In June, President Obama announced his Climate Change Action Plan, which calls for cutting total U.S. carbon pollution by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. A key part of that effort is placing limits on the amount of CO2 emitted by power plants,…
Stephen Colbert returned from his two-week hiatus last night and opened with a cutting critique of John Oliver and his English accent, before moving on to criticize the Obama administration for its clumsy handling of the escalation of the war with Syria.
“I don’t ‘sprechen sie Italiano,” he said, “but while I was overseas, I couldn’t really get much of the news. But from what I could make out, President Obama wanted to drop Miley Cyrus on Damascus. Which, correct if I’m wrong, I believe is a war crime.”
He went on to ridicule the administration for its objection to the use of chemical weapons on his own people, noting that “before, [Assad] was just killing them with bullets. Because if America was concerned with shooting people, we’d be invading Chicago.”
Watch the entire video via Comedy Central below:
Lawyers for Chelsea Manning filed a request for a pardon from President Barack Obama on Tuesday following the soldier’s 35-year jail sentence for the biggest intelligence leak in US history.
“Private Manning’s pardon request was filed today by our office,” attorney David Coombs said on Twitter.
The lawyer had indicated his intention to seek a pardon on August 21, when a military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years behind bars for her massive disclosure of intelligence including some 700,000 classified diplomatic and military documents.
Manning, formerly a US Army intelligence analyst, was prosecuted as a man, Bradley Manning, but the day after being sentenced asked to be recognized as a woman.
A separate statement released by Amnesty International on Tuesday urged Obama to take a sympathetic stance towards Manning and grant clemency, saying the soldier’s sentence was a “blight on the US human rights record.”
“President Obama should grant Manning clemency for time served, protect whistleblowers, and provide accountability for crimes like those Manning exposed,” Amnesty said.
The rights group noted that Manning’s sentence “contrasts with the leniency given those responsible for torture and other types of grave human rights violations” revealed by the soldier’s disclosures.
Pro-Syrian regime hackers posted messages on a US Marine Corps recruiting website on Monday, urging troops to defy orders from President Barack Obama.
The hackers showed photos of people in American uniforms holding hand-written signs saying they would not fight for Al-Qaeda in Syria.
“Obama is a traitor who wants to put your lives in danger to rescue al-Qaeda insurgents,” the message read, according to a screenshot from The Wall Street Journal.
The US Marine Corps confirmed the intrusion but said the affected site, Marines.com, the official recruitment portal for the Corps, was back to normal.
“Marines.com itself was not compromised or ‘hacked,” said Captain Eric Flanagan in a statement. “It was redirected for a limited amount of hours overnight.”
The site “is now operating normally and our team is actively monitoring the situation and prepared to mitigate any future issues,” he added.
The Marine Corps could not confirm who had defaced the site but the Syria Electronic Army reportedly claimed responsibility.
The group has claimed credit for recent cyber hacking of The New York Times, The Washington Post and other websites.
The Marine Corps site was hacked after President Obama said he backed military action against the Syrian regime in retaliation over the alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people.
Obama has put off any strike for the moment, saying he first wanted Congress to weigh in on the issue.
The Syrian regime has portrayed the country’s civil war as a fight against “terrorists” while US officials have acknowledged the presence of Al-Qaeda militants among a divided opposition.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
Syria on Sunday said US President Barack Obama has grown “hesitant… and confused”, after he postponed a threatened military strike on Damascus pending a vote in Congress.
“President Obama was clearly hesitant, disappointed and confused when he spoke yesterday,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad told reporters, in the Syrian regime’s first reaction to Obama’s announcement.
Muqdad also slammed France’s government as “irresponsible” and accused it of trying to dupe its own people over its support of a military strike on Damascus over an alleged gas attack.
“There is a responsible government in Syria but there is no responsible government in Paris,” he said. French political leaders had “falsified facts and supported organisations like Al-Qaeda.”
“We believe the (French) president and his foreign minister are deceiving the French people to justify the failed policies against Syria, and they will not succeed,” he told reporters in Damascus.
After Obama delayed any attack on the Syrian regime until after Congress meets on September 9 following summer recess, Muqdad urged US lawmakers to show “wisdom” in their vote on military action.
“We ask the US Congress to show wisdom,” he said, once again denying his regime was behind an alleged poison gas attack on August 21 that precipitated American and French calls for military action.
“Chemical weapons have been used by Al-Qaeda and those who are in their pay thanks to what Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other countries supply to these terrorists,” he said, using the government’s term for anti-regime rebels.
President Obama says that there is no potential for “boots on the ground” or a “long-term campaign” in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.
Watch the video, courtesy of NBC News below:
Inspector general’s admission undermines fresh insistences from president that breaches of privacy rules were inadvertent
US intelligence analysts have deliberately broken rules designed to prevent them from spying on Americans, according to an admission by the National Security Agency that undermines fresh insistences from Barack Obama on Friday that all breaches were inadvertent.
A report by the NSA’s inspector general is understood to have uncovered a number of examples of analysts choosing to ignore so-called “minimisation procedures” aimed at protecting privacy, according to officials speaking to Bloomberg.
“Over the past decade, very rare instances of wilful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found,” the NSA confirmed in a statement to the news agency. “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations – responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”
Though likely to be a small subset of the thousands of supposedly accidental rule breaches recently revealed by the Washington Post, these cases flatly contradict assurances given by President Obama that the NSA was only ever acting in good faith.
Asked by CNN interviewer Chris Cuomo on Thursday whether he was “confident that you know everything that’s going on within that agency and that you can say to the American people, ‘It’s all done the right way’?”, Obama insisted he was.
“Because there are no allegations, and I am very confident – knowing the NSA and how they operate – that purposefully somebody is out there trying to abuse this program or listen in on people’s email,” he said in the interview that aired on Friday.
The fresh revelations came as Obama’s new privacy watchdog delivered its first bark, with a letter to intelligence chiefs urging them draft stronger rules on domestic surveillance, something it revealed had not been updated for 30 years.
The intervention of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, its first since the appointment of new staff by the White House earlier this year, came as Obama acknowledged that technology was outpacing the checks put in place to protect privacy and said the National Security Agency was “scary to people”.
“I think there are legitimate concerns that people have that technology is moving so quick that, you know, at some point, does the technology outpace the laws that are in place and the protections that are in place?,” said the president in the CNN interview. “Do some of these systems end up being like a loaded gun out there that somebody at some future point could abuse?”
Hours earlier, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) wrote to director of national intelligence James Clapper and the Department of Justice calling for them to begin formulating new guidelines to reflect recent advancements in surveillance capabilities.
It said the board had “learned that key procedures that form the guidelines to protect ‘information concerning United States persons’ have not comprehensively been updated, in some cases in almost three decades, despite dramatic changes in information use and technology”.
PLCOB also requested that “both the attorney general and the director of national intelligence work together to focus the attention necessary to update each element of the intelligence community’s procedures to collect retain and disseminate US persons’ information”.
It said procedures should capture “both the evolution of technology and the roles and capabilities of the intelligence community since 9/11″.
“Specifically, the board would appreciate receiving by October 31, 2013, an agency-by-agency schedule establishing a time frame for updating each agency’s guidelines,” added chairman David Medine.
“In the meantime, the board would appreciate a briefing on the status of the guidelines and process for reviewing and updating them.”
Previously PCLOB has been criticised for being too close to the administration and failing to address growing threats to privacy, but its new-found teeth appear to co-incide with a shift in tone from the White House.
In his CNN interview Obama said: “What’s been clear since the disclosures that were made by Mr Snowden is that people don’t have enough information and aren’t confident enough that, between all the safeguards and checks that we put in place within the executive branch, and the federal court oversight that takes place on the program, and congressional oversight, people are still concerned as to whether their emails are being read or their phone calls are being listened to.”
“I recognise that we’re going to have to continue to improve the safeguards and, as technology moves forward, that means that we may be able to build technologies that give people more assurance, and we do have to do a better job of giving people confidence in how these programs work.”
The president hinted at a series of concessions and reforms likely to take place in the coming weeks as Congress returns and responds further to the revelations of sweeping surveillance powers triggered by the Snowden leaks.
“I am open to working with Congress to figure out, can we get more transparency in terms of how the oversight court works? Can – do we need a public advocate in there who people have confidence in?” Obama said.
“There’s no doubt that, for all the work that’s been done to protect the American people’s privacy, the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people.”
["Stock Photo: Eye" on Shutterstock]
A disgraced former Navy chaplain on Thursday alleged that “demonic spirits” were influencing Federal Communications Commission Director Julius Genachowski, who was working “in collusion” with President Barack Obama, to “molest and visually rape your children.”
Chaplain Gordon James “Chaps” Klingenschmitt told his Pray in Jesus Name Internet Show viewers that Genachowski had failed to enforce decency standards for the last four years.
“We have talked on this show about the Bible and how the Bible defines spiritual discernment, and the ability to see invisible angels or demons or the Holy Spirit influencing human morality,” Klingenschmitt explained. “So for example, Julius Genachowski, the outgoing FCC chairman, who works apparently in collusion with President Obama, has not enforced the decency standards in even four years.”
The former Navy chaplain went on to “trace the spiritual root” and discovered “perhaps a demonic spirit of tyranny or immorality inside of him.”
“The demonic spirit influences him to abuse and, dare I say, molest and visually rape your children,” he added. “And that’s no light statement.”
“Because when the molester gets into your children’s heart, then your children is defiled. And then your children grows up with perversion in his or her heart.”
Watch this video from Pray in Jesus Name, broadcast Aug. 22, 2013.
(h/t: Right Wing Watch)
After playing tape of Fox’s own White House correspondent, Ed Henry, questioning deputy press secretary Josh Earnest at length about the case on Wednesday, Steve Doocy expressed disbelief at the administration’s apparent unfamiliarity with the case: “That’s extraordinary for him to say I’m not familiar with that, it was in big headlines on Drudge for like a day or two.”
Conservative media outlets, including the Drudge Report and Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, have flooded the zone with coverage of a racist tweet allegedly sent by one of the teenagers last April. (The Daily Caller was one of the first sites to post unflattering tweets allegedly by and photographs said to be of Trayvon Martin from a deleted Twitter account.)
Yesterday, the Daily Caller published an interview with the brother of George Zimmerman about the President’s apparent reluctance to comment on the Lane case. In a statement, Robert Zimmerman said: “Which one of these three teens looks most like Obama’s theoretical son? Recently, the White House chief Deputy Press Secretary said he was ‘unaware’ of the killing in Oklahoma. Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised, and I don’t believe many fair-minded Americans are surprised either.”
Those on the right pressuring for an official comment by the President about this case claim that it is only fair since he talked about other high profile cases, like the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the death of Trayvon Martin. As host Ainsley Earhardt said, “Many people say the president shouldn’t have talked about one case because if he speaks on one case, now it opens the door that he has to speak on all the other cases.”
Doocy criticized Earnest’s comment that the President would not want to comment prematurely on the case: “Then for him to say, well, I don’t want to get ahead of the legal process—well, the president certainly did that when he weighed in on Trayvon Martin way ahead.”
His co-host, Brian Kilmeade, also expressed disappointment that Al Sharpton had yet to comment on the case.
Watch the full video from Mediaite below:
Hecklers confronted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during a Tuesday Heritage Action event in support of defunding President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.
After Cruz told members of the Dallas audience that he would be willing to shut down the government to in order to stop Obamacare, at least two people stood up and began yelling at him.
“You have health care, so can we!” they shouted.
“Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views,” Cruz replied. “You know, part of the First Amendment is about respecting the views of others.”
As officers removed the protesters, the crowd responded by drowning them out with chants of “USA! USA! USA!”
Cruz used the opportunity to insist that he agreed with the men, but “Obamacare is causing more and more people struggling to climb the economic ladder to lose their health care.”
“Number two, in the world of astroturf, fake grassroots — you know, President Obama’s group, Organizing for America’s trying to pay people to pretend that the grassroots are with them,” he added. “I got to tell you, every time they come to protest in Texas, they’ve sent a small group of people and y’all have outnumbered them, two and three and four to one.”
According to KXAS, demonstrators were escorted from the event on at least one other occasion before Cruz was able to finish his speech.
Watch this video, uploaded by The Right Scoop on Aug. 20, 2013.
(h/t: Joe My God)