Romney: Obama ‘dishonest’ about ObamacareBy Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News November 3, 2013 9:09 AMRomney Compares Massachusetts, National Health Care Programs Mitt Romney lashed out at Barack Obama on Sunday, saying the president has been dishonest about the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare.”He told people that they could keep their insurance and that was not the truth,” Romney said on „Meet The Press” via satellite from Salt Lake City, Utah, nearly a year after he lost to Obama in the 2012 presidential election.The former Massachusetts governor said the president „failed to learn the lessons” that came from his state’s groundbreaking 2006 health care law, on which Obamacare is based.”The most important lesson the president, I think, failed to learn was, you have to tell the American people the truth,” Romney said. „And when he told the American people that you could keep your health insurance if you wanted to keep that plan — period, he said that time and again — he wasn’t telling the truth.”Romney continued: „He went out as a centerpiece of his campaign and as a centerpiece of Obamacare over the last several years saying time and time again that fundamental to his plan was the right people would have to keep their insurance plan, and he knew that was not the case.”Obama’s „fundamental dishonesty” about his signature health care law, Romney said, has „undermined the president’s credibility” and „put in peril the whole foundation of his second term.””We’ve got to have a president that can lead, and right now he cannot do so,” he said.Recalling the 2012 campaign, the former Republican nominee disputed the notion that his heart wasn’t fully in it. „No one could have worked harder than myself and my family did,” Romney said. „We were all in 110 percent. And we wanted to win very desperately.””Frankly, I was concerned that if the president were reelected, the economy would continue to dwindle along, we would continue to lose credibility around the world, the American people would find it harder and harder to get jobs,” he said. „And we’re seeing those things happen before our very eyes.”Romney also brushed aside assertions made in „Double Down: Game Change 2012,” an upcoming book about the 2012 election, that Romney did not choose Chris Christie as his running mate because of serious reservations he had about the New Jersey governor.”There’s nothing they found that wasn’t part of the [public] record,” Romney said. „There’s nothing new there.”Christie, he said, has „the kind of popularity and track record the GOP needs if we’re going to take back the White House.”Romney said Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s 2012 running mate, would all be formidable presidential nominees for the Republican party in 2016.
Mohammed Morsi hearing in Egypt Amr Nabil 4 hours agoView gallery16 photos Egypt’s deposed Islamist president was brought from the secret location of his four-month detention to face trial Monday on charges of incitement of violence and murder. It was Mohammed Morsi’s first public appearance since his ouster in a coup on July 3. The start of the hearing was delayed by nearly two hours over what security officials inside the courtroom said was a dispute over Morsi’s refusal to wear a prison uniform, part of his rejection of the trial’s legitimacy. (AP)
Arab League backs Syria peace talks, urges opposition to goBy Yara Bayoumy 2 hours ago View galleryPresident of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmad Jarba attends the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in …By Yara Bayoumy CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab states formally endorsed proposed peace talks to end the Syrian civil war that have been delayed by disputes between world powers and divisions among the opposition.A final communiqué after an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Sunday called on the opposition swiftly to form a delegation under the leadership of the mainstream Syrian National Coalition, to attend the „Geneva 2” talks.The Arab League’s position indicated Gulf rivals Qatar and Saudi Arabia – who have backed different rebel groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad – had put their differences aside to urge opposition chief Ahmad Jarba to head to Geneva.But even with regional diplomatic weight thrown behind the talks, it is unclear when they will go ahead and what they can achieve. The mainly exiled political opposition has limited clout over rebel fighters on the ground, who include al Qaeda-linked brigades.The Geneva talks are meant to bring Syria’s warring sides to the negotiating table, but many disputes still remain including the issue of whether Iran, Assad’s biggest regional supporter, should attend.Jarba, who is backed by Iran’s foe Saudi Arabia, told Arab foreign ministers the opposition coalition would not attend if Iran was there. He also said there had to be a clear time frame for Assad to leave power, and called for more weapons to be delivered to rebels fighting Assad.The growing influence of radical Islamist fighters and divisions among rebel forces have made Western powers reluctant to intervene directly in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and driven millions from their homes.DIFFERENCES OVER IRAN World powers are divided over Iran’s participation in the talks. Tehran, which backs Assad’s regime, has said it is ready to come and international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says the United Nations would prefer Iran to attend.Saudi Arabia, the United States’ main Arab ally, opposes any role for Tehran and is angry over what it sees as a weak U.S. commitment to removing Assad, especially in the past two months since Obama abandoned a threat to launch strikes.After more than two years of calling for Assad’s downfall but taking little action, Obama threatened in August to punish Syria for what he said was government blame for chemical weapons attacks that killed more than 1,000 people. But he quickly called off armed action, accepting instead a Russian proposal that Assad give up Syria’s poison gas stocks.A senior State Department official, speaking ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Riyadh, said the top U.S. diplomat would make clear to the Saudis that Iran would not be welcome to attend the Syria peace talks unless it endorsed a past agreement that would see Assad give up power.Kerry met Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Monday and was due to meet King Abdullah.Syria’s Foreign Ministry reiterated on Sunday that it must be up to Syrians alone „to choose their leadership and political future without political interference”.Accusing Kerry of trying to derail the talks, it said in a statement he „must realize that the success of the Geneva conference depends on the will of the Syria people themselves”.The Arab League, however, said only pressure from major powers could ensure a successful outcome in Geneva.In its communiqué it „reaffirmed the Arab position that demands the necessity of the required international guarantees to supervise and ensure the success of a peaceful solution at the Geneva 2 conference”.The League is dominated by states ruled by Sunni Muslims, and has lined up against Assad throughout the conflict. Assad, a member of the Alawite sect which is derived from Shi’ite Islam, has enjoyed the support of Shi’ite Iran in a conflict that has exacerbated the Sunni-Shi’ite split across the Middle East.Opposition member Burhan Ghalioun told Reuters on Monday the communiqué showed „the Arab League’s support for the Syrian opposition and the Syrian people in confronting … Assad’s regime and for Geneva 2 to be able to put forth a political solution that ends with the demise of the current regime and the emergence of the next one”.Brahimi has said he hoped the conference could still be held in the next few weeks despite the obstacles and said there should be no preconditions to attend the meeting.But rebels say they will consider any process which does not lead to the end of Assad’s rule – and accountability for him and his supporters – as a betrayal of their campaign.A statement signed by several powerful Islamist militias a week ago said that attending Geneva talks on any other basis would amount to „treason that requires trial by our courts”.Rebel strength has been eroding on the battlefield, with Assad’s forces making slow but gradual gains as they consolidate control near Damascus and the central city of Homs.Last week they also recaptured the town of Safira, southeast of the city of Aleppo, a further rebel setback which prompted the resignation of local rebel leader Abdeljabbar al-Oqaidi from the Western-backed Supreme Military Council.In a resignation video issued on Sunday, Oqaidi blamed rifts among rebels for losing Safira, and bitterly congratulated the opposition in exile „for your hotels and your political posts”.State television said on Monday Assad’s forces had taken a village on the northern edge of Safira and were attacking the rebel-held town of Tel Arn about 2 miles further north. Live TV footage showed columns of smoke rising from Tel Arn.(Additional reporting by Ayman Samir in Cairo and Dominic Evans in Beirut; Editing by Peter Graff)
New book: Obama told aides that drones make him ‘really good at killing people’ By Jay Busbee 8 minutes agoView galleryPresident Obama in a 2012 photo in the Oval Office.President Obama is criticized every day for the problems and difficulties associated with the Affordable Care Act. But in the long term, it’s likely history will scrutinize the CIA’s use of drone strikes during his administration with a far more critical eye.A quote from a new book on the 2012 presidential campaign, “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” will surely stoke that interest. As first reported in a book review by the Washington Post’s Peter Hamby, Obama told aides in connection with the CIA’s drone program that he is “really good at killing people.”It’s the kind of quote likely to make Obama supporters cringe or scramble for justifying explanations, perhaps by rationalizing the quote as either false or out of context, or critiquing the information-gathering methods of authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The writers spent two years interviewing dozens of people connected with both the Obama and Romney campaigns.Whether uttered in jest or in resignation, the Obama quote will only add to the concerns of those wondering whether the president has embraced the godlike, life-and-death power of the Oval Office. After campaigning against the intense interrogation procedures pursued under President George W. Bush, Obama has vastly expanded the drone program. Despite its intense unpopularity overseas, in part because of civilian casualties and in part because of its unclear, secretive mandates, the Pakistan drone program continues as it has since 2004.According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has conducted 378 strikes in the program’s 10-year history. Of those, 326 are classified as “Obama strikes.” The total number of people killed by drones is estimated at 2,528 to 3,648. Civilian casualties are estimated at 416 to 948, with 168 to 200 of those being children. As many as another 1,545 are estimated to have been injured in those strikes.”We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats — to stop plots, prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in February. “These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.” And, thanks to this book, the motivations of the man who orders them will remain under scrutiny.“Double Down” is a sequel of sorts to “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,” a bestselling book made into an HBO movie. The book tracks the 2012 campaign through the voices of campaign strategists and other insiders for both President Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as the half-dozen other ancillary campaigns on the Republican side.What emerges is a look at two men and two campaigns with singular visions and yet singular weaknesses. Here, via the Post’s Hamby, is a summary of “Double Down”’s through-line:The book’s loose argument is that both Obama and Romney placed their bets about the race early on and “doubled down” throughout the contest. It’s an apt take on Obama World. The “Obamans,” as the authors call them, set out to annihilate Romney almost two years before the election and executed their plan with brutal efficiency. There were hiccups along the way, specifically Obama’s dreary debate-prep sessions and his cringe-worthy performance in Denver, but his deputies in Chicago rarely deviated from their search-and-destroy mission. Romney’s campaign, though, with its bad habit of reacting to news cycles with snap decisions, always felt more ad hoc, with tactics trumping strategy.Per Hamby, Obama comes off as “brilliant but peevish, allergic to the nitty-gritty of politics,” while Romney “is a decent man but hopelessly ham-fisted on the stump and oblivious to why voters can’t seem to appreciate his private-equity résumé.”The drone quote will garner notice, but the book actually saves much of its harshest criticism for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is apparently already making plans for a 2016 presidential bid. The book makes use of the research performed by the Romney campaign on Christie; the vetting is termed “disturbing,” with “garish controversies.” A Justice Department investigation into Christie’s spending, a defamation lawsuit, questions about lobbying and contract awards, Christie’s physical health – these were all fair game for Romney’s investigators, and in turn for the authors of “Double Down.” Christie’s people could be busy for months trying to mitigate the damage this book will do to his reputation.The Obama administration has brushed off the book’s claims about the back-room dealings of the 2012 campaign, critiquing the sources as much as the content. “The president is always frustrated about leaks,” White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I haven’t talked to him about this book. I haven’t read it. He hasn’t read it. But he hates leaks.”But that’s inside-the-Beltway politicking, the kind of give-and-take where reputations, not lives, are the casualties. The debate over drone use has far more dramatic reach and effect. Lost in the day-to-day squabbling over politics is the fact that, for instance, the Justice Department has a disturbingly vague protocol for sending drones to kill U.S. citizens. “Double Down” may open the door to issues far more significant than who likes whom in Washington, issues that speak to the very heart of what it means to stand for American principles. This is a story that’s not going away anytime soon. Contact Jay Busbee at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.
Nazi-looted modern art found in Munich flat -German magazine2 hours agoView galleryA general view of an apartment building in Munich November 4, 2013, where it is believed that German …BERLIN (Reuters) – A vast trove of modern art seized under Germany’s Nazi regime, including works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, has been discovered in a Munich apartment among stacks of rotting groceries, German magazine Focus reported. The 1,500 art works, missing for more than 70 years, and discovered by chance by customs authorities in the southern German state of Bavaria in 2011, could be worth well over 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion), Focus said.There was no word on why the find had taken so long to come to light. Bavarian officials declined any comment on what could be one of the largest recoveries of Nazi-looted art.Focus said experts were now valuing the paintings, drawings and prints, being held in a customs depot, and trying to determine their ownership.Some may once have been on display in German museums, then removed from 1937 onwards because Hitler’s Third Reich considered them „degenerate”, while others were seized, or forcibly sold for a pittance by persecuted Jewish collectors. The collection was also believed to contain a painting of a woman by Henri Matisse which belonged to Paris-based Jewish art collector Paul Rosenberg, Focus said.Customs investigators made the sensational find in 2011 after a 76-year-old man travelling by train from Zurich to Munich aroused suspicion at the border when he was found carrying a large, albeit legal, amount of cash. The man was Cornelius Gurlitt, son of art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, who was a specialist in the modern art of the early 20th century that the Nazis branded as un-German.Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels recruited him to sell abroad the „degenerate art” to try and generate cash for the state. Gurlitt also independently bought art from desperate Jewish dealers forced to sell.After the war he persuaded the Americans that, as he had a Jewish grandmother, he himself had been persecuted. He continued working as a dealer and died in a traffic accident in 1956.Focus said Cornelius Gurlitt, a recluse, had funded himself by occasionally selling a painting. The magazine printed an image of a painting of horses by German expressionist Franz Marc which it said came from the collection. ($1 = 0.7414 euros)(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Alistair Lyon)
Warne blasts Alastair Cook’s captaincy as ‘boring’ in Ashes volley
Cameron welcomes British business call to stay in EU3 hours agoView gallery London (AFP) – British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday welcomed a call from the nation’s business leaders for Britain to remain in the European Union, ahead of a referendum in 2017.EU membership is „overwhelmingly” in Britain’s economic interests, but major reform is needed, the Confederation of British Industry said Monday in a key study published at its annual gathering in London.Cameron, addressing delegates at the conference, welcomed the CBI’s study and agreed that reforms were „badly needed” amid „wafer thin” British public support for membership.The premier has pledged to win back some powers from Brussels and put the new terms of Britain’s membership to the public in an in-out referendum by the end of 2017.”The CBI have hugely helped this morning with a very positive report,” said Cameron.View gallery.”A European Flag and the Union Jack are pictured in front of the European Union headquarters in Bruss …”This is one of the most important questions facing our country. It is my judgement that our current consent for remaining inside the EU is wafer thin.”He told delegates: „We haven’t made the argument enough about why Europe matters and frankly there are lots of things in the European Union that badly need reform. It is too costly; it is not flexible enough; it is not competitive enough; it needs to change.”He said: „The argument I have made is not some short term tactical ploy. It is a long term strategic choice for Britain: let us reform this organisation, let’s make changes to how it works, and then let’s put those changes to the British people in a referendum.”Cameron, whose Conservative party heads a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, is seeking a majority in the 2015 general election but faces fierce pressure on the right from the anti-EU UK Independence Party.He added on Monday that eurozone member states wanted reforms including tax rate coordination and a banking union.View gallery.”
Violence disrupts Kosovo election
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