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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Terry Schiavo’s Husband Is LIVID That Jeb Bush’s Super PAC Used Her Image In This Ad (VIDEO)

by Charles Topher – The lowest point in Jeb Bush’s political career has to be the heartbreaking case of Terry Schiavo. Terry was pronounced brain-dead in 1990 after her husband Michael found her unconscious in their Florida home. Terry’s parents, holding on for hope, refused to allow her to be removed from life support. A long and grueling legal battle ensued, with the courts eventually siding with Michael, on advice from doctors who confirmed that Terry was, in all sentient manner, gone and not coming back. It was time to let Terry go. In stepped Jeb Bush, then governor of Florida, and his “all life is sacred” political crusade to “save” a woman who had been gone for 15 years and was only alive through autonomic function and a breathing tube. Jeb took the case back to court, had legislation passed and even signed an executive order to keep Terry Schiavo’s...

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French Minister Resigns Rather Than Stamp Draconian Anti-Terror Law

by Nadia Prupis – Draconian constitutional changes included stripping convicted terrorists of their French nationality French justice minister Christiane Taubira, seen by many as a rare voice of compassion for marginalized communities, resigned unexpectedly on Wednesday over President François Hollande’s controversial anti-terror proposals, saying, “Sometimes to resist means leaving.” “I left the government over a major political disagreement,” Taubira told the BBC.  “I am choosing to be true to myself, to my commitments, my battles and my relationships with other people.” Taubira, whose role in the cabinet included stamping the seal of France onto new laws and policies, was seen as a champion of civil rights, arguably best known for introducing the country’s same-sex marriage law in 2013. As France 24‘s Douglas Herbert wrote on Wednesday, her convictions raised her profile among an increasingly divided political sector, often making her a target of racial slurs from the country’s right-wing faction. But...

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Donald Trump Is the Harbinger of the Republican Party Apocalypse

by Peter Suderman – We may be witnessing the collapse of the Republican party, or at least the Republican party as we know it. And if so, then Donald Trump is the harbinger of its apocalypse. The signs of the party’s weakness and disarray are everywhere. Trump is the GOP’s presidential front-runner by most any measure: FiveThirtyEight, which recently published a long essay looking at the GOP’s breakdown as a party, gives him a 55 percent of winning the nomination, based strictly on the polls. Yet the candidate is now in open warfare with two of the right’s most influential media platforms:National Review and Fox News. Last week, National Review published a special issue devoted to denouncing the candidate, with an unsigned editorial labeling him a “a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”...

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Note To Media: The Heavily Armed, Law-Breaking Oregon Militants Aren’t ‘Protesters’

by ADRIENNE MAHSA VARKIANI – With news that the leader of the Oregon militia occupying a federal wildlife refuge was arrested last night, and another member killed in a confrontation with police, it’s worth taking a look back at how the media has described the crisis in the last few weeks. The armed militia first seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on January 2, and proclaimed early on that they were willing to kill and be killed if necessary. Since then, their occupation of the land, and their refusal to seriously negotiate with the FBI, has cost the U.S. government over $133,000 per day. Regardless, much of mainstream media has continued to avoid labeling them as the occupying militia that they are. Rather, the go-to label for the armed group has been “protesters.” Here are just a few headlines along those lines: CREDIT: THE NEW YORK TIMES CREDIT:...

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The ‘Baby Parts’ Video People Just Got The Worst News Of Their Lives

by John Prager – Sorry, David Daleidin and Sandra Merritt, even if you don’t like your first Grand Jury, you can keep it. On Wednesday, lawyers for the pair of anti-abortion activists who were recently indicted on multiple felony counts in a surprise twist to a case conservatives hoped would end Planned Parenthood forever, argued that the Grand Jury that handed out indictments was absolutely out of control. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as the lying liars who produced the heavily edited, fraudulent “baby parts” videos that prompted Robert Lewis Dear to attack a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado, and Carly Fiorina to redefine “stupid” in her almost incoherent ravings about the health organization, had planned. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said that she does not intend to cave to the whims of the right-wing activists, explaining that “the inconvenient truth of a criminal investigation is that it doesn’t always...

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Campaign Donations Reflect the Sharp Split in Congress Among Republicans

by Derek Willis – A ProPublica analysis of political fundraising shows conservative House Republicans have less and less in common with their party’s leaders, whose donors sometimes more closely resemble those of Democrats The Republican split that defines this year’s presidential campaign has been on display in Congress for years, with the most conservative wing battling party leaders on issues from spending to immigration. A ProPublica analysis of campaign donations highlights just how profound this gap has become in the House of Representatives. The analysis shows that the Republican leadership, including Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, raises money from a vastly different set of political action committees than members further to the right. In fact, the donor bases for Ryan and McCarthy are actually more similar to some Democrats than to their colleagues in the main conservative grouping, the Freedom Caucus. The fundraising disparity stokes the divisive atmosphere...

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Ban the Iowa Caucus

by IAN MILLHISER – In 2000, Vermont governor and future presidential candidate Howard Dean offered a grim assessment of presidential caucuses in an interview with a Canadian television station. “Say I’m a guy who’s got to work for a living, and I’ve got kids,” Dean said. “On a Saturday, is it easy for me to go cast a ballot and spend 15 minutes doing it, or do I have to sit in a caucus for eight hours? I can’t stand there and listen to everyone else’s opinion for eight hours about how to fix the world.” Dean was savaged for this comment by his Democratic opponents and by the Iowa press, as it showed him attacking the very same Iowa caucus that he hoped to win in 2004. Yet, while Dean’s comment was somewhat hyperbolic — Iowans typically do not spend eight hours at a caucus site — his overarching...

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Sexism Runs Rampant Among GOP Contenders in the 2016 Presidential Race

by Veronica I. Arreola, Truthout | News Analysis – The Hillary Clinton nutcracker. “Hillary Clinton reminds everyone of their first wife.” “You’re likeable enough.” The 2008 Democratic primary race provided ample evidence of sexism in electoral politics by candidates and the mainstream media. The 2016 campaign is proving to be no different. Yet while the brunt of sexist remarks is being launched toward Hillary Clinton, the campaigns have resorted to sexism in many other cases as well. The most egregious uses of sexism in the campaign have come from Donald Trump. The former reality TV star and real estate mogul has many years of experience that he brought to the race. Media critic Jennifer L. Pozner summed up his sexist ways on “The Apprentice” in a 2015 article at Politico, writing, “Female candidates’ business experience was often underemphasized compared with their male counterparts, and scenes showing men devising effective moneymaking strategies...

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Santorum Goes On Epic Facebook Rant After USA Today Cites Campaign Hinting That It’s Over

by poopdogcomedy – I’ve mentioned before several times that I’m originally from Pennsylvania but I live and work in Los Angeles now. Of course my heart still belongs to the Keystone State and of course I like to stay up to date with PA politics as well as California politics. But one of my all time favorite political clowns that I always like to throw a punch at is my former U.S. Senator and GOP Presidential candidate, Rick Santorum (R. PA). I wasn’t surprised that it came down between Santorum and former Governor Mitt Romney (R. MA) in the 2012 GOP primary. Santorum invested in Iowa early on and he’s been able to pull of upsets before, despite being an awful, awful human being. But Santorum really thought 2016 would be like 2012 but that’s just not the case. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz continue to dominate the field and it...

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About That 1980 Iowa Debate Ronald Reagan Skipped (VIDEO)

by Ed Krayewski – It wasn’t because he thought someone was mean to him, and after the Iowa caucus Reagan realized he had made a mistake Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s Twitter squad is pushing the idea that Donald Trump rage-quitting the Fox News debate because he thinks Megyn Kelly is mean to him makes him as presidential as Ronald Reagan, because Reagan also skipped a GOP debate in Iowa. For all his faults, Ronald Reagan ran a campaign of optimism and small government in 1980. That campaign ended in a landslide over incumbent Jimmy “malaise forever” Carter. No one would mistake the “Trump train” and its never-ending anger, xenophobia, and even class envy for a campaign of optimism. Sure, Trump, like Reagan, wants to “make America great again,” but Trump’s vision doesn’t include America as a “shining city on a hill” for the world to aspire to. It involves a giant...

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New Iowa Ad Attacks Ted Cruz’s Faith, Calls Him A ‘Phony’

by JACK JENKINS – An outside political group has released an advertisement attacking the faith of presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), challenging his religious authenticity and casting doubt on his credibility with evangelical voters. According to Politico, the newly-formed political group Americans United for Values released a 60-second radio ad in Iowa this week questioning the legitimacy of Cruz’s evangelical Christian faith — a crucial component of his religion-themed campaign. The ad primarily consists of a conversation between two women, one of whom calls Cruz a “phony.” “I also heard he gives less than 1 percent to charity and church,” one of the voices in the ad says, a reference to a 2012 report that listed Cruz as giving less than 1 percent of his income to charity. Another voice makes mention of a secret recording of Cruz, who is Southern Baptist, refusing to tell an attendee at a...

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Sanders Puts Block on Obama’s Big Pharma Nominee for FDA

by Nadia Prupis – ‘We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government.’ Senator Bernie Sanders put a hold on President Barack Obama’s nominee to take over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday, joining with two other senators who have also objected to Dr. Robert M. Califf’s nomination, citing his ties to corporate drug manufacturers. “Dr. Califf’s extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry give me no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies,” Sanders said in a statement on Tuesday. “We need someone who will work to substantially lower drug prices, implement rules to safely import brand-name drugs from Canada and hold companies accountable who defraud our government.” As a researcher at Duke University, Califf took...

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Rand Paul: In The Final Pre-Iowa Debate, and Optimistic About Iowa

by Brian Doherty – The Kentucky senator disses Ted Cruz, says he’s the only fiscal conservative, worries about armed self-defense, and hopes for a youth surge to propel him in Iowa caucuses It’s official: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has qualified by his rising poll numbers to appear in this Thursday’s Fox-sponsored Republican presidential candidate debate, the last before the first votes of election 2016 are cast in Iowa on Feb. 1. While Paul is in, frontrunner Donald Trump is saying today that, because he feels Fox isn’t treating him fairly, he will be out. Paul hosted a telephone press conference this afternoon in which he talked about the debate and other things. Some highlights: • Naturally, he still thinks he can do very well in Iowa. When the news he’d made the Fox debate was official, Paul says, in his Des Moines campaign office “100 young men and women making phone...

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FBI Directs Media to Leave the Area of Militant Standoff (VIDEO)

by Jen Hayden – The remaining armed militants at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge vow that they will continue to fight until the end. The FBI asked the media to leave the area at approximately 7:45 AM PT. The militants have been running a live stream video from the refuge off and on overnight and into the morning after news of the arrest of Ammon Bundy and crew reached them. They have repeatedly made definitive statements that they are prepared to die at the refuge. While they appear to be scattered around on patrols and at different stations throughout the refuge, one man positioned near the live stream camera could be heard calling his mother, telling her that he loves her and that he believes this is the second American revolution. He noted his wife is there, fighting along with him. He called her a “great American woman.” He stopped numerous times to look into the camera and address...

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This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain Why Trump Is Skipping The Republican Debate

by JUDD LEGUM – Donald Trump announced Tuesday evening that he would skip the next Presidential debate, which will take place January 28 on Fox News. It is a move, much like his campaign, that defies traditional political analysis. Fox News is the station of choice for the Republican electorate and the network, which Trump has feuded with in the past, has been relentlessly promoting his candidacy. Trump’s campaign says he skipping the debate because Megyn Kelly, who Trump has labeled a “bimbo” and “bitter,” is biased against him. But Kelly, while not fawning over Trump like most Fox talent, has been perfectly fair to Trump. Yes, Kelly confronted Trump with some sexist statements he’s made. But Trump was able to respond in a way that was perfectly acceptable — even appealing — to many Republican primary voters. Moreover, the debates have been generating enormous ratings and Thursday’s event is...

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Ammon Bundy Arrested, Ryan Bundy And ‘Tarp Man’ Shot After Confrontation With Police (VIDEO)

The ammosexual terrorists currently staging an armed occupation in a federal bird sanctuary in Oregon are standing their ground amid reports that Ammon Bundy and three of their compatriots have been arrested. Monumental imbecile, godawful radio host, and wannabe journalist Pete Santilli’s live feed cut out as he stood in front of a hospital near the Malheur Wildlife Refuge to announce that Bundy and others had been arrested, and two had been shot. Santilli says that one of the Faithful received a phone call from the FBI: “The word is right now that everyone — and this is the message that they wanted to convey, and if anybody’s watching this stream at the refuge — the FBI has conveyed a message: you are free to go, and you must leave now.” “The confirmation is as follows,” Santilli said. “It is reported that Ammon Bundy is in custody by police....

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Donald Trump Won’t Participate in Thursday’s GOP Debate on Fox News

by Peter Suderman – Is the Republican presidential frontrunner afraid of Megyn Kelly? Donald Trump is pulling out of the GOP debate hosted by Fox News this Thursday. Ever since the first Republican debate, the Republican frontrunner has been at war with Megyn Kelly. The Fox News host moderated the first debate back in August, and opened with questions asking Trump about derogatory comments he’d made about women. After the debate was over, Trump complained about the moderation and Kelly in particular, lobbing barely disguised misogynist insults at her, and then, of course, claiming he’d done no such thing. The feud has continued, at a low level, for the last few months, but it flared up again recently when Fox announced that Kelly would be moderating the next Fox News debate this Thursday. In response, Trump threatened to boycott the event. He even launched a Twitter poll this afternoon asking his followers whether...

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Rumsfeld Quietly Shelved a 2002 Report Undermining Bush Administration’s Claims About Iraq’s WMDs

by Meteor Blades – Turns out, according to Politico’s John Walcott, there were some known unknowns and some unknown unknowns that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld knew about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in September 2002. And he didn’t share those with others in the run-up to war. In August 2002, Rumsfeld had asked Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen Shaffer, head of the Joint Staff’s intelligence directorate, for a report on Iraq’s WMDs. Although the report was declassified in 2011 and posted on Rumsfeld’s website then, it has not previously garnered any attention. The eight-page September 2, 2002, document, titled “Status of Iraq’s WMD Programs,” was passed along to Rumsfeld by Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time. The general noted in his two-sentence cover memo to Rumsfeld, “It is big.” The report appeared on Rumsfeld’s desk right in the middle of the administration’s effort to “educate” the public about what it claimed was a serious threat from Iraq. The report noted...

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This Mosque In Istanbul Shelters Stray Cats, Much To The Delight Of Devotees

by Amanda Froelich – The mosque’s imam has been allowing stray cats into the place of worship since last year to ensure they do not get cold or die during the winter Credit: Mustafa Efe There are cat cafes and cat lovers, but did you know there are also cat mosques? We’re not kitten you! In Istanbul, Turkey, there is a mosque that allows dedicated believers to worship next to cuddly cats. The Dodo reports that the Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Mosque’s imam Mustafa Efe has been allowing stray cats into the mosque since last year. Reportedly, he doesn’t want them to get cold or dieduring the winter.  The amazing samaritan does his best to comfort the cats and help them feel at home. In fact, the felines feel so safe and comfortable in the mosque, one cat even relocated her kittens into the place of worship! Credit: Mustafa Efe Credit: Mustafa Efe As...

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A Tale of Two Debates

by John Atcheson – It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times. Well, maybe not the best, but the Republican debate last week was certainly about as bad as it gets. Let’s look at some of the worst of times– that is to say, the Republican debate.  It’s clear they live in an alternate universe; one that is not tethered to reality in any way whatsoever.  The bug-eyed, fear frothing statements of Rubio and Christie, the hate-filled jingoism of Trump, and the old-testament self-righteousness of Cruz and Carson should have been a source of deep national embarrassment. When Jeb Bush and Governor I-forgot-your-name-oh-yeah-it’s Kasich are the closest approximation to rational you’ve got … well, you should be laughed off the stage. But this is America, where the media is owned by the oligarchy, so their lengthy list of lies, self-contradictions, deceptions, and baseless ad hominem attacks and...

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Five Years After Tahrir Square, Egypt’s Police State Worse Than Ever

by Lauren McCauley – Intent on suppressing any protests marking Arab Spring anniversary, al-Sisi government oversaw widespread raids and disappearances Five years after mass popular uprisings ousted longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians are again under siege. In an attempt to thwart demonstrations honoring the 2011 Arab Spring, the government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has deployed troops, raided homes and cultural centers, and reportedly disappeared hundreds of activists in the lead-up to the anniversary on Monday, intensifying a widespread crackdown on dissent. Over the past two weeks, security forces interrogated residents and searched more than 5,000 homes in central Cairo as a “precautionary measure” against demonstrations, which officials claim “are aimed at polarizing society and mobilizing the masses against the government.” Meanwhile, activists estimate that between August and November more than 340 people “disappeared” into government custody. Sherif Mohie Eddin of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said the total number recently...

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Clinton Skewers GOP Candidates After Muslim Vet Asks Her An Emotional Question (VIDEO)

by VERA – During the Democratic Presidential Town Hall in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate absolutely skewered the 2016 Republican candidates for their “dangerous” rhetoric. Clinton’s fiery rant against the GOP came as a response to Islamic Air Force veteran Erum Tariq-Munir, who asked a question that no parent in America should ever have to wonder, but it’s completely understandable now that the far-right is upping the crazy. Noting the rising Islamophobia in the country, Tariq-Munir asked: “As a mother of three young children, as an American Muslim, how can I make sure that this country is the best place on earth to raise my family?” Clinton paused and thanked Tariq-Munir for her service before launching into an attack against the people most responsible for the growing bigotry in the United States. Once she got going, the former Secretary of State couldn’t hold back, allowing disgust and anger to flow freely....

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President Obama Is Putting An End To Inhumane Punishment In The Federal Prison System

by CHRISTIAN DRAKE – President Obama announced via an op-ed in the Washington Post that he will be enacting some major reforms in the federal prison system. He will be putting an end to solitary confinement for juveniles, and prohibiting the practice as a punishment for low-level infractions. The reforms were taken from a report by the Justice Department that listed recommendations for improving the system. It’s estimated that approximately 10,000 individuals would be affected. Unfortunately, this only applies to the federal prison system and not to the majority of prison inmates that are incarcerated for state-level crimes. Even with that in mind, this is still a bold and very necessary step in reforming American prisons which can serve as a model for states to follow. President Obama made his case as follows: How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to...

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Conservative Icon And National Review Founder William F. Buckley Loathed Donald Trump

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – Donald Trump thinks conservative icon William F. Buckley would oppose the National Review’s attack against him. William F. Buckley disagreed…16 years ago. Earlier this week, the National Review launched an all-out assault against Donald Trump, branding him a “charlatan” who isn’t a real conservative. “Virtually every Republican presenting himself to voters swears so-help-me-God that he is a conservative,” wrote Brent Bozell among multiple other writers for the publication. “Enter Donald Trump, not just with policy prescriptions that challenge the cynical GOP leadership but with an attitude of disdain for that leadership—precisely in line with the sentiment of the base. Many conservatives are relishing this, but ah, the rub. Trump might be the greatest charlatan of them all.” Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump National Review is a failing publication that has lost it’s way. It’s circulation is way down w its influence being at an all...

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As Opposition Builds, is Energy East Tar Sands Pipeline ‘Dead in the Water’?

by Deirdre Fulton – Of Energy East, Montreal mayor says: “Let’s call a spade a spade: It’s a bad project.” Elected officials across Canada are locking horns over TransCanada’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline, after the Montreal Metropolitan Community, which represents 82 municipalities, decided unanimously to fight the project because its economic benefits for Quebec would pale in comparison to the possible clean-up costs of a spill. The proposed pipeline would take Alberta tar sands oil as far east as an Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, and would be capable of carrying up to 1.1 million barrels a day from west to east. In a blog post outlining its dangers earlier this week, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) senior policy analyst Danielle Droitsch referred to the project as “Keystone Redux.” It faces staunch opposition from environmental groups, First Nations communities, and now, Montreal-area leaders. “Trudeau already said that...

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ISIS Is Expanding. Should U.S. Military Bases Abroad Expand Too? (VIDEO)

by Nick Gillespie & Amanda Winkler – Author David Vine says a growth in overseas bases will damage national security and the economy The Pentagon announced its proposal late last year to build up a network of military bases in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Middle East in an effort to halt the expansion of the Islamic State (ISIS) in those regions. The bases would be used primarily for intelligence gathering and carrying out strikes against ISIS affiliates. But David Vine, professor at American University and author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, says this strategy is misguided and potentially harmful to national security. “To expand the U.S. base presence in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere would only be to double down on a strategy that has not worked, that in fact, helped give rise to ISIS,” declares Vine. Vine recently sat down with Reason...

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As Flint Struggles With Contaminated Water, Congress Tries To Gut Clean Water Rule

by ALEJANDRO DAVILA FRAGOSO – The latest attempt to do away with a federal water rule that protects millions of miles of streams failed Thursday, as senators couldn’t garner enough votes to override a presidential veto and block the contested Waters of the United States rule. The attempt to veto the rule, which protects bodies of water that provide drinking water for one-third of Americans, comes in the midst of a water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. The vote was deeply divided among partisan lines, with 52 senators voting to upheld the veto, eight abstaining and the remaining 40 voting against it. While the vote was close, overriding a veto requires a super-majority. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed for the vote, which was considered a long-shot from the start, less than a day after President Obama vetoed a resolution that would have blocked the water rule. “Too many of...

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Rick Snyder Donor Picked To Lead Investigation Of Flint Water Crisis

by JOSH ISRAEL – Weeks after refusing to even look into allegations of wrongdoing in the Flint water crisis, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) announced on Monday that he is appointing a special counsel to investigate the situation. Schuette said that he has selected former prosecutor Todd Flood, a donor to both Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder (R), to determine whether anyone broke state law. Snyder has been criticized for his administration’s handling of the crisis, which has left tens of thousands without safe drinking water and may have caused irreversible damage to Flint children, including allegations that they did nothing even after learning the water was not safe to drink. A class-action lawsuit filed by Flint residents alleges that both Snyder and the state government breached their contract to provide drinkable water and of violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by saying it was safe. Schuette, whose office is...

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Ready or Not, Here Come the Primaries

by BILLMOYERS.COM STAFF – There was a blizzard. Perhaps you heard. Here’s what we’re reading as we dig out… Ready or not… –> We have a week until the Iowa caucuses, and then roughly another week until the New Hampshire primary. At The Atlantic, Julian Zelizer recalls how in 1976,Jimmy Carter “revolutionized” the Iowa caucus and became the first in a “long history of surprise candidates doing well in the Iowa caucuses and defeating the ‘inevitable’ nominees.” Anyone but Trump –> The editors of the conservative National Review are hoping for such an upset, gravely declaring that frontrunner Donald Trump is a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist” who would be too dangerous for their party — a stand that resulted in the magazine being disinvited from hosting debates. Except for that guy –> Meanwhile, many other establishment Republicans are rushing to differentiate Cruz from Trump. “Cruz isn’t a good guy, and he’d...

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An Open Letter to Sarah Palin from Republican Former US Navy Officer & Marine Chris Mark

by Leslie Salzillo – U.S. veteran and war/combat survivor Chris Mark had some harsh words for GOP pundit Sarah Palin in his post on the website GlobalRiskInfo.com. After Palin’s son was arrested for domestic violence earlier this week, she blamed his dangerous and drunken episode on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Chris Mark is a PTSD survivor, and found Palin’s political ploy to divert her son’s crime very offensive, as have many Americans and American veterans. Mark decided to write this open letter to Palin, which was re-posted today on US UnCut: Dear Mrs. Palin, I am a former US Marine and US Navy Officer with a Combat Action Ribbon as well as service connected disabilities. I am also a Republican.  I have also served with, and am friends with, dozens of combat veterans who suffer daily from various injuries and wounds to include PTSD.  I recently read your comments related to PTSD in which you attempted to excuse...

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North Carolina GOP Accused Of Intentionally Suppressing Black Votes To Preserve Their Majority

by ALICE OLLSTEIN – On Monday, residents of North Carolina are taking the state to court, arguing that North Carolina legislators designed a new voter ID law to stifle growing minority turnout that threatened the Republican majority in Raleigh. The state is claiming that the law was passed to prevent voter fraud, though there is no evidence of widespread fraud at the ballot box. Attorney Denise Lieberman with the Advancement Project, which is representing the North Carolina NAACP in this case, told ThinkProgress that the state lawmakers who debated and passed the ID law knew it would place a disproportionate burden on African-American and Latino voters. “This is illuminated by the fact that there’s no legitimate basis for having this law,” she said. “We have expert witnesses who will testify that the state’s rationale for the law is unsupported, that there is absolutely no evidence of in-person voter impersonation that...

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Texas Grand Jury Investigating Planned Parenthood Decides To Indict Anti-Abortion Activists Instead

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – A Texas-based grand jury tasked with investigating allegations against Planned Parenthood — accusations stemming from a undercover video campaign seeking to discredit the group — has declined to indict the national women’s health organization for any wrongdoing. Instead, the jury is moving to indict the videographers who targeted Planned Parenthood in the first place. Back in August, the Harris County District Attorney’s office announced it would conduct a criminal investigation into a Planned Parenthood clinic located in Houston. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) ordered the investigation after a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists accused the organization of illegally profiting from aborted fetuses. At least one of those videos featured footage of employees at that Houston clinic discussing fetal tissue donation. Harris County officials partnered with the Texas Rangers and the Houston Police Department to conduct the months-long investigation into the clinic. “I want to...

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Kids Suing Government for Climate Action Attract Influential Allies and Opponents

by JOHN LIGHT – Twenty-one young Americans and climate scientist James Hansen are suing to compel the government to take dramatic action on climate change, and the case has attracted attention both from powerful lobbyists in Washington and environmental activists around the globe. The kids are backed by Our Children’s Trust, a group that has organized similar suits against state governments around the country. The group believes that activists have to challenge US climate policy in the courts in order to protect what they see as younger generations’ constitutional right to a habitable planet. Similar cases have been successful in Pakistan and the Netherlands. Because the courts are comparatively insulated from the special-interest money that floods congressional and presidential races, they are well-positioned to give a shove to our federal government, which has responded to climate change more slowly than other developed countries. It’s a story we’ve been following since Bill Moyers interviewed one of...

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Voters Skeptical That 2016 Candidates Would Make Good Presidents

Highly polarized reactions to Trump, Clinton becoming president A year before the next president takes office, voters are skeptical that any of the leading 2016 candidates would make a good president. Moreover, of nine candidates included in the survey, far more voters say each would make a “terrible” than “great” president. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 7-14 among 2,009 adults, including 1,525 registered voters, finds that 35% of voters say that Hillary Clinton would make either a good or great president, with 11% saying she would be great. More voters (44%) say Clinton would be either poor or terrible in the White House; 28% say she would be terrible. About one-in-five (18%) think Clinton would make an average president. Nearly a third (31%) say Donald Trump would be either a good or great president; 11% say he would be great. Roughly half (52%)...

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Denmark Votes To Force Refugees Into Camps

by JUSTIN SALHANI – Denmark will vote on new laws this week that could expel refugees from cities and towns. In the past year, the Scandinavian country printed ads in Lebanese newspapers asking refugees to stay away and threatened to seize refugees’ jewelry upon entry. Now, the Danish parliament passed a resolution that will force the government to provide a plan for state-backed villages that will remove refugees from cities and towns, Reuters reported Thursday. “Denmark was one of the first champions of the Refugee Convention, but its government is now brazenly creating blocks to the well-being and safety of refugee families,” Amnesty’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik, told Reuters. Denmark once embraced foreigners with open arms but a recent political shift to the far-right reflects growing animosity toward Muslims and refugees in many continental European nations following incidents like November’s ISIS attack on Paris....

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This Is What Happens To Humans When They Are Exposed To Too Much Lead

by ADRIENNE VARKIANI – In his State of the State address Tuesday night, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder apologized for his handling of the Flint water crisis, which has left tens of thousands of residents without drinkable water. “To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before, I’m sorry and I will fix it,” Snyder said near the beginning of his speech. “Government failed you at the federal, state and local level.” But an apology doesn’t change the health effects that Flint residents are seeing as a result of the elevated levels of lead in their water — effects they may continue to see far into the future. The change in the city’s water supply has already been recognized as a possible source for a recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, which claimed the lives of ten people between June 2014 and November 2015. Here are some of the...

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Bernie Sanders Commits To Repealing Law That Restricts Abortion Access For Poor Women

by BRYCE COVERT – The Hyde Amendment is an obscure budget rider that bans any federal funding from covering abortion services, which means low-income women on Medicaid can’t use their plans to cover an abortion. It has also helped limit access for government employees, military personnel, those in the Peace Corps, and others. It’s become a routine piece of policy, renewed in every federal spending bill since 1976, and frequently becomes a political football, as when President Obama signed an executive order including restrictions along the lines of Hyde in the Affordable Care Act as a way to win support for the bill’s passage. But now both frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination have come out against it, calling for it to be repealed. Hillary Clinton has repeatedly called for a reversal of Hyde, and now Bernie Sanders has followed suit. On Friday, Sanders said in a statement, “Women must...

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Jeb Bush: Don’t Blame Governor Snyder For Flint Crisis, Blame Regulations (VIDEO)

by JOSH ISRAEL – GOP presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush defended Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) against criticism over his handling of the Flint water crisis on Sunday, arguing instead that the blame should go to the fact that regulations are too complex. On ABC’s This Week, co-host Martha Raddatz asked Bush who is to blame for the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the fact that the city of more than 100,000 Americans had been “drinking, eating, brushing their teeth in lead-contaminated water, while the government was telling them repeatedly ‘it’s safe to use.’” “We’ve created this complex, no responsibility regulatory system, where the federal government, the state government, a regional government, local and county governments are all pointing fingers at one another.” He proposed simply having a “21st century system of rules: Whenever you see a problem, it should become public, there should be transparency...

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This Solution To ISIS That All The Presidential Candidates Endorse Could Be A Huge Mistake

by JUSTIN SALHANI – To many, the catchall solution to the Middle East’s ISIS problem is simple: arm the Kurds. “We need to arm directly the Kurds… The Kurds are the greatest fighting force and our strongest allies,” former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) said in December during a Republican presidential debate. “We need to be arming the Kurds,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said at the same debate. “We need to be fighting and killing ISIS where they are.” A report released January 20 by Amnesty International, however, shows another side of this proposal. “This reports focusses on areas of northern Iraq where Peshmerga forces of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are preventing residents of Arab villages and Arab residents of mixed Arab-Kurdish towns from returning to their homes, and in some cases have destroyed or permitted the destruction of their homes and property – seemingly as a...

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Ted Cruz Forgets To Sign His Family Up For Health Insurance In Time, Blames Obama

by JAMESON PARKER – There is arguably no other person in America who dislikes Obamacare more than Ted Cruz. He is the guy who quite literally shut down the government in order to make an inane point about it. But even for Cruz, his latest attempt to show America how much he doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act is pretty pathetic. At a campaign rally, Cruz told the crowd that he and his family currently don’t have any health insurance because “blah blah Obamacare.” “I’ll tell you, you know who one of those millions of Americans is who’s lost their health care because of Obamacare? That would be me,” Cruz told the audience at a campaign stop New Hampshire on Thursday evening. “I don’t have health care right now.” Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. (I wouldn’t advise taking that literally, Ted. The hospital bills will...

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Your Fear of Terrorism Could Get You Killed

by Peter Certo – Americans overestimate the risk of attacks by a factor of 1.7 million One in 3.5 million: That’s the risk you’ll die from a terrorist attack in the United States, Ohio State professor John Mueller estimates. Rounded generously, that chance comes to 3 one-hundred thousandths of a percent. That’s not how most Americans see it, though. In a recent Gallup poll, 51 percent of respondents said they’re personally worried about becoming a victim. If you’ll forgive my amateur number crunching, that means we’re overestimating the terrorist threat by factor of about 1.7 million. No wonder people play the lottery. Meanwhile, Barack Obama is trying hard — with mixed results — not to get pushed into another Middle Eastern war. But that’s a tall order when Americans are more fearful of attacks than at any time since 9/11 — and when politicians like Ted Cruz are calling for bona fide war crimes like “carpet-bombing” Syria. Wikipedia Obama tried hard to...

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What Snyder Knew: Flint Email Dump Shows Attempts to Shift the Blame

by Deirdre Fulton – As far back as February 2015, the governor’s administration was informed of issues with Flint’s water Redacted emails released Wednesday by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder show that his administration was informed of problems with Flint’s water almost a year ago, many months before the embattled governor or his staff begrudgingly admitted to bearing any responsibility for poisoning a city—or for fixing the problem. A background memo sent to the governor on February 1, 2015, “dismissed the pleas of Flint’s then-mayor Dayne Walling for state assistance, saying that the mayor had ‘seized on public panic … to ask the state for loan forgiveness and more money for infrastructure improvement’,” the Guardian reports from Detroit. According to FOX2 Detroit, the email says the governor and Walling “had a telephone conversation and the mayor has pledged to work together on solutions.” Furthermore, it adds that Flint Representative Sheldon Neeley had...

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Not-So-Subtle Establishment Threat? Bloomberg Hints at Presidential Run

by Jon Queally – Is the real establishment getting worried? As news broke Saturday afternoon that billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is “seriously” considering the idea of a third-party run for president in 2016, some political observers immediately smelled a rat. “Bloomberg hinting at a run is a cynical political threat aimed at Sanders supporters.” —Michael Brooks, media strategist The New York Times was the first to report that Bloomberg has asked his political team to draw up plans for what a campaign might look like. The Times cited sources close to the former mayor who said he is prepared to invest “at least $1 billion” of his own money in order to finance a run against the Republican and Democratic nominees that ultimately emerge. As Jamelle Bouie, political writer at Slate, put it snidely: “Billionaire contemplates buying White House for himself.” The Times reporting describes Bloomberg as “galled” by...

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Young Latinos Are Set To Change American Elections

by ESTHER YU-HSI LEE – The Latino electorate will reach a record high in 2016, soaring to 27 million eligible voters and nearly outpacing African-American voters, according to a new Pew Research Center report — suggesting that members of immigrant families could help change the outcome of future elections. The bulk of the group is increasingly young. Millennials make up almost 44 percent of the Latinos who will be eligible to vote in the 2016 election, according to the report’s projections. The Latino electorate also swelled in part because of the 1.2 million adult Latino immigrants who are living in the country legally and decided to become U.S. citizens. Although eligible millennial voters are generally less inclined to vote, naturalized U.S. citizens — also known as U.S. citizen immigrant voters — could make up for their lackluster voter turnout rates. The report found that 53.6 percent of immigrant Latinos voted...

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Obama Takes a Walk on the Greener Side

by Emily Schwartz Greco – As Nevada short-circuits its solar boom, the White House gets more committed to renewable energy Until now, President Barack Obama has embraced gas and oil fracking, encouraged the construction of new nuclear reactors, and hailed government investment in wind and solar power. In keeping with this “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, he’d call for climate action one minute and sign off on measures destined to boost carbon pollution the next. Suddenly, it looks like Obama may have ditched his inherently contradictory approach. “We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy,” he asserted during his final State of the Union address. “I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.” Wikipedia Just three days later, the Obama administration moved in that direction by declaring a three-year moratorium on new...

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Millionaire Palin And Billionaire Trump Beg Gullible Supporters To Pay For Sarah’s Travel Costs

by JAMESON PARKER – If you’ve ever noticed how Donald Trump brags more about how much money he’s made than how much he’s given away, that’s because he’s notoriously uncharitable. Apparently that same level of penny-pinching applies to the people who come out to endorse him – even conservative celebrity Sarah Palin. According to a new fundraising email sent from Sarah Palin’s controversial Political Action Committee (SarahPAC), Palin needs her supporters to break out their checkbooks and give as much as they can to the one time vice presidential candidate so she can attend “political events to support endorsed candidates” like Trump. The email, captured by Politico reporter Ken Vogel shamelessly tells Palin’s loyal fans to visit the PAC’s website to “ what you can” because Palin “went all in for Donald Trump.” As bizarre as it is for Trump to not offer to cover travel expenses for his new...

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A Drone Protester Heads to Jail

by Bill Moyers – Fifty-nine-year-old Mary Anne Grady Flores will serve six months for photographing a protest of an airfield in upstate New York where drone pilots are trained and from where missions are carried out Mary Anne Grady Flores is in jail and American citizens everywhere can surely breathe a sigh of relief that we are safe from her criminal behavior at least for the next six months. That’s the length of the sentence this 59-year-old peace activist in upstate New York began on Tuesday — one day after the United States honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his commitment to nonviolent civil disobedience. If he were here today, the martyred Dr. King would surely be shaking his head that America still has a problem with peaceful dissenters of conscience. And what exactly did Grady Flores do to warrant spending the next six months in jail? She photographed a peaceful protest...

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Deportation Raids Split Many Cities, States

by Teresa Wiltz – Carmen was sleeping when they came for her and her two children. It was early Saturday morning, Jan. 2, and about a dozen federal immigration officials banged on her parents’ door in Atlanta. The 27-year-old single mother from El Salvador said she had just enough time to throw on some clothes over her pajamas. Carmen, who illegally crossed the Mexico-Texas border with her children in June 2014, was shocked when the officials said they were deporting her right away. She was in the midst of an appeals process — and even had a court appointment for that Monday — in a bid to stay. “I asked them, ‘Why are you sending me back to my country where it’s so dangerous? I could be killed,’ ” she said from a detention center in Dilley, Texas, where she is being held with her children, ages 6 and 8....

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National Review Comes Out ‘Against Trump’

by Matt Welch – Conservative flagship publishes group hit piece featuring Glenn Beck, Ed Meese, Thomas Sowell, Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz, David Boaz, the Editors, and more “Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” reads the house editorial in National Review’s latest issue, which went live tonight. With that mostly accurate observation (is it really a consensus?), post-war conservatism’s flagship magazine decisively preferences its withering anti-Donaldism during this campaign season over its persistent sympathy with his anti-immigrant rants, while also continuing its long tradition of carrying out ideological purges in the service of attempting to define what conservatism means. So what are the arguments against? Glenn Beck points out that Trump, unlike many of the Tea Partiers who support him, was a strong supporter of the post-financial crisis bailouts: When conservatives desperately needed allies...

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5 Charts That Show The Bleak State Of Abortion Rights

by ALEX ZIELINSKI – It has been 43 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision — but the fight to protect a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion isn’t over yet. Since the 1973 decision, state lawmakers have pushed (and successfully enacted) thousands of restrictions undermining this right. The majority of these bills have been enacted in the past five years — and a recent swell of opposition has again placed abortion access onto the Supreme Court’s chopping block this year. More than 40 years after the procedure was formally legalized, these graphics show that the right to an abortion is on shaky ground in the United States. 1. Since 1995, states have introduced a steadily increasing number of anti-abortion measures, according to a recent NARAL Pro-Choice America report. CREDIT: NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA 2. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the number of state-level abortion...

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Noam Chomsky on the War Against ISIL (VIDEO)

We speak to the renowned US academic, and look at the state of Egypt five years after the Arab Spring In this episode of UpFront, Mehdi Hasan speaks to the renowned American academic Noam Chomsky about his public spat with the Turkish president, the war against ISIL and Russia’s annexation of Crimea. We also look at the ramifications of the Saudi Arabia-Iran feud, and debate the state of Egypt five years after the Arab Spring. Headliner: Noam Chomsky on ISIL, Turkey and Ukraine Noam Chomsky has been described as “arguably the most important intellectual alive”. And as one of the world’s most celebrated academics, he has published more than 100 books and is a leading critic on United States foreign policy. In the first of a special two-part interview, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, Ukraine and Turkey....

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Donald Trump Retweets One Of His Fans, A ‘White Genocide’ Neo-Nazi Account (IMAGES)

by JAMESON PARKER – Donald Trump woke up this morning, sleepily grabbed his phone off his nightstand, saw one of his supporters had tweeted an anti-Jeb Bush picture at him, and hit “Retweet.” Unfortunately, that supporter happened to be a racist neo-Nazi with the account name “WhiteGenocideTM.” Seriously. The love for Trump from racist xenophobes is startling, but not exactly surprising. Trump’s current presidential run quite literally started with a racist screed against Mexicans, and has been sustained by a torrent of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant smears. His rallies regularly feature his supporters beating people of color who come to protest his ugly rhetoric. You can almost feel the sense of excitement in the racist, Nazi-loving dark corners of the country: Finally, a candidate for us! And even better – if you happen to be a toxic racist – Trump won’t hesitate to give you free publicity if you just tweet something...

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2015 Officially the Hottest Year on Record

by Nadia Prupis – The final tally is in: 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history—by a record-breaking margin. On Wednesday, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the official record for last year’s runaway temperatures, which by NOAA’s calculation hit an average of 58.62 degrees Fahrenheit (14.79 degrees Celsius). That’s 1.62 (F) degrees hotter than any average year in the 20th century. And according to NASA, which measures differently, temperatures in 2015 jumped .23 (F) degrees just from the previous year. “It’s getting to the point where breaking record is the norm,” Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe told the Associated Press. “It’s almost unusual when we’re not breaking a record.” Scientists say the skyrocketing temperatures, which have unleashed climate change, are also fueled by extreme weather events like El Niño. “Records will happen during El Niño years due to the extra warming boost they provide,”...

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This is “Big”: California Taking On ExxonMobil’s Climate Cover-Up

by Deirdre Fulton – Attorney General’s investigation reportedly “casting a wide net and looking at a variety of issues.” California’s attorney general has joined New York state in investigating Exxon Mobil’s decades-long climate change cover-up, probing what it knew about global warming, as well as what—and when—the oil giant disclosed to its shareholders and the public, according to the LA Times on Wednesday. According to “a person close to the investigation,” the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris is looking into “whether Exxon Mobil Corp. repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about the risk to its business from climate change—and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws,” the Times writes. Reporting in the fall of 2015 revealed that Exxon scientists and management knew since the late 1970s that the company’s product was helping drive catastrophic global warming, and responded by spending millions to disseminate disinformation...

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Did Trump Try To Fake UK Petition in His Favor?

by Lib Dem FoP – As  a signatory to the “Trump out” petition, I was sent a link to the video of the debate and to the written (Hansard) official record of it. One thing stood out in the introduction by MP Paul Flynn who was proposing the motion that the Commons “has considered the petitions”: It is always a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I thank the Petitions Committee, which under its inspired Chair, my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington North (Helen Jones), has allowed me to introduce the debate on these two petitions. This is a bit of an occasion, because the first petition has been signed by more people than any other in this Parliament. It has 573,971 signatures, and its title is “Block Donald J Trump from UK entry”. The second petition is titled “Don’t ban Trump from the United Kingdom”. That petition is...

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