While women diplomats are still far from a majority at the U.N., they have reached a critical mass. A record one-third of the members of the U.N. Security Council, the organization’s most powerful body, are represented by women. Thirty of the U.N.’s 193 members have female ambassadors — also the most since the international body was created in 1945.
In the preamble to its charter that year, the U.N. asserted its determination “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.” The world body has been slow to live up to that lofty mission, say some of the women diplomats who have served there. Instead, they say, they’ve been subject to the same slights and exclusions as their counterparts in other fields.
Still, reaching the “long overdue” milestone at the Security Council provides potential for further advancement of women’s issues worldwide, particularly in the realm of national security, said Melanne Verveer, President Barack Obama’s former ambassador for global women’s issues.
President Obama will correct a historical act of discrimination next month when he awards the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest commendation for combat valor, to a group of Hispanic, Jewish and African-American veterans who were passed over because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The unusual presentation will culminate a 12-year Pentagon review ordered by Congress into past discrimination in the ranks and will hold a particular poignancy when conducted by the nation’s first African-American president.
Only three of the men, two Hispanic-Americans and one African-American, are still alive, and will come to the White House for the ceremony March 18.
Q: What does Putin really fear here?
A: The loss of prestige and sales for his country if the weapons they sell to client states are proven ineffective against NATO military tech.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned America and its allies against taking one-sided action in Syria. He said any military strikes without UN approval would be “an aggression”.
US President Barack Obama has called for punitive action in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack. Mr Putin said Russia did not rule out supporting a UN Security Council resolution authorising force, if it was proved “beyond doubt” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.
On Tuesday evening, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed on a draft resolution backing the use of US military force.
President Vladimir Putin’s position on any military action against Syria was in the most part very robust. He said any use of force without a United Nations Security Council resolution would be “an aggression.” He went on to say that although Russia has suspended supplies of the sophisticated S-300 air defence missiles, he would consider supplying S-300s to other regions in the event of an American attack. That could be seen as a veiled threat to supply S-300s to Iran.
But President Putin did leave open the slight chance of a Russian change of position - something he has not done before. He said he did not “exclude” the possibility of Russia supporting a UN Security Council resolution authorising force, if it was proved “beyond doubt” that President Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.
Of course that is a high bar, but it has given him a little wriggle room.
The measure, to be voted on next week, sets a time limit of 60 days on any operation.
The earlier rumors of mustard type gas appear to be unfounded, so my apologies for repeating those in comments the other day.
Secretary of State John Kerry asserted Sunday that the United States now has evidence of sarin gas use in Syria and said “the case gets stronger by the day” for a military attack.
A day after President Barack Obama stepped back from his threat to launch an attack, Kerry said in a series of interviews on the Sunday news shows that the administration learned of the sarin use within the past 24 hours through samples of hair and blood provided to Washington by first responders in Damascus.
Kerry also said he was confident that Congress will give Obama its backing for an attack against Syria, but the former Massachusetts senator also said the president has authority to act on his own if Congress doesn’t give its approval.
While Kerry stopped short of saying Obama was committed to such a course even if lawmakers refuse to authorize force, he did say that “we are not going to lose this vote.”
Kerry said Obama has the right to take action against Syria, with or without Congress’ approval. But he stopped short of saying Obama was committed to such a course even if lawmakers refuse to authorize force.
A conservative candidate for Maine town selectman received a visit from the Secret Service after he posted a photo of President Barack Obama on Facebook that was labelled “Shoot the ni**er.”
According to the Bangor Daily News, David Marsters of Sabattus, ME has taken the post down, but remains defiant in the face up the uproar sparked by his remarks.
“(The Secret Service) didn’t see no pictures of Obama with bullet holes in his head,” Marsters told the Daily News. “It’s not a threatening statement, in my opinion. People take it out of context as a threat.”
“I didn’t say I was going to shoot the president, or kill — Shoot the ni**er. Shoot the ni**er. — that’s what I said,” he continued. “I’m pissed off at the system, OK? We’re about to lose our benefits because of this asshole.”
Marsters has convinced himself that the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — is going to take away his ill wife’s spousal benefits. In an interview with Daily News reporter Douglas Mcintire, the retired police officer said perhaps he should have chosen his words more carefully, but that he believes the remark was not racist because he insists that he would have said the same thing about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) had he been elected president.
President Barack Obama called his national security team together Saturday to talk about the next move in Syria. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper led off the three-hour White House meeting with detailed analysis of the evidence about the chemical weapons attack, the disposition of victims and what the administration now believes is a near air-tight circumstantial case that the Syrian regime was behind it.
Obama ordered a declassified report be prepared for public release before any military strike commences. That report, top advisers tell CBS News, is due to be released in a day or two.
There was no debate at the Saturday meeting that a military response is necessary. Obama ordered up legal justifications for a military strike, should he order one, outside of the United Nations Security Council. That process is well underway, and particular emphasis is being placed on alleged violations of the Geneva Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government’s post-Katrina blunders.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren’t sure who to blame.
Bush was criticized heavily when he did not immediately return to Washington from his vacation in Texas after the storm had reached landfall. The government was also slow to provide relief aid and Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), admitted in a televised interview that he learned that many of the storm’s victims at the New Orleans Convention Center were without food and water well after the situation had been reported in the press.
Brown’s handling of the response ultimately led to his resignation, but Bush offered an infamous endorsement of the FEMA chief only days before he stepped down.
“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” Bush said.
For the cubicle-bound:
Below is text as prepared for delivery of an economic speech delivered Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. by President Barack Obama.
Eight years ago, I came here to deliver the commencement address for the class of 2005. Things were a little different back then. I didn’t have any gray hair, for example. Or a motorcade. I didn’t even have a teleprompter. It was my first big speech as your newest senator, and I spent my time talking about what a changing economy was doing to the middle class - and what we, as a country, needed to do to give every American a chance to get ahead in the 21st century.
You see, I’d just spent a year traveling this state and listening to your stories - of proud Maytag workers losing their jobs when their plant moved down to Mexico; of teachers whose salaries weren’t keeping up with the rising cost of groceries; of young people who had the drive but not the money to afford a college education.
They were the stories of families who worked hard and believed in the American Dream, but felt that the odds were increasingly stacked against them. And they were right.
In the period after World War II, a growing middle class was the engine of our prosperity. Whether you owned a company, swept its floors, or worked anywhere in between, this country offered you a basic bargain - a sense that your hard work would be rewarded with fair wages and benefits, the chance to buy a home, to save for retirement, and, above all, to hand down a better life for your kids.
But over time, that engine began to stall. That bargain began to fray. Technology made some jobs obsolete. Global competition sent others overseas. It became harder for unions to fight for the middle class. Washington doled out bigger tax cuts to the rich and smaller minimum wage increases for the working poor. The link between higher productivity and people’s wages and salaries was severed - the income of the top 1% nearly quadrupled from 1979 to 2007, while the typical family’s barely budged.
Towards the end of those three decades, a housing bubble, credit cards, and a churning financial sector kept the economy artificially juiced up. But by the time I took office in 2009, the bubble had burst, costing millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their savings. The decades-long erosion of middle-class security was laid bare for all to see and feel.
Today, five years after the start of that Great Recession, America has fought its way back.
Limits on secret U.S. surveillance programs and President Barack Obama’s push to help Syrian rebels were in dispute as the House weighed legislation to fund the nation’s military.
The House planned to begin debate Tuesday on the $598.3 billion defense spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, and late Monday the House Rules Committee voted to allow votes on the contentious issues.
Tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats insisted that debate on the bill include amendments changing the way the National Security Agency conducts its recently disclosed program of collecting phone records of millions of Americans. The same unusual coalition joined forces on amendments barring the administration from arming the Syrian rebels without congressional approval.
The head of the Pennsylvania Republican Party admitted earlier this week that controversy surrounding the state’s voter identification law prevented President Barack Obama from claiming a larger margin of victory there in last year’s election…
“Yeah, I think a little bit. We probably had a better election. Think about this, we cut Obama by five percent, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He won, he beat McCain by 10 percent, he only beat Romney by five percent. I think that probably voter ID helped a bit in that.”