August 2013

Aug 30, 2013

Obama’s War of Words

By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

When Barack Obama took office, the era of "dead or alive" foreign policy rhetoric was over. Even George W. Bush agreed this was a good idea. Obama's predecessor said that phrase—along with his "bring 'em on" taunt to Iraqi insurgents—were among his greatest mistakes as president. "I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner," said Bush. " ‘Wanted, dead or alive’—that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted." The Die Hard–style talk made Bush sound like a cowboy who shot first and asked questions never.

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Leaked Documents Reveal Budget Breakdown Between CIA, NSA

With Tom Gjelten, NPR

Details of the top secret budget of U.S. intelligence agencies have been made public — revealing not only that the nation spends more than $50 billion a year on intelligence but also some detail about how that money is spent. The Washington Post published excerpts of a 2013 budget justification obtained from the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. In the past, the total amount spent on intelligence has been declassified by the U.S. government. The document reveals not only which agency spends the money but also what missions are top priority.

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Administration Tells Lawmakers of Evidence Linking Assad to Attack

By Corey Boles and Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration presented its case for possible military action against Syria to congressional leaders, including evidence from an intercepted phone call involving a high-level Syrian official, which a lawmaker said officials offered as proof of a government chemical-weapons attack.

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Obama Set for Limited Strike on Syria as British Vote No

By Mark Landler, David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, The New York Times

President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said Thursday, despite a stinging rejection of such action by America’s stalwart ally Britain and mounting questions from Congress.

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President Obama Announces Gun Control Actions

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

Stymied by Congress, President Obama used his executive powers on Thursday to advance his gun control agenda by closing a loophole in the current background check system and barring the reimportation of surplus American military weapons.

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Obama Striking Assad Risks International Law Conflict

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

As U.S. officials work to convince the world that Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in Syria, the Obama administration is confronting questions about whether it has a legal right to respond with force.

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Aug 29, 2013

Republicans Absent From March on Washington

By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

Not a single Republican elected official stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday with activists, actors, lawmakers and former presidents invited to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington — a notable absence for a party seeking to attract the support of minority voters.

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Saluting a Dream, and Adapting It for a New Era

By Peter Baker and Sheryl Gay Stolberg

President Obama stepped into the space on Wednesday where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stood, summoning his iconic dream of a colorblind society in a celebration of a half-century of progress and a call to arms for the next generation.

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Lawmakers Seek Authorization Vote on Syria

By Susan Davis, USA Today

A growing, bipartisan number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill are asking President Obama to seek their vote of approval before any U.S. military intervention in Syria in response to evidence that the nation used chemical weapons in an ongoing civil war.

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Boehner Seeks Answers from Obama on Syria

By Susan Davis, USA Today

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to President Obama seeking answers to 14 questions regarding U.S. military intervention in Syria, but the speaker stopped short of seeking a formal authorization vote before the president can engage.

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Proposed Strikes Against Syria May Have Too Narrow A Purpose

With Tom Gjelten, NPR

The Obama administration says any military action in Syria would not be intended to bring the war to an end, to overthrow Bashar Assad or even help the opposition. Officials say the goal would be to show the Assad regime that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

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U.S. Facing Test on Data to Back Action on Syria

By Mark Mazzetti and Mark Landler, The New York Times

The evidence of a massacre is undeniable: the bodies of the dead lined up on hospital floors, those of the living convulsing and writhing in pain and a declaration from a respected international aid group that thousands of Syrians were gassed with chemical weapons last week.

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