My Predictions for the GOP Iowa Caucus

by Alan Fisher – In just a few hours, the people of Iowa will give their verdicts on who they would like to see as candidates in the 2016 Presidential election. After months of campaigning, this is the first real test of public opinion. Thousands will caucus across the mid-west state for both the Republicans and the Democrats. Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher has been following the Republican campaign and here he gives his predictions on how things are going to turn out. There are a number of reasons why the eventual winner in Iowa is tough to call – not least because this is a race unlike any other. I’ve made predictions on what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard and what I’ve read. JEB BUSH: Has finally started to gain momentum in the right direction after plunging in almost every poll since late summer. A good debate performance in Des Moines...

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Renewables To Surpass Coal As World’s Primary Power Source By 2030

by JOE ROMM – In November, the International Energy Agency quietly dropped this bombshell projection: “Driven by continued policy support, renewables account for half of additional global generation, overtaking coal around 2030 to become the largest power source.” In this post, I’ll dive deeper into this rapidly-approaching role reversal for coal and renewables. In Part Two, I’ll explain why the so-called “intermittency” problem for some renewables is basically solved and thus not a barrier to this reversal. In releasing its World Energy Outlook 2015 last fall, the IEA published this chart of projected electricity generation in 2040: CREDIT: IEA The IEA notes, “With 60 cents of every dollar invested in new power plants to 2040 spent on renewable energy technologies, global renewables-based electricity generation increases by some 8,300 TeraWatt-hours (more than half of the increase in total generation).” That increase is “equivalent to the output of all of today’s fossil-fuel...

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One Of These Two Men Will Likely Win The Iowa Caucuses. Here’s What That Means

by KIRA LERNER & ALICE OLLSTEIN – On Monday night, Iowa voters will head to their local caucuses to help decide which presidential candidates will win the state’s delegates. Though any of the 12 remaining Republican candidates could, in theory, collect the delegates, recent polls show that they will likely go to either hotel mogul Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). While winning the Iowa caucus doesn’t necessarily mean winning the nomination, the victory will give bring the victorious candidate more media attention, endorsements, and momentum for his conservative agenda. Here is where Cruz and Trump stand on 10 important issues. Iowa voters will likely be endorsing one of these platforms tonight:   Immigration The son of a Cuban immigrant, Ted Cruz frequently talks about the need to secure the border and end sanctuary cities. Opponents have targeted him for once supporting “amnesty,” but Cruz has never and still does...

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Conservatives, A Vote for Trump Proves Everything Liberals Say About You

by Bill Scher –   Politico Magazine asked me and 11 others if Trump has “killed the GOP.” My answer? Not yet: Before the Republican establishment concludes that its party is being consumed by a hostile takeover, it should first let its people cast some votes. So many conclusions are being prematurely drawn based on poll numbers. Poll numbers are very sensitive to media coverage, and we’ve never had a media huckster par excellence run for president before. Sure, Donald Trump can goose poll numbers by dominating news cycles through outrageous antics. But we don’t know if that actually translates into votes, especially when there isn’t much evidence of a robust get-out-the-vote operation. Even adding the Trump and Cruz poll numbers together, to conclude that the conservative populist wing is larger than the establishment-friendly wing is a dangerous assumption. With Trump and Cruz running scorched-earth ads against each other, there...

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Cruz’s Desperate Last Minute Attempt To Win Iowa Is So Vile State Officials Just NAILED Him For It

by Jameson Parker – In the closing days before the Iowa caucus, the very first primary of the 2016 election, Ted Cruz is having a bit of a panic moment. Having enjoyed high polls in Iowa for months, his disastrous last debate performance and general unlikability have him falling fast. In his desperation to win, his campaign decided to try to lie and shame voters into showing up for him – and absolutely NOBODY is happy about it. This week, Iowans began waking up to find a scary looking note in their mail. On yellow paper made to look like a ticket, the letter reads “VOTING VIOLATION” and creepily names the homeowner and their neighbors. The instructions are even more pathetic. You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are...

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Lilly Ledbetter Endorses Hillary Clinton For President!

by First Amendment – Lilly Ledbetter, a great champion and fighter for equal pay, for equal work, has endorsed Hillary for President! This is a very strong endorsement for Hillary! #ImWithHer www.washingtonpost.com/… Hillary Clinton won the endorsement Friday of the woman behind federal legislation making it easier for women to challenge their employers over unequal pay. Lilly Ledbetter, namesake of the first law President Obama signed in 2009, said Clinton is a “fierce and uncompromising champion for women, for basic fairness, and for opportunity for everyone.” The Clinton campaign was announcing the presidential endorsement Friday, the seventh anniversary of the law loosening time limits for lawsuits over unequal pay. Clinton frequently invokes Ledbetter’s story in her campaign speeches, and notes that women are typically paid roughly 20 percent less than men for the same work. “We have got to have equal pay for equal work,” Clinton said Thursday, as she campaigned in Iowa. Lilly’s entire...

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Turnout Isn’t Everything, It’s the Only Thing at the Iowa Caucuses

by Stephanie Slade – We are just hours out from the Iowa caucuses. The Democratic candidates made their final pitches to voters at a town hall event on Tuesday, while the Republicans (minus The Donald) will take their parting shots at this evening’s Fox News–sponsored debate. For almost a year I’ve been advising readers not to put much stock in the polls. Among other reasons, I’ve said that people are apt to change their mind about who they’re supporting many times over the course of the weeks and months leading up to an election, as they learn more about the various candidates, observe their performances in the debates, and view ads for and against. Poor showings in the early states can also push straggling candidates to throw in the towel, thus winnowing the field and changing voters’ calculus. But none of that likely matters in Iowa at this late stage in the game....

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Florida Mayors Call Out Marco Rubio And Jeb Bush On Climate Denial

by KATIE VALENTINE – South Florida is one of the most vulnerable regions in the nation to the effects of climate change. But you wouldn’t know that listening to the two Republican presidential candidates who have held office in Florida, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Now, a group of Florida mayors are taking Florida Senator Rubio and former Governor Bush to task on their climate denial. Fifteen mayors from cities in South Florida — including Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale — sent letters to Rubio and Bush this week, calling on them to “acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the upcoming crisis it presents our communities” and to meet with them within the next month to discuss climate change. “Ignoring climate science and doubling down on fossil fuels will only make the climate crisis more rapid and expensive,” the mayors write in their...

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The Boycott Of Israel Just Got A Major Helping Hand – From President Obama

by Kerry-Anne – President Obama made a change in policy this week that has added weight to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel. Moving forward, goods produced in the Occupied West Bank and sent for sale in the U.S can no longer be marked ‘Made in Israel’. They must state their place of origin as the ‘West Bank’. This will mean that, for the first time, Americans will be able to boycott Israeli goods produced in the West Bank. This option was not possible before the change, as consumers would have no idea whether the product was made in Tel Aviv or Ramallah. The clarification makes actions against Israeli companies that are occupying the West Bank much easier to target. The law itself has existed since the Clinton administration, but is rarely, if ever, enforced. As Forward notes: According to an April 1995 U.S. Customs and Border Protection notification,...

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Carson Campaign Demands Gay Soldiers Go Back In The Closet Lest They Get Too ‘Militant’ About It

by Jameson Parker – Ben Carson is having a really bad week. He’s had a lot of bad weeks recently, but this one is particularly bad. The last Republican debate was considered Carson’s do or die moment and he died… unambiguously… while we all watched. The once rising star of the 2016 election went out, not with a bang, but with a characteristic whisper. A soft, monotone word salad. His trademark. By the end of the night, Carson was misquoting the preamble to the Constitution and perhaps slowly realizing that this would be the last time many people would ever remember he ever had run for president at all. The very next day, while Carson slept off his post-relevancy hangover and waited to come in 6th in Iowa, his campaign chairman Robert Dees was talking to reporters. Normally this would be a good thing, but Dees happens to be a raging...

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Homeless Veterans Group Asked Trump For A Donation, So He Sent Them Bumper Stickers

by John Prager – As we’ve all heard from Trump, he didn’t skip the debate because the thought of facing a woman who is willing to confront him turns his pants just a little brown, or because Fox News would not pay him $5 million for the appearance. Instead, he just wanted to do something nice for America’s veterans. According to the billionaire, the rally he scheduled to air on Fox’s competing networks during the debate raised a whopping $6 million for Veterans. Unfortunately, this money all went to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has an abysmal history of helping those who have served our country, with less than 1% of donations going to that particular cause. While Trump is perfectly willing to hide behind our Vets as he pretends that he’s not scared of being challenged by Megyn Kelly, a simply look at his recent history reveals how much...

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On This Day, Jan. 31, 1950: Truman Announces Development of H-Bomb

U.S. President Harry S. Truman publicly announces his decision to support the development of the hydrogen bomb, a weapon theorized to be hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. Five months earlier, the United States had lost its nuclear supremacy when the Soviet Union successfully detonated an atomic bomb at their test site in Kazakhstan. Then, several weeks after that, British and U.S. intelligence came to the staggering conclusion that German-born Klaus Fuchs, a top-ranking scientist in the U.S. nuclear program, was a spy for the Soviet Union. These two events, and the fact that the Soviets now knew everything that the Americans did about how to build a hydrogen bomb, led Truman to approve massive funding for the superpower race to complete the world’s first “superbomb,” as he described it in his public announcement on January 31. On November...

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Judge Orders State To Give Millions In Subsidies To Creationist Amusement Park

by IAN MILLHISER – The state of Kentucky must give millions of dollars in tax subsidies to a Noah’s Ark theme park owned by a creationist ministry, even though that ministry refuses to comply with the state’s request not to engage in hiring discrimination, according to an opinion by a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench. Under Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove’s opinion, the creationist group Answers in Genesis (AiG) stands to gain up to $18 million. AiG is probably best known for its Creation Museum, a Kentucky attraction where “Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers” and “the serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” In 2010, the group began work on an attraction called “Ark Encounter,” a theme park built around Noah’s Ark. AiG sought millions of dollars in tax subsidies...

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Is Climate Change Supercharging Storms Like Jonas And Sandy More Than We Thought?

by JOE ROMM – A new analysis suggests that human-caused climate change may be having a much bigger impact on East Coast superstorms than we thought. A global slowdown in crucial Atlantic Ocean currents — caused by global warming — appears to be supercharging both precipitation and storm surge. Once-in-a-century extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy and record-shattering Supersnowstorm Jonas and have become more common in recent years. We’ve known for a while that record-setting blizzards and other intense precipitation events have been fueled in part by the extra moisture in the air from warming-driven sea surface temperatures (SSTs). I discussed the science on this at length in my Friday post on Jonas. We also know that warming-driven East Coast SSTs helped fuel Superstorm Sandy in many ways. As Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences — one of the world’s leading experts on the...

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Tennessee Lawmakers Endorse Bid To Declare All Marriage Illegal In Order To Spite Equality

by ZACK FORD – Just one day after a Tennessee House committee rejected a bill to nullify the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, the head of the state’s top conservative organization filed a lawsuit hoping to, at the very least, stall same-sex marriage. And he has the support of several state lawmakers. David Fowler, head of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), filed the state suit in Williamson County, asking County Clerk Elaine Anderson to cease issuing marriage licenses until the suit is resolved. His contention relies on a mix of odd technicalities relating to the impact of the Obergefell decision on Tennessee law, particularly the idea that the state’s entire marriage statute was invalidated. He argues that because lawmakers would never have passed a marriage law inclusive of same-sex couples, there is no longer any law stipulating marriage for any couple, and thus all marriage licenses issued in the state...

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Oklahoma Sets New Record For Attempts To Discriminate Against LGBT People

by ZACK FORD – As expected, state legislatures are preparing dozens of anti-LGBT bills this year, some of which are part of the backlash to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and some of which are a response to the growing visibility of transgender people. One state has already risen to the top with a new record number of anti-LGBT bills, beating Texas’ record of 23 last year. (The Texas legislature does not convene in 2016, or it might have topped its own record.) Freedom Oklahoma, the Sooner State’s LGBT advocacy organization, is currently tracking at least 26 different bills that in someway limit, threaten, or actively discriminate against LGBT people. Many mirror efforts in other states, but a few are unique and particularly dangerous to the state’s LGBT population. Here’s a look at the many bills LGBT activists are preparing to fight. The Big Bad Troy Stevenson, executive director...

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The Poisoning of Flint Was Not an Accident – It Was a Crime

by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed – What does lead do to the human body? Infants and small children can suffer brain and nervous system damage, weakened immune systems and general physical collapse that can lead to death. Pregnant women have a higher risk of stillbirth or miscarriage. A raft of studies has pretty much concluded that lead can cause cancer. It causes cardiovascular diseases and kidney damage which, like cancer, can also kill. The people of Flint, Michigan, are now subject to all of these impacts and more, due to the lead in their water. The people of Flint and other surrounding towns have been drinking, cooking with and bathing in lead-poisoned water for two years. More than 8,000 children have been exposed along with tens of thousands of other people. This was not an accident. This was a crime committed against a predominantly Black, predominately poor population...

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Ask Republican Hawks, How Are You Going to Pay for it?

by WShaneSchmidt – An almost universal call to restore our supposedly neglected military strongly marked Thursday night’s GOP Debate whether indirectly by promising a bigger war on terrorism or straight on by promising to rebuild it. Defense already accounts for more than 17% of the annual national budget, nearly $600 billion, and more than half the country’s discretionary budget.  “Hidden” are enormous extra-budget war-related expenditures which add to the nation’s debt, primarily borrowing and interest.  Depending on future policy (do we start paying for our needs) and the economy (growth, inflation, and so on) we could be paying interest on this debt for many years, adding even more to the cost of national defense that is not already on the books. Meanwhile, the same Republican politicians stand on a political platform that has been and remains intensely and enthusiastically anti-tax.  It follows a policy of less-is-more, one in which “freedom” is defined by less government and rallies...

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With Parole Ruling, Supreme Court Says ‘All Children Possess Capacity for Change’

by Nadia Prupis – ‘Bold’ decision may chart the way for overhaul of criminal justice system, human rights advocate says The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that people sentenced to life in prison as juveniles should be given the chance to argue for their release—a decision that could chart a “bold new direction” toward justice system reform, a leading human rights group said. The U.S. is the only country that still sentences minors to life in prison without parole. In a 6-3 vote, the court said its 2012 decision in Miller v. Alabama, which abolished mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles, applies retroactively. That means people still in prison for crimes committed as children will now have the chance to receive new sentencing or an opportunity to argue for their release, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. The ruling stems from the case of Montgomery v. Louisiana. The plaintiff, Henry...

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Rapid, Affordable Energy Revolution is Possible, Says New Report

by Lauren McCauley – Wind and solar can compete against fossil fuel energy sources, especially with key infrastructure upgrades While the dangers of a power system based on the burning of fossil fuels are increasingly apparent, a new report on Monday argues that a rapid, affordable energy transformation is, in fact, within our grasp. Within 15 years, the United States could slash greenhouse gas emissions from power production by nearly 80 percent below 1990 levels without increasing cost and, at the same time, meeting increased demand, according to researchers with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in collaboration with the University of Colorado at Boulder. Not only do wind and solar compete under existing circumstances but the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, also tackled the problem of intermittent energy generation that comes with weather-driven renewable resources. Alexander MacDonald, co-lead author and recently retired director of NOAA’s Earth...

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