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Is America’s bigger problem the economic decline or it’s political decay? Andrew Potter writes in Axis of Logic:
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The most telling moment of the recent standoff over talks to raise the American government’s debt ceiling came on July 22, when President Barack Obama called a press conference to announce that House Speaker John Boehner had backed out of the negotiations. “I’ve been left at the altar twice now,” Obama pouted. In case the image of the President as a jilted lover was not clear to everyone watching, he added that he had spent the previous day waiting for Boehner to return his phone calls.
The whole affair has left a lot of Americans in a state of bipartisan disgust, with citizens from all points on the political compass cursing out their elected representatives. Yet it doesn’t seem to have occurred to many people that there is something structurally flawed with a system that allows the head of just one legislative house to treat the supposed leader of the free world as his last choice for the senior prom.
The hacker group Lulz Security has claimed it has brought down the public-facing website of the US Central Intelligence Agency. The alleged attack on CIA.gov occurred on the same day the group opened a telephone request line so its fans could suggest potential targets. On its Twitter feed, the group wrote: "Tango down - cia.gov - for the lulz". The CIA website was inaccessible at times on Wednesday but appeared to be back up on Thursday. It was unclear if the outage was due to the group's efforts or to the large number of internet users trying to check the site. The CIA would not confirm if it had been the victim of an attack. In a statement, a spokesperson told BBC News: "The CIA's public web site experienced technical issues that caused it to respond slowly for a short time yesterday evening. Those issues are now resolved."
America’s last surviving veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, has died aged 110.
Mr Buckles, who joined the US army in 1917, at the age of 16, lying about his age to get enlisted, died of natural causes at his home near Charles Town, West Virginia, on Sunday.
He was one of more than 4.7m Americans who signed up to fight in the Great War between 1917-18.
He served in England and France, as a driver and a warehouse clerk.
Mr Buckles was turned down by the marines and the navy for being too young to serve, but managed to convince an army recruiter he was 21.
“A knowledgeable old sergeant said if you want to get to France right away, go into the ambulance corps,” he said in a 2001 interview with the Library of Congress.
[Continues at BBC]