyes of the world were upon him was an appropriate stage for advancing his political agenda at home.
“We know that like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation,” Mr. Obama told assembled thousands and the millions watching on television. “Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America and South Africa, and countries around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not done.”
Russian moves in Ukraine and other nations carved out of the Soviet Union are reviving memories of the Cold War power struggles for influence between Moscow and Washington.
The fierce standoff in Kiev between pro-Western and pro-Russian elements in Ukrainian society is the latest manifestation of the revival of the competition between the two Cold War superpowers. Despite conflicting signals from Kiev in recent days, many see Russian President Vladimir Putin with the clear initiative in the contest.
Top officials at the Homeland Security Department skirted customary channels in negotiating a special U.S. customs facility at an international airport in the United Arab Emirates, and then some advised on UAE security-related projects after leaving the government, according to congressional and business sources.
Formal plans for a pre-clearance center in Abu Dhabi, one of the seven monarchies that make up the UAE, have sparked congressional concerns about U.S. border security and about the economic impact on the airline industry, where the plan faces opposition from some domestic carriers and airline unions.
After five years of stimulus schemes ranging from federal bailouts and a trillion-dollar stimulus package to the Cash for Clunkers program, Americans have yet to enjoy the “Recovery Summer” that they were once promised. Now, President Obama is promoting food stamps as the next great form of economic stimulus.
The White House last week featured on its website a list of things Americans should “keep in mind” on Thanksgiving. Food stamps (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) were at the top of the list. “SNAP is boosting the economy right now,” the administration explained. “SNAP’s effect extends beyond the food on a family’s table – to the grocery stores, truck drivers, warehouses, processing plants and farmers that helped get it there.” While Mr. Obama has occupied the Oval Office, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone up 67.7 percent. Our economy ought to be going gangbusters by now.
Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal ‘not based on trust’ イスラエルの不安を鎮めようとするオバマ氏、イラン核合意は「信頼に基づいていない」
President Obama acknowledged Saturday that he’d prefer to see a much harsher agreement with Iran, one that not only shuts down the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear program entirely but also eliminates all of its “military capabilities.” Such an option, however, isn’t on the table and is simply unrealistic, the president said, which is why critics of the recent deal with Iran – both domestically and across the globe, particularly in Israel – should be content with what has been achieved thus far.
“If we could create an option in which Iran eliminated every single nut and bolt of their nuclear program and foreswore the possibility of ever having a nuclear program, and for that matter, got rid of all of its military capabilities, I would take it. But that particular option is not available,” Mr. Obama said Saturday at a Brookings Institution forum dedicated to the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, which has come under some strain as Israeli officials decry the deal reached between Iran, the U.S. and its international partners.
The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.
In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the military’s directives on drone strikes.
President Obama’s deal-making skills usually shortchange America. He puts the world at risk by coddling an Iran loving the bomb; he requires Americans to purchase health care they don’t want from a website that doesn’t work. Now the administration is compelling utility companies to pay for a nuclear-waste storage site they can’t use, and never will.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week ordered the Energy Department to stop charging nuclear-power firms $750 million in annual fees to pay for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in the wilderness of Nevada. Though more than $12 billion has been spent building the site, the administration has decided not to use it, in deference to the senior senator from Las Vegas and his decree of “not in my backyard.” The court said the administration had failed to present a convincing argument for further collection of the fees, and attempting to use “the old razzle-dazzle” obscures the fact that the government has no plan to spend the money.
President Obama completed an ambitious fundraising schedule for Democrats in November, but many of the congressional candidates he is trying to help are finding their election prospects next year imperiled by the president’s faulty health care law.
Several polls in the past week have shown congressional Republicans pulling even or slightly ahead of Democrats in generic balloting for the midterm elections, a swing of at least 10 percentage points in less than a month. Pollsters attribute the seismic shift to the series of glaring flaws in Obamacare, most of which came to the public’s attention after the program’s rollout Oct. 1.
Rules of engagement limit the actions of U.S. troops and drones in Afghanistan アフガンでの米兵・無人機の行動を制限する交戦規程
The new U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement adds restrictions on already bureaucratic rules of engagement for American troops by making Afghan dwellings virtual safe havens for the enemy, combat veterans say.
The rules of engagement place the burden on U.S. air and ground troops to confirm with certainty that a Taliban fighter is armed before they can fire － even if they are 100 percent sure the target is the enemy. In some cases, aerial gunships have been denied permission to fire even though they reported that targets on the move were armed.
With the debris of his health care scheme falling like autumn leaves, President Obama is looking for news, any news, to suggest that his White House is doing something, anything, right. He landed on the most unlikely candidate last week. He’s taking credit for the surge in the production of oil, which exceeded imports for the first time in 18 years.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration announced Wednesday that daily U.S. crude-oil production averaged 7.7 million barrels in October, with net imports falling to the lowest level since 1991. American production is just getting ramped up, and the agency forecasts daily production levels reaching 8.5 million barrels next year.