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WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John McCain is blocking the confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee to be America's second-highest ranked diplomat.
Sadly, media is full of headlines with false proclamations that Turkey is not only sitting idle and not helping, but go even further and accuse Turkey of allegedly funding and supporting ISIS. (Surely, similar accusations have surfaced against the U.S. and Israel, but mostly by fringe media in the West and anti-Western outlets in Russia and elsewhere).
WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House lunch aiming for cooperation boiled into a fresh dispute with newly empowered Republicans over immigration reform Friday, with GOP leaders warning President Barack Obama to his face not to take unilateral action. The president stood unflinchingly by his plan to act.
Republicans attending the postelection lunch at Obama's invitation said they asked him for more time to work on legislation, but the president said his patience was running out. He underscored his intent to act on his own by the end of the year if they don't approve legislation to ease deportations before then and send it to him to sign.
The Republicans' approach, three days after they resoundingly won control of the Senate in midterm elections, "seemed to fall on deaf ears," Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a telephone interview. "The president instead of being contrite or saying in effect to America, 'I hear you,' as a result of the referendum on his policies that drove this last election, he seems unmoved and even defiant."
"I don't know why he would want to sabotage his last two years as president by doing something this provocative," said Cornyn. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week said the president's stance was "like waving a red flag in front of a bull."
Obama press secretary Josh Earnest said there was no reason that executive action on immigration should kill opportunities for the president and Republicans to find common ground.
"I could stand up here and say Republicans to vote once again for the 50th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that that's playing with fire or waving a red flag in front of a bull. I'm not really sure what that means," Earnest said.
The White House said lawmakers went home from the meeting with a parting gift — a six-pack of beer brewed at the White House. The White House also said Obama laid out three areas where he and Congress could work together before the end of the year — emergency funding to combat the Ebola outbreak, approval of a federal budget and quick action on spending to fight the Islamic State militant group.
House Speaker John Boehner's office said he told Obama he was ready to work with the president on a new authorization for military force against the IS group if the president worked to build bipartisan support. The White House announced soon after lunch ended that the U.S. was sending as many as 1,500 more troops to Iraq to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel as part of the mission. Obama is also asking Congress for more than $5 billion to help fund the fight.
Friday's two-hour meeting was tense at times, according to a senior House Republican aide. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, about to lose his grip on the upper chamber, barely said a word, the aide said. The aide said at one point as House Speaker John Boehner was making an argument on immigration, Obama responded that his patience was running out and Vice President Joe Biden interrupted to ask how long Republicans needed. Obama angrily cut Biden off, the aide said.
The aide was not authorized to describe the back-and-forth publicly by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Publicly Obama's tone was more upbeat as he opened the gathering. He pledged to work on ending long-running partisan gridlock and to be open to Republican ideas. The president said the lunch was a chance to "explore where we can make progress" after Americans showed in the midterm elections that they wanted to see more accomplished in Washington.
"They'd like to see more cooperation," Obama said, sitting at the middle of 13 lawmakers in the Old Family Dining Room set with the Truman china. "And I think all of us have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen."
Reporters were ushered out before any lawmaker spoke or the lunch of sea bass was served. Republican descriptions of the meeting were provided after they returned to Capitol Hill.
For the record, Boehner's office said he suggested that the president should back a Republican jobs bill as a starting place for bipartisan action.
Obama said at the start he was interested in "hearing and sharing ideas" for compromise on measures to boost the economy, then mentioned his personal priorities of college affordability and investment in road and building projects. He also touted improved monthly job growth numbers out Friday as evidence his economic policies are working, saying, "We're doing something right here."
Briefings on Ebola and the Islamic State from Pentagon officials dominated much of the meeting, and the immigration debate was said to have lasted about half an hour. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Republicans told Obama that any executive order, particularly on immigration but any issue, would be a "toxic decision."
"He still hasn't come to grips with the reality of the election and the consequences of the election," Barrasso said. "His tone and tenor didn't seem to reflect that of somebody whose policies were just significantly rejected all across the country just three days ago."
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — In many ways, this year's congressional races in Arizona feel like deja vu. The state is again host to some of the nation's most closely watched contests.
One race features a rematch between the same two candidates from the 2012 election. Another race has Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick fighting to keep her job in a vast swing district, a replay of the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.
All of Arizona's nine congressional seats are being voted on in Tuesday's election, but the races attracting most of the attention are the 1st and 2nd Congressional District contests.
Democratic Rep. Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally are battling again for the Tucson-area 2nd District, while Kirkpatrick is squaring off against former Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, a Republican, in the other race.
Voters have been bombarded with ads as the candidates and outside groups are spending millions to influence the outcome.
In one, McSally mocks Barber's attacks on her, using an actor to facetiously accuse her of disliking puppies. The ad closes in on McSally holding a puppy. "Watch it," she tells the actor.
An ad that featured a crying mother whose daughter had been killed by her stalker accused McSally of supporting gun rights for misdemeanor-convicted stalkers.
It was sponsored by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly. McSally denounced the ad and said she'd been a victim of stalking herself.
Americans for Responsible Solutions then pulled it, saying McSally had reversed her initial position. The group later aired another ad featuring Giffords praising Barber.
Giffords and the issue of gun control have been prominent in the race for the district in which six were killed and 13 were injured in the January 2011 mass shooting at a constituent event.
Giffords and Barber, then an aide for the congresswoman, were wounded in the attack.
"I'm hearing (voters) are looking forward to seeing an advertisement from a car dealership soon because they're just so sick of the political ads," said Barbara Lubin, the spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party.
"It remains to be seen how much extra additional spending adds to either the turnout of the overall voters or really changes the results," Arizona Republican Party spokesman Tim Sifert said.
In the 1st Congressional District, Kirkpatrick is fighting a tough battle with the well-known Tobin to keep her seat.
Kirkpatrick won the seat against Republican Jonathan Paton by only a few thousand votes last time around. That was after she'd lost it in 2010 to another conservative Republican.
But Tobin was late to the game after a hard-fought, three-way battle in the Republican primary.
In Maricopa County, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is facing challenger Wendy Rogers, a Republican who lost in the GOP primary in 2012 in the district.
Sinema has raised much more money than Rogers, a retired Air Force officer who has refused to publicly debate the incumbent. Democrats are confident Sinema will win, but Republicans are hoping anti-Democratic sentiment on Tuesday will give them a chance to pick up a seat.
Arizona has six other congressional districts that are holding elections Tuesday:
3rd District: Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva is facing off with Republican Gabriela Saucedo Mercer. Grijalva has held that seat for six terms and is likely to win a seventh.
4th District: Republican Rep. Paul Gosar will also likely keep his seat, which encompasses rural areas west and northwest of Phoenix. His opponent is Democrat Mikel Weisser.
5th District: The district spans from Gilbert to Chandler to parts of Mesa. Republican Matt Salmon won the seat in 2012 and is facing Democrat James Woods this year.
6th District: Republican David Schweikert holds the seat that includes parts of Maricopa County and the southeastern Phoenix suburbs. Schweikert is running again, this time against Democrat John W. Williamson.
7th District: Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, is the heavy favorite for the seat vacated by the retirement of longtime Rep. Ed Pastor. Gallego is a Harvard-educated, Iraq War veteran from a single-parent home who was the first in his family to graduate from college. He won the August primary, easily putting him on track to win Tuesday in the heavily Democratic district.
8th District: Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican, represents this district northwest of Phoenix. He is challenged by Stephen Dolgos, a Democrat.
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — A police officer was fatally injured Friday when he was hit by a suspected drunken driver, becoming the second officer from the Chandler Police Department to be killed in motorcycle crashes this week.
Officer David Payne, 37, was stopped at a red light about 1 a.m. when a vehicle struck his motorcycle from behind, police said. The impact threw Payne's motorcycle through the intersection.
The other driver drove away, but officers stopped him a short time later and took him into custody, police said. The driver had an 11-month-old baby with him, police said.
Payne's death followed the death of another Chandler officer Tuesday. Officer Bryant Holmes, 34, was riding his motorcycle to work when he was struck by an SUV that ran a red light, authorities said. The 20-year-old driver stopped.
"It's been a very difficult week for the department," Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said. "We have lost two exceptional and talented officers in a matter of three days."
Police said the suspect in Friday's crash that killed Payne was believed to be impaired by alcohol and driving on a suspended license.
"This is not an accident," said Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a police spokesman. "This is a crash ... It was 100 percent avoidable."
Brian Yazzie, 31, of Tempe, was arrested and jailed on suspicion of manslaughter, endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.
A Chandler police spokesman, Detective Seth Tyler, said he didn't know whether Yazzie has an attorney yet.
Payne was a seven-year veteran of the Chandler department and a member of its drunken-driving enforcement unit. "His passion was to remove impaired drivers from the roadways," Duggan said.
Payne was also a member of the Arizona Army National Guard, and he served in Iraq in 2007-2008.
Travis McQuade and Dan Neild went to high school together in Gilbert. Travis joined the Army and Dan joined the Air Force, but both struggled when they came back home. Now, at Crossfit ETP in Gilbert there is healing happening every day.
People looking for a quick, easy meal may consider In-N-Out Burger their best bet, while diners who want a fancy Italian, Mexican or Japanese dish have many restaurants on Mill Avenue to satisfy this craving. But for fresh, local ingredients ready to make any type of meal, the Tempe Farmers Market is the place to go.
Arizona needs a leader who will stand up for veterans. Our men and women in uniform are coming home in droves. Phoenix has been the eye of storm in the VA scandal. We just committed to fight another conflict in Iraq. Now more than ever, we need a leader who provides real solutions for our community’s veteran population.
To the person venting about “Code Pink nimrods acting like 12-year-olds” (Sept. 21, 2014), one of those people protesting the Senate Armed Services hearings was retired U.S. Army Col. Ann Wright. She has both a master’s and a law degree from the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College and is U.S. Army airborne-qualified.
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” goes the French proverb credited to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s not that a society or organization cannot be transformed. But such change is often cosmetic or superficial. Reality isn’t altered at the deeper, more profound levels.
“Don’t let the door hit Russell Pearce on his way out. He is about as bad for the GOP as Karl Rove.”
Like rats leaving a sinking ship, this past month we have seen Democrat party stalwarts abandoning their leader, President Barack Obama, left and right. San Francisco’s uberprogressive, liberal Sen. Diane Feinstein calling out her “lider” on national television for not having even one military plan to defeat ISIS. She wasn’t the first Democrat turncoat either. There was a conga line leading out of the House and the Senate of ex-Obama loyalists.
“Linda Turley-Hansen’s column about musky teenagers kind of gives me the creeps. As to the content, if the NRA has their way, we will all have guns and the discussion will have to shift to ‘size matters!’ ”
Residents of Gilbert and the rest of the East Valley spent the last week remembering the events of 9/11 during several ceremonies and events.
WAR! Here we go again! We hear the call to attack and destroy ISIS from all arenas: from Tom Patterson (“Time for US to get ‘crazy’ and fight to win in Middle East,” East Valley Tribune, Aug. 24), from Joe Klein (“An Evil That Must Be Stopped,” Time Magazine, Aug. 25), and from many politicians, government advisers and so-called military experts. And this after just having briefly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, “The Great War,” the “War To End All Wars.” As we lackadaisically prepare ourselves to slay our newest foe, ISIS, it might be worthwhile to glance at an excerpt from Ernst Glaeser’s renowned best-seller from 1928, “Jahrgang 1902” (“Birth Year 1902”).
It's disheartening to see the grifters, opportunists and race-baiters once again grab the chance to stir up racial animosity. We've seen Ferguson before. It's another setback to those sincerely striving for racial harmony.
“Shoot first, ask questions later” to “Paralysis by analysis.” Doesn’t that seem to be the change in American foreign policy over the last decade?
“Ferguson police had armored personnel carriers, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenades, not to mention enough tear gas for World War III. All of this military hardware was possessed in the name of terrorism and not one terrorist was caught or killed. All that this military equipment does is cause deafness in elected officials and used only to combat the First Amendment.”
Lost in all the big statewide races in Arizona's primary election are hard-fought congressional battles in which Democrats are trying to clinch a Phoenix-area seat and Republicans are vying for the chance to unseat Democratic incumbents in three districts.
“Judging by all his vacations and rounds of golf this year alone, I’d say Obama doesn’t give a rip about all the violence in the Middle East, or the fact that the Islamic terrorists want a modern-day Holocaust.”
“Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we? It is time to fight or go away.”
A University of Arizona doctor who was pushing for more research into medical marijuana is being let go — she believes for political reasons.
Service Branch: United States Marine Corp
Where and When Served: 2000-2009 in Iraq
A Dobson High School graduate, Chitwood served a six-month stint in Iraq and became a company training officer for soldiers going to the Middle East. He was stationed in Kansas City, Virginia, Washington, California and South Korea.
Service branch: Navy
Where and when served: 1992-1999 in Iraq.
Born in California, Wilson joined the Navy and deployed with the U.S.S. Benfold in 1997. He and his crew members were part of the early stages of Operation Desert Thunder while serving in the Persian Gulf.
Service branch: United States Marine Corps
Where and when served: 1994-2008 in Iraq and Somalia.
Olsen joined the armed services shortly after graduating high school in 1994. He served in several capacities and became a staff sergeant before receiving his honorable discharge in 2008.