US Opinion and Commentary

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Quick, Direct US-Iran Diplomacy Pays Off for Sailors

Posted January 13th, 2016 at 1:57 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin When Iran detained 10 American sailors who had intruded into Iranian territorial waters, opponents of President Barack Obama’s diplomacy with Tehran thought they had struck political gold. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush immediately tweeted. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asserted Iran was “testing the boundaries of this administration’s resolve.” Cable news channels, seeking to fill […]

Obama’s Final Pitch

Posted January 11th, 2016 at 2:24 pm (UTC-5)
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The White House has already hinted at the tone and focus of President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address. Positive. Forward looking. And, most of all, the president is expected to counter Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s decidedly negative, and often time offensive, narrative of the country. While these annual speeches often come off as ceremonial and full of unfulfilled promises, this one — Obama’s eighth — is a marker. After he utters his final words “…and God bless America,” the race to replace him will have officially begun.

The President Prepares for Final State of the Union Address

Posted January 11th, 2016 at 1:36 pm (UTC-5)
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“I don’t think I’ve ever been more optimistic about the year ahead as I am right now.”

Presidential Tears, Executive Actions and a Townhall

Posted January 8th, 2016 at 4:02 pm (UTC-5)
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President Obama’s mission to address gun violence in America began on Friday, December 31st, New Year’s Eve. Obama released his regular recorded Saturday address earlier than usual. In it was a clear message that he would forge ahead and do something – anything – to make it harder for potential killers to buy firearms. He had tried – and failed – to tighten gun laws after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.This week, frustrated by inaction and just a few weeks after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Obama made his move. He invoked executive power, bypassing Congress, to address loopholes in background checks for gun sales. That was followed by a press conference to officially unveil his executive actions in which the president, uncharacteristically emotional, shed tears. Two days later, he was live on television at a town hall on gun control hosted by CNN. He capped the week by writing an opinion column, “Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility,” published in the New York Times.

Republicans’ Do-nothingness on Guns

Posted January 6th, 2016 at 9:44 am (UTC-5)
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It is one thing to be in the pocket of the National Rifle Association. It is another to do nothing and then assume a superior posture of purposeful neglect, as though do-nothingness were a policy and smug intransigence a philosophy

An Emotion Obama Announces New Measures to Tighten Gun Laws

Posted January 6th, 2016 at 6:13 am (UTC-5)
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Wiping tears, the president spoke of the young school children during the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,”

Here is How Obama’s Most Controversial New Action on Guns Really Works. It’s Fairly Modest.

Posted January 5th, 2016 at 1:08 pm (UTC-5)
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It clarifies which gun-sellers are supposed to obtain a federal firearms license. Since guns sold by licensed dealers are subject to federal background checks, and guns sold by private sellers are not, this change, by extension, would also clarify which additional gun sales are subject to background checks.

New Year Starts With Fight Over Gun Control

Posted January 4th, 2016 at 3:27 pm (UTC-5)
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President Barack Obama got right back to work after his holiday break with gun control on his mind. At a meeting Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and other top law enforcement officials, the president was briefed on proposals designed to crack down on unregulated gun sales. Later in the week, CNN will host Obama for a live town hall meeting on the issue, which was brought home vividly just last month when 14 people were massacred by a heavily armed young Muslim-American couple during mass shooting in California. Republican presidential hopefuls immediately hammered Obama’s move to invoke executive power – that is, to enact the laws without Congressional approval. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the president a “petulant child,” while frontrunner Donald Trump vowed to use HIS future executive power to overturn Obama’s.

Obama’s Iran Blunder

Posted January 4th, 2016 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Such is the nature of appeasement. It is not only morally abhorrent; it never works, because aggressive regimes and tyrants are never satisfied with their gains. Ultimately they must be confronted, but by then they have gained strength and confidence while Western democratic governments are shown to be foolish and weak.

Obama Appears Ready for Another Attempt to Tighten Gun Laws

Posted January 1st, 2016 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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“I get too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing.”

ISIS Loses Ground With Recapture of Ramadi

Posted December 29th, 2015 at 11:44 am (UTC-5)
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It was hard not to feel good about news that Iraqi forces backed by U.S. military retook Ramadi, a key Iraqi city, from Islamic State militants despite the cautious words from top Obama administration officials. “While Ramadi is not yet fully secure and additional parts of the city still must be retaken, Iraq’s national flag now flies above the provincial government center and enemy forces have suffered a major defeat,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement. The mission to defeat ISIS remains long and unpredictable. But after a year of seemingly endless bad news about the war on terror – not the least of which was the brutal and deadly mass shooting of civilians at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California by a radicalized Muslim couple – it feels good to hold onto this moment of hope.

COP21: Turning Point or Empty Promises?

Posted December 14th, 2015 at 11:32 am (UTC-5)
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Nearly 200 nations signed the Paris accord to tackle climate change – but signing isn’t implementing, critics say. The deal sets out to commit signatories to reduce carbon emissions, but the targets are not legally binding. And that worries those who don’t trust big polluters, like China and India, to act. Even its most ardent supporters aren’t dismissing inherent flaws. Top US negotiator Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged this in an appearance on ABC News a day after the deal was announced Saturday. “I understand the criticisms of the agreement because it doesn’t have a mandatory scheme and it doesn’t have a compliance enforcement mechanism…. That’s true.” The other worry for detractors is that because the agreement is not a “treaty,” US congressional approval is not mandatory for ratification. Optimists point out that, while imperfect, the pact is a serious beginning, evidence that the world is no longer ignoring that which cannot be ignored.

President Hails Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Posted December 14th, 2015 at 8:01 am (UTC-5)
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“We came together around a strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment.”

Calls Grow Louder for New US Terror Strategy

Posted December 11th, 2015 at 1:28 pm (UTC-5)
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Until 2011, this was the face of international terrorism, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. That year, President Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for a top secret mission to take out bin Laden, who had been found living in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The mission succeeded and for a long time much of the world relaxed, knowing the man who was behind September 11th was gone forever. Just three years later, the Islamic State took al-Qaida’s slot as the most dangerous terrorist organization, emerging out of the wreckage of Iraq with its signature brutality of beheading hostages and taking huge swathes of territory. A president once admired for acting boldly against al-Qaida is now under withering criticism for not doing enough to stop this latest incarnation of radical Islam. With the shooting deaths of 14 Americans at a workplace holiday gathering in California by a radicalized Muslim-American couple last week, a new poll shows Americans are now just as nervous as they were right after September 11th.

Tackling the Threat of Islamic Extremism

Posted December 10th, 2015 at 3:08 pm (UTC-5)
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There has been a steady drip, drip, drip of criticism aimed at President Barack Obama’s strategy against terrorism, and the threat posed here in the United States. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump dominated the debate with his controversial call to bar Muslims from entering America in the wake of the deadly mass shooting by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, California. Obama’s Oval Office address was examined and torn apart by his fiercest opponents for lacking anything new in the fight against the Islamic State, and for failing to comfort the nerves of ordinary Americans. From the president’s standpoint, those calling for a tougher response by pressing for a new military effort against jihadists are ignoring history – at America’s own peril.