Obama Fiddles …

Declare war.  … Play golf.  That was the sequence of events yesterday as President Barack Obama announced that he would be taking military action against Syria.

According to Obama:

This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

While Obama also claims that Syria’s actions are a threat to our national security, he also claims that action isn’t time sensitive.  A tad counterintuitive, but he was elected president.

The most disturbing part of this little political drama is Obama’s cavalier attitude towards Congress.  He believes that he doesn’t need Congressional approval to take military action against Syria.  He and his administration have said so.  He may be right – if you believe that the War Powers Act is constitutional.  However, can Obama now claim unilateral authority AFTER he admits that taking action is not time sensitive?  It seems pretty clear that he now will seek Congressional approval to cover his political backside.

Obama, like almost all politicians, is at least as concerned about appearances as he is about substance (yes, I am feeling particularly charitable today).  Therefore, isn’t it better (for appearance’s sake if nothing else) to cancel a round of golf when you are telling the nation that you are putting our nation and our allies at risk?

Obama prefers to putt while the world burns.

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North Korea Vows to Strike Without Warning After Seoul Protests

PYONGYANG – The North Korean government has vowed to attack South Korea without warning if anti-North Korean protests continue in the south.

"The supreme command of the Korean People’s Army Tuesday issued an ultimatum to the South Korean puppet group," Pyongyang’s official news agency, KCNA, said.

Threatening that it would not give any advance notice before attacking South Korea, the North warned: "Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now."

North Korea said it was responding to insults from the "puppet authorities" in the South, who yesterday held a rally against the North in Seoul.

While North Koreans were celebrating the 101st anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth, South Koreans protested recent threats from the North including burning North Korean leaders in effigy.

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Socialist Ousts Sarkozy in French Presidential Election

PARIS – French voters have denied President Nicholas Sarkozy a second term and elected Socialist Francois Hollande.  Sarkozy was a victim of spending cuts which have reverberated throughout Europe in response to government debt crises throughout the Euro-zone.

Hollande vows to increase government spending.  Many observers predict that Hollande’s election is a symbol of the European Union’s decline.

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BREAKING NEWS – Chinese Dissident Wants to Come to US

BEIJING – Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has told the AP that US Embassy staff relayed a message to him that the Chinese government threatened to beat his wife to death if he did not leave the American compound in Beijing.

Chen, who fled to the embassy six day ago, left under an agreement in which he would receive medical care, be reunited with his family and allowed to attend university in a safe place. He says he now fears for his safety and wants to leave.

A U.S. official denies knowledge of the threat, but says Chen was told his family would be sent back home if he stayed in the embassy.

Chen left the US Embassy because of those threats and is now in a Beijing hospital.

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News Corp to Cameron … Be Careful Who You Go After

LONDON – The government of British Prime Minister David Cameron is getting a lesson in the politics of media relations.  While Cameron’s government is attempting to use News Corporation as a whipping boy, the owner of the Times of London and FOXNews is showing the coalition government that it will only take so much without fighting back.

Culture minister Jeremy Hunt may be forced to resign over evidence being released in hearings by James Murdoch, scion of News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch.  The PM has been caught in at least one lie and his government faces the biggest crisis of its relatively short tenure.

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Sarkozy Loses First Round of French Presidential Elections

PARIS – As expected, French president Nicholas Sarkozy lost the first round of the French presidential elections to Francois Hollande.  With an estimated voter turnout of 80% Holland received 28.56% of the vote with Sarkozy receiving 27.07%.

The two will face off on May 6th in a rubber match.  Hollande is expected to win the final as well.

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Egypt Scraps Natural Gas Supply Deal with Israel

CAIRO – Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has cancelled their gas-supply deal with Israel, claiming that they have not been paid by the Israeli-Egyptian firm which buys the gas and sells it to Israel.  The Israeli government denies the claim and states that cancellation of the deal is a violation of the 1979 peace accord between the two countries.  Interruption of gas supplies have already caused increased electricity rates in Israel.  Israel Electric Company, the country’s electric utility, has warned that further interruptions could result in rolling blackouts this summer.

photo courtesy of the BBC

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Iran Denies Pastor Faces Execution

GENEVA – The Iranian government has denied that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani faces execution for “insulting Islam”.

The UN Human Rights Council met in Geneva Monday, where Ahmed Shaheed, a “special rapporteur for human rights in Iran" delivered a report on human rights abuses in Iran and called for the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. The pastor has been held in prison for nearly three years and was convicted on charges that Tehran has described in conflicting terms, first as apostasy and other faith-based crimes, then as rape and extortion.

Responding to Shaheed’s presentation, Iranian human rights envoy Mohammad Javad Larijani denied that Nadarkhani faces the death penalty, though the sentence was spelled out in a ruling handed down by Iran’s highest court last fall. Larijani also offered a new set of charges against Nadarkhani, including preaching to youth without their parents’ permission, converting his home into a church and offending Islam.

“In the last 33 years after [the Islamic] revolution, no single person has been put to death or executed or pursued for changing his religion from Islam,” he told the council. “Hundreds of people are changing from other religions to Islam. Why we should be so sensitive about a few people to change their religion from Islam?”

photo courtesy of the Blaze

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Obama Moves G-8 Summit to Camp David

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has announced that this year’s G-8 summit will not be held in the President’s hometown of Chicago.  Instead, the meeting will be held at the President’s Camp David retreat in Maryland’s Cacoctin Mountains.  The Obama administration denies that the meeting was moved due to security concerns.  The NATO summit is still scheduled for Chicago.

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Putin Elected Russian President

Observers Claim “Serious” Problems with Election

MOSCOW – Former president and current Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was elected president amid charges of election fraud and voter intimidation.  Tonino Picula, head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observer team claimed that the entire process was geared to produce one result – the election of Putin:

"there was no real competition and abuse of government resources ensured that the ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt."

The police and military are preparing for expected protests across the country.

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Hugo Chavez’s Daughter Flaunts Law and Lavish Lifestyle

CARACAS – Rosines Chavez, the 14 year old daughter of Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez, doesn’t seem to understand that her father is attempting to construct a socialist paradise in the oil rich country on the southern edge of the Caribbean.  Ms. Chavez posted a photo of herself flaunting US dollars on her Instagram account.  There are just a few problems – Ms. Chavez is only 14, she flaunts a lavish lifestyle in this impoverished, socialist country, AND access to US dollars is tightly controlled in Venezuela.

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U.S. Carrier, Battle Group, Sail Through Straits of Hormuz

WASHINGTON – For the first time since Iran began threats of shutting down the key oil transport waterway, the USS Abraham Lincoln, its battle group, along with a Royal Navy frigate and a French naval vessel, sailed through the Straits of Hormuz Sunday.

Iran has repeatedly warned that it could close the strait — which the US Energy Information Administration calls the "most important chokepoint" for the world’s oil tankers — if increased Western sanctions halt Iranian oil exports.

The situation grew increasingly tense earlier this month when the Islamic republic’s navy warned that it would react if the US tried to redeploy one of its aircraft carriers to the waterway.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the US would not tolerate Iran blocking the strategic route and would respond if Tehran crossed that "red line."

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Syrian Forces Firing on Protesters

BEIRUT – Activists report that Syrian security forces have fired upon on protesters in the Hama province of this authoritarian Middle Eastern country.  The protesters were calling for the overthrow of President Bashar Assad.

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28 Year Old Kim Jong Un Declared North Korea’s “Supreme Leader”

PYONGYANG – Kim Jong Un, the third son of the late despot Kim Jong Il, was declared “Supreme Leader” of North Korea by the military and the ruling Communist party during the memorial for his father.  This is significant because Kim Jong Il took several years to consolidate his power.  Kim Jong Un is also the youngest leader of a nuclear state.

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