Archives for News

House panel votes to delay gays in military plan

A House panel approved a defense bill early Thursday that would delay President Barack Obama’s new policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military and limit the commander in chief’s authority on slashing the nation’s nuclear arsenal. By a vote of 60-1, the House Armed Services Committee approved the broad, $553 billion defense blueprint that would provide a 1.6 percent increase in military pay, fund an array of aircraft, ships and submarines, slightly increase health care fees for working-age retirees and meet the Pentagon’s request for an additional $118 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lone
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Most Americans want a strong third political party

Most Americans want to see a third political party become viable so they have a real choice at the polls on election day. A new Gallup Poll shows 52 percent of Republicans want a third party. The same poll shows 60 percent of those who identify themselves with the tea party want a third party. Gallup says a majority of Americans overall have wanted to see a third party since 2006. So why don’t we have a real third party movement in this nation? Jeffrey Young of Gallup says widespread dissatisfaction with status quo and a general unhappiness with the
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Obama’s approval rating hits 60 percent

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has hit its highest point in two years — 60 percent — and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans — a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election — caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.
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Boehner: Trillions in cuts needed to reduce deficit

The top Republican in Congress wants trillions of dollars in spending cuts as part of must-pass legislation allowing the federal government to continue borrowing to keep it operating and meeting obligations to investors. It’s a new, ambitious marker in a battle over the budget that’s expected to consume Congress for much of the summer. House Speaker John Boehner also said that any legislation to raise the so-called debt limit beyond its current $14.3 trillion cap should be accompanied by spending cuts larger than the amount of the permitted increase in the debt. The Ohio Republican made the comments in a
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Obama, GOP share some common ground on Medicare cuts

Unlikely as it may seem, President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress actually share some common ground on the need to curb Medicare costs to fight the spiraling federal debt. Although the House GOP plan to replace Medicare with a voucher-like system got shunted aside last week, that may not be the end of the story. Embedded in both the Republican plan and in Obama’s counter-proposal is the idea of putting limits on the growth of the half-trillion-dollar-a-year program — and then enforcing them. High-level deficit negotiations resume Tuesday under the stewardship of Vice President Joe Biden, and tackling health
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Vets unhappy with health care cost increases

Health care fees for working-age military retirees would increase slightly under a defense bill unveiled Monday that drew fierce opposition from the 2.1 million-strong Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Pentagon is reeling from health care costs that have jumped from $19 billion in 2001 to $53 billion in the latest budget request. Determined to slash expenses, President Barack Obama is seeking a boost in fees that have remained unchanged for 11 years. The defense bill proposed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., goes along with a small increase in the next budget but limits long-term increases
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CIA ran bin Laden operation

Has anyone noticed that CIA Director Leon Panetta has said a lot more about the Navy commandos’ killing of Osama bin Laden than has the Pentagon chief, who, after all, is second in the military chain of command behind President Barack Obama? The reason Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said exactly nothing about the raid is that the CIA, not the Pentagon, ran the operation. That fact speaks volumes about the government’s rarely noticed post-9/11 melding of military might with intelligence craft. It’s gotten a lot harder lately to distinguish between soldier and spy. The blending of the two missions
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Pakistan deploys lobbyists to save U.S. aid

Within hours of the stunning announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. commandos, a lobbying firm representing Pakistan’s government began contacting members of Congress and their staffs to counter claims Islamabad protected the al-Qaida chief for nearly six years. The push by Locke Lord Strategies to turn the tide against criticism of Pakistan — and preserve the country’s billions of dollars in U.S. aid — illustrates one of Washington’s enduring realities: No matter the issue or the crisis, lobbyists are working behind the scenes to shape opinions on Capitol Hill. At stake is the continued flow of
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No evidence that Pakistan knew bin Laden was living there

The Obama administration has seen no evidence Pakistan’s leadership knew Osama bin Laden was living in that country before his killing last week by U.S. forces, the U.S. national security adviser said on Sunday. “I can tell you directly that — I’ve not seen evidence that would tell us that the political, the military, or the intelligence leadership had foreknowledge — of bin Laden,” Tom Donilon told NBC’s “Meet the Press” when asked if Pakistan was guilty of harboring the al Qaeda leader. But he added bin Laden’s residence for several years inside a compound in Abbottabad, 35 miles north
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Obama: Risky plan to get bin Laden was best option

President Barack Obama says he knew that sending special forces in helicopters to get Osama bin Laden at his Pakistan compound was risky, but he felt it was the best way to make sure they had their man. In an interview aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” the president said he thought it was very important to be able to be sure. “In some ways, sending in choppers and actually putting our guys on the ground entailed some greater risks than some other options,” Obama said. “I thought it was important, though, for us to be able to say that
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