I do wonder if his famous ability to fit his foot in his mouth is going to complicate things, though:Candidates who give paid speeches risk violating campaign finance laws, says Larry Noble, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance legal advocacy group. When Carson now gives a paid speech, he cannot mention his candidacy or refer to his presidential campaign, because if he does so that would make the event a campaign speech from a legal perspective. ... and you're not allowed to give $40,000+ checks to a presidential candidate directly, because until the Roberts court gets around to nixing them there are still laws about that. So Ben Carson has to navigate each one of these speeches without mentioning his campaign once, and this is a fellow who's not known for navigating tricky ground in appearances without having to issue an apology a few days later.
So we'll see. Mind you, it's still possible that Carson isn't serious at all about running for president and is just doing that in order to milk his time in the lucrative conservative speaking circuit for a few dollars more. His campaign hasn't done much, but the fundraising? The fundraising has been going on for years.
That group of more than 30 lawmakers hasn?t taken a formal position on the issue, but conservative opposition could make it hard to pass legislation in the House.
"That view suggests Obamacare was the right answer and that's not what Republicans promised last fall," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.). "This is a golden opportunity. If Republicans squander this opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare, they squander an opportunity to actually win the White House. It?s not the time to support and extend Obamacare."There's not going to be any help forthcoming from Democrats, either. They'll demand a permanent fix and nothing else, and the problem Johnson has is that his legislation makes it very clear that a permanent fix is ridiculously easy. He's included the language to do it, just with an expiration date which is conveniently after he might be re-elected in 2016.
The basic problem for Senate Republicans is that they represent states that will be hit very hard economically if the court strips subsidies, because those are the states using federal exchanges. Twenty-two of the 24 Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2016 are in these states, and they have to run state-wide, not in specially carved-out heavily Republican districts, like their House colleagues. As we've seen demonstrated time and time again, their House counterparts aren't very good at the big, long-term strategic thinking. They also just don't give a damn about the Senate.
All that is going to make it pretty difficult for Republicans to blame Obama if the court does its worst.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of Mr. Hastert on allegations that he made cash withdrawals designed to hide those payments and for lying to federal authorities about the purpose of the withdrawals.
The man?who was not identified in court papers?told the F.B.I. that he had been touched by Mr. Hastert when Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said on Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.Hastert is accused of promising $3.5 million to an unspecified "Individual A" to cover up "prior misconduct" on Hastert's part. That alleged "prior misconduct" was not detailed in his indictment, but it certainly sounds like this is it. The Times doesn't outright say that the man described above is Individual A, but the piece is framed to strongly indicate that he is. That's buttressed by a separate report in the Los Angeles Times: One of the officials, who would not speak publicly about the federal charges in Chicago, said "Individual A," as the person is described in Thursday?s federal indictment, was a man and that the alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert?s tenure in Congress. The actions date to Hastert's time as a Yorkville, Ill., high school wrestling coach and teacher, the official said. [...]
Asked why Hastert was making the payments, the official said it was to conceal Hastert?s past relationship with the male. "It was sex," the source said. The other official confirmed that the misconduct involved sexual abuse.There is still much we don't know, including how Hastert and Individual A knew one another, but we'll be keep track of all developments in this story. You can find our full explainer on the case here.
1:50 PM PT: A new CNN report says that Hastert "was paying a former student in order to keep quiet about allegations of sexual misconduct" from Hastert's time as a teacher and coach, according to two nameless sources "with knowledge of the federal government investigation."
The Idaho case began when a local prosecutor filed a criminal complaint against Jennie Linn McCormack for self-inducing an abortion by ingesting a pack of pills. That case was dismissed, but McCormack then filed a civil lawsuit challenging several Idaho abortion statutes.
In a unanimous three-judge opinion on Friday, the 9th Circuit said U.S. Supreme Court precedent barred the Idaho laws.The Idaho attorney general has not yet released a statement about the state's intention to appeal. But the 20-week abortion ban has been passed in 12 other states since 2010. States and anti-abortion groups are pushing very hard to have this ban reach the Supreme Court as the next challenge to chip away at Roe v. Wade. Likewise, the U.S. House voted earlier this month to impose a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks, and were clear in doing so that they are making it a litmus test for presidential candidates and intend to keep pushing it.
The idea this time is to send perhaps 20,000 U.S. troops there and embed them with front-line Iraqi soldiers to fight ISIL, the extremist militants also known as ISIS, the Islamic State and Daesh. Those troops would, goes the talk, rarely engage in combat, but rather work as advisers and trainers as well as spotters for precision U.S. airstrikes:?It will take accepting risk. It will take accepting casualties,? retired Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. Keane helped persuade Bush to order his surge of [30,000] troops against the opposition of military commanders who insisted their Iraq strategy was working; Obama opposed that surge but later admitted that it ?succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.?
In an interview with POLITICO, Keane said he supports sending between 10,000 and 20,000 troops to Iraq, primarily to speed up the training of Iraqi forces and tribal fighters in Sunni areas where ISIS is especially strong. His view is backed by another Bush surge architect, Fred Kagan, a military strategist at the American Enterprise Institute, who also discussed the proposal with POLITICO.Kagan is a good deal more than that. He (along with his father Donald and brother Robert) were all signatories of the 90-page seminal neoconservative document Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century (2000), which called for a steep rise in military spending and continued global dominance by the United States with emphasis on its "'constabular' duties associated with shaping the security environment." Like other neoconservatives associated with the Project for a New American Century, Fred Kagan was pushing for an attack on Iraq as early as 1998.
Kagan, Sen. John McCain and others who back a new surge in a new form, have all sharply criticized President Obama for bailing on the Iraqis when he ordered the last U.S. combat troops to exit the country in 2011. They've blamed that withdrawal for the emergence of ISIL. And they've credited the original surge with great success, indeed with "winning" the Iraq war. So why not do it again?
Hmmmmm. We "won" the Iraq war? Could have fooled me. Given the convenient amnesia regarding the invasion and occupation being displayed of late by many prominent American hawks, including Jeb Bush, as well as Obama's own unfortunate if reluctant praise for the surge, this revisionism about Iraq should surprise nobody.
In fact, it was Bush who in 2008 signed off on the timeline for combat troop withdrawal and it was the Iraqi government that refused to sign an agreement to allow U.S. forces to remain. More importantly, the surge didn't win the war. It merely helped tamp down the insurgency temporarily.
More on the new surge below the fold.
But Christie has been resistant to moving forward legislation which would help the victims recover. Early last year, federal officials said they were investigating his use of millions of dollars in Sandy relief funds for ads to promote tourism that also prominently featured the governor. And the state is currently disputing the Fair Share Housing Center?s claim that 15,000 families are still waiting to rebuild, saying it?s ?a gross and irresponsible distortion of the facts.?Gallup: Nation's pro-choice views lead for first time since 2008: ?Half of Americans consider themselves 'pro-choice' on abortion, surpassing the 44% who identify as 'pro-life.' This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans? abortion views.? But 20 years ago, 6 percent more Americans were pro-choice than now and the forced birther cohort was way below 40 percent. Among Democrats, 68 percent are pro-choice; among Republicans, 31 percent are.
The 66 chimps are currently surviving on a reduced feeding schedule paid for through emergency funds pieced together by the Humane Society and the personal donations of a handful of individual conservationists. But they only have enough money to support the chimps? care for a few more weeks.The extent of Arctic ice for this time of year is at an all-time low (since satellite data have been available):
Bush?s scheduled one-hour speech at the Coal & Investment Leadership Forum will take place at the members-only Olde Farm club in Bristol, Virginia, where the civil war-themed golf tournament is a ?cherished tradition.?Team Blackness discusses the fact we live in a stupid world as epitomized by the people wasting their time hating on Dwayne Wade just because he paints his toenails. Apparently many of his 4.3 million Instagram followers judged him for it, but that's not stopping Wade: ?I was on vacation in the Bahamas with LeBron and when he saw my toes he was like, ?Something is seriously wrong with you.? But eventually Bron was like, ?You know what? You?re crazy, but that?s just you.? Also discussed were the abolition of the death penalty in Nebraska, why Chuck Johnson is a dick, and how Iyanla is going to "fix" Baltimore. Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download | RSS On today's encore Kagro in the Morning show, alphabet soup with Greg Dworkin: POW; EPA; VA. How the Gop accidentally forced a nat'l health care exchange. PsychoSuperMom's "GOP Hypocrisy Blues." How open carry hijacks brands. Scott Brown's into something shady.
Indonesian police have opened fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death. West Papuan activists and families have been forced to flee to the jungle for safety. Indonesian security forces are conducting scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians. The attacks are happening during the visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman with over 200 people arrested across West Papua. Journalists have also been attacked by Indonesian police according to Amnesty International...Read more at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia. The Indonesian Police chief says any plans to free Papua from Indonesia won't be tolerated, including Flag raising ceremonies on the West Papuan national Day, December 1st.
Calls for Independence by West Papuans have been made since the sham "Act of Free Choice in 1969". They have suffered a neglected genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military (2004) with continued Repression (2007). Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in 2010 and in 2011 rejecting special autonomy, demanding a referendum on independence. Indonesia plans to build 1,500 km of new roads in the next two years to accelerate ?development', increase military presence, and open up more illegal logging. Three Papuans highlighted the human rights abuses at the APEC meeting in Bali this year by scaling the Australian Consulate?s fence in the dead of night and hand-delivering a personal plea to open the Indonesian province to world scrutiny.
A new academic law and human rights report A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua (PDF), details the extent of the genocide and abuse of human rights. (Review by Greenleft) Activists have called for Australia to End pragmatic complicity in West Papua in response to comments by new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Imprisoned Papuan leader Selpius Bobii also responded saying, "We Live In Terror, Mr Abbott".
Related: Waging Nonviolence: Flotilla unsettles Indonesia?s occupation of West Papua | West Papuan National Day Goes Global | West Papuans to join commemoration of Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat More Information: West Papua media Alerts | Freedom Flotilla
Civil society organisations abandoned the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw on mass. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation (statement) and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time several major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.
Friends of the Earth International highlighted that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing, with Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out. The role of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan have been widely mentioned. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the negotiations forward on finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism. Poland's Coal Summit has shown the fossil fuel corporatism entwined in this COP with widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations of COP19 and at UNFCCC official Christiania Figueres who gave the keynote speech at the coal summit
Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate CrisisAnalysis: The Warsaw walkout and the Climate Movement
The weekend of 16th and 17th November saw tens of thousands of people in Canada and Australia out in the streets in over 260 protests against the climate policies of these countries. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers in Warsaw at COP19.
The Saturday protests in Canada occurred from coast to coast to Repulse Bay, Nunavut on the Arctic circle, more than 10,000 people gathered in over 180 events co-ordinated by Defend our Climate. Many protests focussed on stopping further expansion of the Alberta tar sands and pipelines to move the bitumenous oil south to Texas, east through Ontario and Quebec, and west through British Columbia. On Sunday, more than 60,000 people attended climate protests across Australia, protesting the attempt to repeal carbon pricing and clean energy programs by the conservative Government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected on 7 September this year, who denied any link between climate change and bushfires as unusually early and intense bushfires raged around Sydney.
Civil Society NGO and local Polish activists also staged a Climate Justice march in Warsaw in association with the COP19 climate change negotiations taking place. Super Typhoon Haiyan set the initial mood at the negotiations with Philippines negotiator Naderev Saño (Yeb Saño) saying "time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway". There is widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations in Warsaw with Japan and Australia being particularly singled out.
Related: Australia Indymedia - Tens of Thousands rally for Climate Action across Australia
Authorities of Tacloban City with a population of 220,000 and capital of Leyte province, gave an early estimate that perhaps 10,000 people died from this one city. Many people were surprised by the huge storm surge tidal waves that inundated much of the city. Many smaller coastal villages were also devastated with most buildings destroyed or suffering severe damage. According to the UN Reliefweb report on 14 November the number of affected people has increased to 11.8 million. The official death count from Typhoon Haiyan is currently 4,460 but with numbers still increasing. There were 921,200 people displaced and 243,600 houses destroyed. A total of 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance.
Related: Climate IMC: Typhoon Haiyan: This is a climate crime | Time for turning tears into anger says Walden Bello | Philippine groups demand action on climate finance, loss and damage in Warsaw climate talks | Ejected from COP19 for expressing solidarity to the Philippines | Youth observers expelled from UN climate change talks for Philippines Solidarity | Indybay: Super typhoon Haiyan is climate wake-up call | They destroy We suffer Statement on Yolanda?s AftermathNon-corporate Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts: Waves for Water | Haiyan NYC Relief Project | Doctors without Borders | Oxfam International
Climate Negotiations are over for another year with little progress in Doha by any one's measure as the scientific statements on climate change and the impacts we are already feeling as evidenced in record Arctic melting, and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, and Cyclone Evan in the South Pacific are growing much stronger.
Some of the latest scientific research shows:Sea Level rising 60% faster than IPCC projectionsMethane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping pointCollapse of Siberia's Coastline is Releasing Huge Amounts of CO2Greenland Ice sheet suffers unprecedented surface meltIndian Monsoon more likely to fail as global warming acceleratesSouthern Ocean warming impact on Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability and sea level rise
Photos: Photos by World Resources Institute | Photos by Oxfam | The Verb: Climate March in Doha | The Verb: COP18 Actions Related: Deep emissions cuts urged at climate summit | Towards a Grand Compromise in the Climate Negotiations | COP18, another 'Conference of Polluters' | An open letter to governments and their negotiators | Climate compensation row at Doha | Forest Groups Protest False Solutions | IPCC's Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback! | Methane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping point