Breaking News -- United States
Obama Offered Saudis Over $115 Billion in Arms Deals
by Jason Ditz
Yemen War Raises Pressure on Obama to Stop Throwing Arms at Saudis.
The new report from the Center for International Policy is revealing that over the course of his term in office, President Obama has offered Saudi Arabia over $115 billion in arms and other military equipment in 42 separate deals, by far the most of any US administration.
The data from the report came from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a Pentagon body that provides figures on international military sales. Most of the deals were ultimately approved, and large amounts of the weapons are still to be delivered.
This comes amid growing international disquiet about Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, which the US is participating in. Huge civilian casualties, chiefly the result of Saudi airstrikes, are raising pressure on the Obama Administration to do something to limit the violence.
Though the US has given some lip service to being opposed to the huge civilian toll, officials have rejected all calls to limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the war, insisting that the sales give them leverage over the Saudi kingdom. That huge amounts of arms are still to be delivered suggests that the Saudis are looking to add to their already substantial war-launching capabilities, and that the US is only too willing to comply.
Hillary's Health Concerns Serious, Say Most Doctors Polled by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)
TUCSON, Ariz. - Concerns about Hillary Clinton's health are "serious—could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.," say nearly 71% of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). About 20% said concerns were "likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records." Only 2.7% responded that they were "just a political attack; I have confidence in the letter from her physician and see no cause for concern."
While more than 81% were aware of her history of a concussion, only 59% were aware of the cerebral sinus thrombosis, and 52% of the history of deep venous thrombosis.
More than 78% said the health concerns had received "not enough emphasis" in the media, and only 2.7% that there had been "too much emphasis."
Nearly two-thirds said that a physician who had a concern about a candidate's fitness to serve for health reasons should "make the concerns known to the public." Only 11% said a physician should "keep silent unless he had personally examined the patient," and 10% that the candidate's health was "off limits for public discussion."
Eighty-eight respondents submitted comments. One said that "the public interest will ALWAYS override either privacy rights or rights of self-determination in the case of a presidential candidate." Another mentioned Clinton's "so called loss of memory claimed during her FBI questioning about her email server." Beyond the specific questions, one remarked that "I think that the candidate should be honest with the public about his/her health!" The history of the concussion was concerning: "The public must watch the movie Concussion to realize that such an injury does affect thought process."
A poll of 833 randomly selected registered voters by Gravis Marketing showed that nearly half (49%) were not aware of the "well documented major health issues that Hillary Clinton has." Nearly three-fourths (74%) were unaware of Bill Clinton's statement that Hillary suffered a "terrible" concussion requiring "six months of very serious work to get over." The majority (57%) thought that candidates should release their medical records.
"Both physicians and other voters think that health concerns are relevant when choosing a presidential candidate," states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. "However, more than 40% of physician respondents were unaware of the cerebral sinus thrombosis, and the vast majority of voters were not aware of all of Clinton's problems or their potential serious long-term implications for cognitive function."
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in virtually all specialties and every state. Founded in 1943, AAPS has the motto "omnia pro aegroto," which means "all for the patient."
Syrian refugees admitted to U.S. spike
by Laura Koran, CNN
(CNN)The number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States increased dramatically in May and early June, marking a significant surge in the pace of resettlement for a program that has become a lightning rod for critics of the Obama administration.
In fact, more Syrian refugees have arrived in the U.S. over the last five weeks than in the previous seven months, according to State Department data. Since May 1, 2,019 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the U.S., while only 1,736 were taken in over the first seven months of the fiscal year.
But critics of the resettlement program -- including Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump -- worry there's potential for ISIS or other terrorist groups to exploit refugee flows to reach the West.
Just last month, Trump warned in a podcast interview that a 9/11-like attack could occur if refugee resettlement continues.
"Our country has enough difficulty right now without letting the Syrians pour in," he said.
Administration officials have long insisted that refugees are among the most scrutinized class of immigrants, citing a range of biometric and biographical information vetting.
The recent spike in admissions follows the commitment of additional resources to the resettlement process over the past several months.
In particular, a State Department spokesperson told CNN the Departments of State and Homeland Security have beefed up staffing in at key processing locations in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, accelerating the interview process for applicants.
The administration is also working through a backlog of referrals from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which only began referring Syrian cases to the U.S. in significant numbers in 2014 and has stepped up referrals in the past year.
The State Department spokesperson insists that the increase in admission "will not curtail any aspects of the process, including its robust security screening."
"Refugees undergo by far the most rigorous level of security checks required of any traveler to the United States," the spokesperson added. "And Syrian refugees are screened to an even higher standard."
But the administration is still behind schedule in meeting President Barack Obama's goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the 2016 fiscal year, which began on October 1.
About 3,500 Syrian refugees have been admitted since then, leaving about 6,500 spots open with less than four months to go.
Obama set the goal last September, urging all countries to do more to help alleviate the growing migration crisis plaguing Europe and the Middle East. State Department officials say they remain committed to the goal.
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