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Archive for August 6th, 2014

U.S. Provides Cash, Arms, Surveillance to Israel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

U.S. Provides Cash, Arms, Surveillance to Israel
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept: The U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults — such as the one on Gaza. The new documents underscore the indispensable, direct involvement of the U.S. government and its key allies in Israeli aggression against its neighbors. That covert support is squarely at odds with the posture of helpless detachment typically adopted by Obama officials and their supporters.

Bus Company Owner Harasses Student Customers
The owner of a bus company that shuttles students between college campuses and the Chicago area has been charged in Lake County with Internet harassment stemming from disputes with customers who had complained about his company’s services. The warrant charges owner Dennis Toeppen with posting on Reddit two “obscene (comments) with the intent to offend,” dating to September 2013. One of the comments, posted in January, named two students who complained and referred to sexual acts.


Hoyer, not Manziel, starting exhibition opener

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hoyer, not Manziel, starting exhibition opener
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer will start the exhibition opener in Detroit, giving him the first chance to impress before rookie Johnny Manziel takes the field.


Michelle Obama: Empowering women “most important” work we do

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Michelle Obama: Empowering women “most important” work we do
First lady Michelle Obama discusses the importance of female equality during a symposium at the U.S.-African leaders summit.


Fox News Falsely Credits Rick Perry’s National Guard Deployment Plan For Abatement Of Immigration

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fox News Falsely Credits Rick Perry’s National Guard Deployment Plan For Abatement Of Immigration

Fox News misleadingly credited Governor Rick Perry’s (R-TX) announcement that National Guard troops would be deployed to the border for reducing the number of immigrants crossing the border — but experts find that migration regularly decreases in summer months due to dangerous summer weather.

Texas Governor Orders National Guard To Border To Curb Flow Of Migrants To U.S.

FoxNews.com: Rick Perry To Deploy National Guard Troops To Texas-Mexico Border. On July 21, FoxNews.com reported Texas Governor Rick Perry’s plan to deploy up to 1,000 National Guardsmen to the border.  The article reported that the deployment would cost Texas an estimated $12 million a month, adding that the primary purpose of the Guard would be “referring and deterring immigrants, not detaining people.” [FoxNews.com, 7/21/14]

Fox News Falsely Cites Perry’s Deployment For The Decrease In Immigration

America’s Newsroom:  Immigration Has Been Cut By 60% In A 60 Mile Stretch Since Rick Perry Initiated His Border Plan.  On the August 6 edition of America’s Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer credited Perry’s recent border plan, to increase the number of guards on the border, with decreasing border crossings in the Rio Grande area.

HEMMER: Since Rick Perry initiated his border patrol agents going down there, the biggest area where people were coming across, the Rio Grande area, there is 60-mile stretch, it’s been cut in half by 60% in just a few days since they started. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom8/6/14]

Fox Hosts: We See That The National Guard Works, I’m Glad Rick Perry Is On The Case. On the August 5 edition of Outnumbered, co-hosts Harris Faulkner and Kimberly Guilfoyle praised Perry’s plan to use National Guard troops at the border, suggesting President Obama give his own “national, National Guard support” to Perry.

FAULKNER:  Why not give the kind of national, National Guard support to this Governor that we see he has been asking for.

GUILFOYLE: Great question, and we see that it works. So adopt the best practices, do something.  That type of leadership should come from our Commander in Chief, from the President. I’m glad Rick Perry is on the case.  [Fox News, Outnumbered8/5/14]

Experts Say Reduced Flow Is Due To Weather And Other Factors Entirely Unrelated To Perry’s Stunt

NY Times: Both Honduras And Mexico Have Taken Steps To “Slow The Migrant Flow. In a July 20 article, the New York Times pointed out the many steps taken by foreign governments to stem the flow of illegal immigrants coming to the United States.

Honduras, the source of the largest proportion of recent child migrants, has moved to make it harder for children to leave the country without authorization. It has forbidden the sale to minors of bus tickets to the border and assigned additional police officers, including a specially trained unit, to patrol bus routes and frequent border crossing points.”

Mexico has said it will take action to slow the migrant flow, pledging to stop people from stowing away on freight trains, a common tactic to head north, and to increase patrols of its border. [New York Times7/20/14]

AP: “Illegal Border Crossings … Tend To Slow During The Summer.”  On July 18, three days prior to Governor Perry announcing the deployment of National Guard troops, AP reported a decrease of immigrants crossing the border (emphasis added):

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the latest trends in border arrests, said Friday it’s too soon to know what has led to drop in border arrests. They said illegal border crossings along the Mexican border tend to slow during the summer. [Associated Press, 7/18/14]

Arizona Republic: Number Of Children Apprehended At Border Has Decreased Since June. The Arizona Republic reported that since June, at least a month before Perry announced the deployment of the National Guard to the border, the number of unaccompanied minors caught crossing the border has “fallen significantly”:

The number of unaccompanied children caught each day in south Texas has fallen significantly over the past few weeks from 355 a day in June to 150 a day for the first two weeks of July, according to the White House. Rio Grande Valley Chief Border Patrol Officer Kevin Oaks said apprehensions dropped as low as 80 kids one day last week. [Arizona Republic7/23/14]

Mother Jones: The Decrease In Immigration Is “Entirely Predictable. In a July 24 article Mother Jones explained that the decrease in immigrants crossing the border during the summer months is a pattern that has been seen for many years:

But the slowdown in the number of children picked up over the last few weeks also seems entirely predictable: Since 1999, the overall number of undocumented migrants apprehended by the Border Patrol has peaked in the spring before dropping precipitously during the summer months. In Texas’ Rio Grande Valley area–the area seeing the most child migrants–July temperatures reach well up into the 90s, and often higher. Here’s a month-by-month look at apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector: 

 

[Mother Jones7/24/14]


A Murder on the Rio Grande

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

A Murder on the Rio Grande
Michelle Malkin, RealClearPolitics
The voice on the other end of the line is exasperated. “It’s insane,” he wants America to know. “We’re in a war zone.” And there’s no room for apathy. “This is coming to a town near you,” he warns. The man on the phone is a veteran of the Department of Homeland Security who works in South Texas. He reached out to me Monday night in the wake of an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent’s horrific murder on Sunday. The 36-year-old agent, Javier Vega Jr., was shot execution-style in front of his wife, his parents, two of his sons and another child in the Rio Grande Valley. Vega’s father was also shot…

Selling to ‘Minimalists’ Is Surprisingly Easy
Froma Harrop, RealClearPolitics
It matters not whether you are sizing up, sizing down or sizing sideways. Merchants have products to help you on your way to the life you think you want. Before L. Frank Baum published his first Wizard of Oz book in 1900, he helped create the modern consumer society by totally redesigning store windows in Chicago. Gone were the storefront piles of everything in the shop. In their place, Baum fashioned theatrical scenes using mechanical butterflies, incandescent globes and the simple presentation of select items — all to build a mood, a desire for the whole fantastical “lifestyle”…

Democrat Support for Amnesty Threatens Their Most Loyal Voters
Larry Elder, RealClearPolitics
In 1964, Malcolm X chastised black people for their blind allegiance to the Democratic Party. He said: “You put them first, and they put you last — ’cause you’re a chump. A political chump! … Anytime you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that Party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time, and you are dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that Party — you’re not only a chump but you’re a traitor to your race.” The Democratic Party embraces “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is…

Poll: Obama Approval Rating at New Low
David Byler, RealClearPolitics
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that only 40 percent of respondents now approve of President Obama’s job performance. This is a new low for Obama in the NBC/WSJ poll, a one percentage-point drop since June. Americans are not only frustrated by the president, however: Respondents expressed deep discontentment with Republicans and Democrats, as well as the overall political landscape and the economy. “We’re in the summer of our discontent,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. (His firm, Hart Research Associates, conducted the survey with Public Opinion…


Councils raise care funding concerns

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Councils raise care funding concerns
Plans to cap the amount of money people in England and Wales spend on their social care could be jeopardised by a lack of funding, councils say.

Cameron must push Israel, say MPs
David Cameron must do more to persuade Israel to lift restrictions on the movements of Palestinians, MPs say.

Andy Coulson faces perjury charges
David Cameron’s former director of communications Andy Coulson faces perjury charges over the Tommy Sheridan trial.


U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6 in Pakistani Tribal Area

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6 in Pakistani Tribal Area
The strike in North Waziristan was the latest in a series by C.I.A.-operated drone aircraft to coincide with a major offensive by the Pakistani military.



Israeli Premier Voices Regret for Civilian Casualties, but Blames Hamas
“Every civilian casualty is a tragedy, a tragedy of Hamas’s own making,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.



Earthquake Death Toll Rises to Nearly 600 in China
The death toll from the quake that struck Yunnan Province on Sunday has jumped to 589 as rescuers reached isolated villages and recovered the bodies of 179 more victims, the state media reported



Conflict Leaves Industry in Ashes and Gaza Reeling From Economic Toll
In addition to the estimated 1,800 Palestinians killed, business leaders say some 175 industrial plants took devastating blows.



Bush Urges Renewed Fight Against Deadly Diseases in Africa
Former President George W. Bush, speaking at a health forum in Washington, spoke of “the beginning of the end of AIDS.”




House Poised For Historic Snub Of Indian Prime Minister

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

House Poised For Historic Snub Of Indian Prime Minister

Instead of the red carpet, India’s new Prime Minister may be about to get the cold shoulder from Congress.

The post House Poised For Historic Snub Of Indian Prime Minister appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Parag Dharmavarapu is an intern with the Center for American Progress’ National Security and International Policy team.

Prime Minster Narendra Modi

Prime Minster Narendra Modi, of the right-wing, Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

CREDIT: AP Photo/ Dharmesh Jobanputra

The last two Prime Ministers of India – the world’s largest democracy – have had the opportunity to speak before the world’s oldest republic. Now House Republicans, keen to start the election season, are threatening the chance that India’s new leader gets that same opportunity.

After accepting President Barack Obama’s invitation to visit the United States in September, 83 members of Congress invited newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak before a joint session of Congress. In the letter written to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), those Members rightly noted that opportunity for the sitting Indian Prime Minister to speak before Congress is a decades-old tradition. In a number of congressional hearings, leading governmental and non-governmental voices have also called for Congress to welcome PM Modi to formally address a joint session, including the Center for American Progress’ Vikram Singh.

However, House Republicans are eager to kick-off election campaigning and the six-week recess before November mid-term elections. In the interest of getting its members back into their districts to politick all the sooner, the House’s leadership may push to end the legislative session on September 19th, instead of October 2nd, according to a report from the Hindustan Times. Neither Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) nor his office responded to messages seeking clarity on the end date of the legislative session. This truncated schedule will make any address by Prime Minister Modi, who plans on visiting Washington in late September, before Congress impossible.

By potentially denying Modi an opportunity to highlight the importance of the relationship, House Republicans are placing campaign priorities ahead of their duty to facilitate global partnerships. After refusing to grant Modi a visa in 2005 and allegedly spying on his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the United States would be wise to warmly receive Prime Minister Modi and not exacerbate ill-feelings.

Despite making significant breakthroughs on major issues like defense and civil nuclear ties, the U.S.-India strategic partnership agreements have been accompanied by serious obstacles and lack measurable progress, such as setbacks in the civil-nuclear deal due to disagreements over the liability that nuclear companies would be required to take on under Indian law. Setting the right tone with Prime Minister Modi, who won a historic election in May, will be crucial for, in President Obama’s words, “the century’s defining partnership.”

In a speech given at the Center for American Progress last Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry praised Prime Minister Modi for his vision for India and highlighted the election as a “potentially transformative moment in our partnership with India,” and noted that the mutual relationship is needed to solve some of world’s greatest challenges.” Kerry, who was in India this past week attending the 5th annual U.S.-Indian Strategic Dialogue, emphasized the U.S.’ and India’s shared vision on issues ranging from clean energy to homeland security.

For the United States, this partnership means more than just several thousand jobs and billions of dollars in trade and defense contracts. It’s a relationship with a rising, global power – a partner who can promote democratic values, counter global threats like terrorism and climate change, and hedge Chinese geopolitical dominance in Asia. Uniting the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy is a crucial piece in the United States’ foreign policy rebalance and is a relationship that should not only be prioritized, but should also be bipartisan.

Members from all sides of the aisle have emphasized the importance of the relationship. A long proponent of strong bilateral ties with India, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stressed that we should “resist the domestic forces that would turn our strategic relationship into a transactional one…[or risk] fall[ing] far short of our potential, as we have before.” While some members of Congress have taken a positive step towards strengthening Indo-American relations, some have, quite frankly, showcased exactly why legislators need greater exposure to our strategic partner. Hopefully Prime Minister Modi will get the opportunity to do just that in September.

The post House Poised For Historic Snub Of Indian Prime Minister appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Twelve States Are Suing The EPA Over Its Attempt To Fight Climate Change

And one Republican candidate for governor is pledging to make his state the thirteenth.

The post Twelve States Are Suing The EPA Over Its Attempt To Fight Climate Change appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America, protest the EPA's regulations on carbon emissions from coal plants on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

Union members, led by the United Mine Workers of America, protest the EPA’s regulations on carbon emissions from coal plants on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

West Virginia, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

These are the twelve states asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to effectively invalidate the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently-proposed regulations of carbon emissions from existing coal plants — regulations that represent the most significant thing America has ever done to combat climate change. The states are specifically challenging the legality of a 2011 settlement the U.S. government entered into with three environmental organization and another group of states, in which the EPA promised to regulate carbon.

“Without this court’s prompt intervention, petitioners will be forced to undertake burdensome measures in the coming months to meet the demands of the unlawful rule,” the petition reads.

The petition represents the second attempt by some of the states — all of which are either large producers or consumers of coal — to nullify the EPA’s rules through the court system. In July, nine of the thirteen states joined forces with coal company Murray Energy to sue the EPA, arguing it has no legal authority to limit carbon from coal plants. Murray Energy’s CEO says the EPA is “lying” about climate change’s existence and that the earth is actually cooling.

Both lawsuits essentially argue the same thing — that the EPA is not legally allowed to regulate coal facilities under the Clean Air Act. The states say that general air pollution from coal plants is already regulated under the Act, therefore greenhouse gas rules “impose impermissible double regulation.”

While it is true that coal plants are required to limit many air pollutants, they are not currently required to limit greenhouse gases. The states say this doesn’t matter — coal plants are already regulated and can’t be double-regulated.

“Such a rule [is] clearly unlawful,” the petition reads.

The Supreme Court has already affirmed numerous times that the EPA is allowed to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. In Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007, the high court ruled specifically that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping emissions could be considered “air pollutants” under the Act, and that the U.S. government had authority to curb them. Just last month, the Supreme Court effectively affirmed 7 to 2 that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources, like coal plants.

The twelve states also face an additional issue of so-called “ripeness,” that is, whether their lawsuit is timely. The proposed regulations are years away from being finalized, much less implemented, making it difficult to successfully allege in court that harm would be done. Still, the states say their suit is ripe because the EPA has already declared the rule’s legality.

The lawsuit is also being used to score political points, with Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson pledging on Monday to have his state join the coalition if he’s elected.

“I want to send a signal — nationally and in Arkansas — that this is a position I will take,” he said.

Regulating carbon emissions from coal plants will be the most significant thing America has ever done to combat climate change. The electricity sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions here, and dropping those 25 percent in 6 years amounts to a reduction of roughly 300 million tons of CO2 each year.

While coal has traditionally been the largest source of electricity generation in the United States for more than 60 years, its dominance has already been rapidly declining without the help of these regulations. Coal’s annual share of total net generation declined from nearly 50 percent in 2007 to 39 percent in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

At the same time, total renewable energy generation has increased by 50 percent in that time frame, with 13 percent of all U.S. electricity coming from renewable sources in 2013.

The post Twelve States Are Suing The EPA Over Its Attempt To Fight Climate Change appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Christie and Romney Are Odds-On Allies, if Not Favorites, for 2016

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Christie and Romney Are Odds-On Allies, if Not Favorites, for 2016
From: The Christie Watch

GOP voters wax nostalgic for the former Massachusetts governor, while seeming to favor the New Jersey governor in polls.

America Can’t Control the World’s Destiny Anymore
From: Nation in the News

Katrina vanden Heuvel appears on Morning Joe to discuss how Washington’s recent policy polls reflect American sentiments on the government’s role in leading the country in the wrong direction.

How the Deaths of 75 Workers at a Chinese Factory Could Have Been ‘Easily Prevented’
From: Michelle Chen

The massive explosion at a subcontracted auto parts supplier was preceded by a slew of blatant safety lapses.

How Gender Changes Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’
From: The Curve

Reading the economist’s book through a feminist lens reveals the need for a richer array of anti-inequality policies.

Senators to Obama: Stop Censoring the Torture Report
From: Zoë Carpenter

Lawmakers say the CIA redacted “key facts” from a long-awaited investigation into the agency’s cruel interrogation tactics.


Favor the BLEED Act, or Are You Racist?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 6th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Favor the BLEED Act, or Are You Racist?
Charles Hurt, Washington Times
The world is down on America these days. Allies like Israel are sick and tired of our whirlybird foreign policies. There are even haters inside America who have lost the faith.America’s best days are behind her, they say. The American dream has become a living nightmare. She is no longer a force for good in this world of evil. The world burns as Uncle Sam runs away and hides under the bed in his hospice facility.

President Obama’s Potential Overreach

What Would Hamas Do If It Had Its Way?
Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
In the spring of 2009, Roger Cohen, the New York Times columnist, surprised some of his readers by claiming that Iran’s remaining Jews were “living, working and worshiping in relative tranquility.”Cohen wrote: “Perhaps I have a bias toward facts over words, but I say the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran—its sophistication and culture—than all the inflammatory rhetoric.”Perhaps.

Obama: Call Congress Back
Brent Budowsky, The Hill
President Obama should take a page from Harry Truman in 1948: Prepare the most expansive executive orders on immigration that his attorneys believe is constitutional and call Congress back into session this month to pass a major program to dramatically increase spending to defend our borders.When the historically unpopular and unproductive Congress left for a five-week vacation, it worsened a border crisis in a state of continuing chaos with funding for a vital patrol, customs and immigration set to run out of money within weeks.

Anatomy of a Power Grab
Ross Douthat, New York Times
Since my Sunday column was a little on the shrill side, accusing President Obama of contemplating domestic policy “caesarism” on immigration policy, I thought I’d do a follow-up addressing the various, “maybe you should calm down” objections.1) How can you accuse the president of planning a power grab when we don’t even know what he’s planning to do?