Archives for News

Comebacks fall flat in New York primaries

Anthony Weiner’s ill-fated mayoral campaign ended with a string of final embarrassments: He mustered a mere 5 percent at the ballot box. One of his sexting partners tried to crash his primary night rally. And Weiner was caught making an obscene gesture to reporters as he was driven away. Outside a “victory” party where supporters mourned a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Democratic primary, cameras crowded around Sydney Leathers, the 23-year-old whose sexting with the former congressman brought his once-high-flying campaign to a screeching halt. “Why not be here?” Leathers asked reporters. “I’m kind of the reason he’s losing. So,
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What Obama must address in speech to nation

President Barack Obama is grasping all his tools of persuasion in trying to turn around public opinion and rally congressional support for a strike against Syria. He’s got tricky ground to cover in his Oval Office address Tuesday night and acknowledged on the eve of it that Americans don’t back his course. A guide to weak spots in his case, and some opportunities, in advance of the speech: LATE TO THE BULLY PULPIT Until recent days, Secretary of State John Kerry was the point man both with Congress and the public in arguing that Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons
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Americans overwhelmingly oppose attack on Syria

Only 1 in 5 Americans believe that failing to respond to chemical weapons attacks in Syria would embolden other rogue governments, rejecting the heart of a weeks-long White House campaign for U.S. military strikes, an Associated Press poll has concluded. The poll of 1,007 adults nationwide found that most Americans oppose even a limited attack on Syria — likely with cruise missiles — despite Obama administration warnings that inaction would risk national security and ignore a gruesome humanitarian crisis. And a slim majority — 53 percent — fear that a strike would lead to a long-term U.S. military commitment in
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An offhand remark by Kerry put a Syria deal into play

Whether deft diplomacy or a rhetorical stumble, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has managed to crack open the door to a possible solution to the Syrian crisis that could get President Barack Obama and U.S. lawmakers out of a bind, save Syria from a bombing and cast Russia as peacemaker. Kerry’s seemingly off-hand suggestion on Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might avert a U.S. military strike if he surrendered all of his chemical weapons offered a potential escape hatch that no one had seriously proposed before – and that could end up leading nowhere. But in a sign
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As opposition to Syria attack grows, Obama tries diplomacy

With opposition to military action growing among Americans and lawmakers, President Barack Obama is heading to Congress on Tuesday with fresh hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough that would allow Syria’s government to avert U.S. missile strikes if it surrenders its chemical weapons arsenal. Obama had planned to use the meetings with Democratic and Republican senators to personally lobby for his plan of targeted strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s forces in retaliation for last month’s massive chemical weapons attack outside of Damascus. Instead, he signaled in interviews ahead of his trip to Capitol Hill that new diplomacy involving Russia and
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Sharp slide in support for Obama’s plans to attack Syria

White House efforts to convince the U.S. Congress to back military action against Syria are not only failing, they seem to be stiffening the opposition. That was the assessment on Sunday, not of an opponent but of an early and ardent Republican supporter of Obama‘s plan for attacking Syria, the influential Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers. Rogers told CBS’s “Face the Nation” the White House had made a “confusing mess” of the Syria issue. Now, he said, “I’m skeptical myself.” Congress will be in session on Monday for the first time since the August recess. Debate
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Say what? Republicans now pushing immigration in House

In the five weeks since he declared his support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster has gotten an earful. One constituent told the second-term Republican that immigrants carry disease. Another said immigrants would steal jobs away from Americans. “You cannot stop illegal immigration by rewarding it,” another man said at a recent town hall-style meeting in Groveland, a rural community west of Orlando. “Amnesty is a reward.” As Congress returns to work this week after its summer break, Webster faces perhaps an even tougher crowd: fellow Republicans. Webster is among about two dozen GOP lawmakers who support
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NSA can — and does — access most of your smartphone data

The U.S. National Security Agency is able to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices, giving it access to users’ data on all major smartphones, according to a report Sunday in German news weekly Der Spiegel. The magazine cited internal documents from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams for each type of phone as part of their effort to gather intelligence on potential threats such as terrorists. The data obtained this way includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information, Der Spiegel reported. The documents don’t
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Plenty of doubt about ‘evidence’ of Syria gas attack

The U.S. government insists it has the intelligence to prove it, but the American public has yet to see a single piece of concrete evidence — no satellite imagery, no transcripts of Syrian military communications — connecting the government of President Bashar Assad to the alleged chemical weapons attack last month that killed hundreds of people. In the absence of such evidence, Damascus and its ally Russia have aggressively pushed another scenario: that rebels carried out the Aug. 21 chemical attack. Neither has produced evidence for that case, either. That’s left more questions than answers as the U.S. threatens a
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‘Common sense’ to hold Assad of Syria responsible?

The White House asserted Sunday that a “common-sense test” rather than “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” makes the Syrian government responsible for a chemical weapons attack that President Barack Obama says demands a U.S. military response. As part of a major push to win the backing of a divided Congress and skeptical American public, Obama’s top aide made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to press the case for “targeted, limited consequential action to deter and degrade” the capabilities of Syrian President Bashar Assad “to carry out these terrible attacks again.” At the same time, chief of staff Denis McDonough acknowledged
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