Author: kstreet607

Politics! Politics! I love politics! Unapologetic Barack Obama enthusiast.

Impeachment talk is the dumbest possible move for Republicans

House Speaker John Boehner. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

This is exactly why I’m hoping they go forward with impeachment because most pundits believe  it will have the same effect as it did with former president Bill Clinton when he was impeached by Congress.

The Fix – Chris Cillizza (WAPO)

Congressional Republicans have spent the majority of 2014 doing very little even marginally controversial.  They put talk of government shutdown showdowns to rest and avoided another stand-off over raising the debt ceiling.  The goal was simple: Keep the focus on the unpopular President Obama in hopes of turning the midterm election into a referendum on him.

They were doing so well.  Right up until House Speaker John Boehner decided to file a lawsuit against President Obama for executive orders he maintained were unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, which the House is expected to authorize before heading home for a five-week August recess on Thursday, has opened up the Pandora’s box of impeachment – with a large push from the White House — that now has the potential to undo much of the good political work Congressional Republicans have done this year.

Yes, Boehner has pooh-poohed impeachment as a “scam” propagated by Democrats to raise money and energize the party’s somewhat lethargic base. (I’m not sure about the word choice of “scam” but Democrats quite clearly see political opportunity in the House lawsuit and are moving to take advantage.) The problem for Boehner is that while he has been adamant about impeachment never being on the table, there are others within the party — led by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — who have and will continue to call for Obama to be removed from office.  And, the lawsuit — assuming the House authorizes it — provides, for this impeachment crowd, a news peg by which to promote their views.

Karl Rove, appearing on Fox News Channel Tuesday night, channeled the frustrations of many Republican strategists about his own party’s willingness to give President Obama and Democrats exactly what they want in advance of the midterms. “Shame on [Obama], and shame on those people in his administration who participate with him,” Rove told Greta van Susteren. “And shame on those conservatives and Republicans who help him along. The president wants nothing more than Congressman [Ted] Yoho, of Florida, to step forward and say we must do it.”

Here’s the issue: It’s been demonstrated time and again that Boehner — or any other establishment leader of the GOP — has very little operational control of what the tea party wing in Congress says or does.  You can be sure that Boehner is making it abundantly clear to members of his conference not to mention the word “impeachment” in public and, if asked about it, to insist that it is absolutely not an option.  But, whether they listen is another thing entirely. Some may genuinely believe that Obama has committed acts that warrant impeachment, others may see the possibility of personal political gain out of being on Team Impeachment.

Meanwhile, any and all talk of impeachment may well be the secret ingredient Democrats have been desperately searching for to energize their base in advance of the midterms. (Eighty six percent of Democrats oppose impeaching President Obama.) If Democrats can make their base voters believe that the results of this election could mean the difference between impeaching Obama and not, that’s a major win for them. And, yes, impeachment talk will further stoke passion among some within the conservative base. But, between the IRS, Benghazi and Obamacare do those voters really need a whole lot more motivation to turn out and vote against Obama?

The genie is out of the bottle for Republicans at the moment. They need to figure out a way to stuff it back in — and quick — or run the risk of making the election, at least in part, about them. And that’s what they’ve spent the last seven months assiduously trying not to do.

10 things you need to know today: July 30, 2014

A Palestinian wounded in an Israeli airstrike seeks treatment.

A Palestinian wounded in an Israeli airstrike seeks treatment. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Week

Gaza’s humanitarian crisis deepens, Obama unveils new sanctions against Russia, and more

1. Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza
Israel continued its intensified bombing and shelling of Gaza on Wednesday, killing an estimated 40 people overnight and pushing the Gaza death toll to 1,270. The humanitarian crisis deepened after Israel knocked out Gaza’s only power plant, leaving the Palestinian enclave without power or sewer services. Israel says the campaign will continue until it stops rocket fire and destroys the tunnels Hamas militants are using to attack Israelis. [The Washington Post]

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2. Obama unveils new sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis
President Obama announced tough new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday over artillery strikes fired from Russia into Ukraine, and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 earlier this month in a part of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The measures targeted banks, the energy sector, a large defense firm, and other key contributors to Russia’s economy. The European Union imposed even tougher sanctions. [The New York Times]

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3. Yosemite fire threatens redwoods and limits park access
A wildfire in Yosemite National Park grew on Tuesday, expanding to 3,060 acres and temporarily cutting off access to some of the California park. The flames threatened a grove of giant redwoods and forced authorities to close three campgrounds at the height of the summer tourist season. The fire was the latest in a flare-up caused by extreme drought conditions affecting 80 percent of the state. [USA Today]

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4. Knife-wielding mob kills dozens in China
A mob armed with knives attacked ethnic Han and Muslim Uighur civilians in the latest in a series of violent outbursts in China’s tense Xinjiang region. Dozens of people were killed by the gang, according to local police interviewed by the official Xinhua News Agency. Dozens of the attackers also were killed, shot dead by authorities after targeting government offices and a police station. [Bloomberg News]

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5. European ransom payments now bankroll al Qaeda
European governments have quietly paid al Qaeda between $125 million and $165 million in ransoms for kidnapping victims since 2008, including at least $66 million in the past year alone, according to a New York Times investigation. The money, funneled through intermediaries, is sometimes disguised as development aid. Counterterrorism officials believe the payoffs now overshadow cash from big donors as al Qaeda’s main funding source. [The New York Times]

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6. Colorado high court orders halt to Boulder same-sex marriage licenses
The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Boulder County Court Clerk Hillary Hall to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples until the high court rules on the state’s gay-marriage ban. Hall began issuing gay couples licenses in June after a federal appeals court in Denver overturned Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. She said she would comply but expected the stay to be brief, “given the avalanche of recent cases determining that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.” [NBC News]

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7. Massive water-line break floods part of UCLA’s campus
The main water line broke at UCLA on Tuesday, sending water shooting 30 feet into the air. Eight million to 10 million gallons of water flooded parts of campus — including Pauly Pavilion, home of UCLA basketball and other sports teams. Water also covered a stretch of Sunset Boulevardbefore the ruptured line was shut off after four hours. The 90-year-old line was nearly three feet wide and carried 75,000 gallons a minute. [Los Angeles Times]

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8. Court ruling keeps Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic open
A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked a Mississippi law that threatened to close the state’s lone abortion clinic, saying it would essentially end abortion in the state and place an undue burden on women. The court didn’t overturn the law, which required clinic doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, but the decision could doom it. Clinic supporters said the law amounted to an unconstitutional state ban on abortion. [The Clarion-Ledger]

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9. NCAA agrees to $70-million concussion lawsuit settlement
The NCAA has agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action lawsuit over head injuries in contact sports by creating a $70 million fund to monitor the health of athletes who suffer brain trauma. The governing body of college sports also said it would establish rules on how schools handle such injuries. Critics, including the plaintiffs, had said leaving the policies up to individual institutions put players’ health at risk. [ESPN]

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10. Ebola kills leading doctor fighting the virus in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s leading doctor fighting West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak died Tuesday afternoon from the virus. The physician, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, had treated more than 100 patients and was hailed as a national hero by his government. More than 670 people, including three nurses who worked with Khan, have died in the outbreak, which is already the largest ever recorded. [Los Angeles Times]

Right wing Facebook page ‘Barack Obama Must Die’ being promoted on social media

 is calling for the president's death.

Anti-Obama Facebook page

Examiner.com

An anti-Obama Facebook page was recently taken down, but has since returned with more vile images and content.

The right-wing Facebook page titled “Barack Obama Must Die” was reported enough by disgusted viewers on the social networking page that it was removed last week. Despite the removal, the page is back and up and running. The main picture on the page is President Obama photo-shopped as the evil character The Joker from the Batman films. The cover image, which appears in a larger form above the page, shows a smiling Obama holding an American flag while straddling an airplane. Above the president is a slogan reading: “Live from Gitmo Nation, No Agenda.”

A growing number of protesters have left messages on the page, making note that they have reported it to Facebook, the FBI and even the Secret Service. As of press time, the “Barack Obama Must Die” Facebook page is still active and it’s unknown if it will get removed a second time.

This isn’t the first time Examiner.com has reported on an hateful and dangerous Facebook page in regard to President Obama. This past January, the right-wing Facebook page titled “Americans the next generation” showed a picture of President Obama photo-shopped in a noose, calling for his hanging to be a national holiday. Shorty after the story broke, Facebook took down the page.

Did The Pope Just Challenge The Church’s Position On War?

 

Pope Francis | CREDIT: CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND WALES

Think Progress

Pope Francis has a habit of saying things that are not necessarily in line with the established teaching of the Catholic Church, but his most recent appeal for peace in the Middle East may put him at odds with a centuries-old Catholic theology concerning the proper use of military force.

Speaking during his weekly Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, the first Argentinean pope marked the 100th anniversary of World War I by breaking from his scripted remarks to make an impassioned plea for peace.

“Please stop!” he said, referring to war as his voice cracked with emotion. “I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please!”

His remarks appeared to be primarily directed at the escalating conflict in Israel and Palestine, with the pope speaking of how war injures, mutilates, and orphans children. He then made another bold proclamation: ”Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! Everything is lost with war, nothing is lost with peace. Never more war.”

The pope’s emotional remarks were no doubt moving for many Christians — especially those fighting to survive in the Holy Land — but few likely saw them as surprising. Appeals to pacifism and nonviolence are nothing new in Christianity, which is rooted in the biblical commandment “thou shalt not kill” and Jesus Christ’s instruction to “turn the other cheek” when confronted with violence. In fact, pacifism is cited as a foundational theological idea for entire Christian denominations, such as the Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish, groups whose devotees are regularly granted “conscientious objector” status during wartime because of their religious beliefs. For his part, Pope Francis has repeatedly prayed for peace in various war-torn regions, as has virtually every pope before him — including Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor.

But Francis’ bold assertion of “never war” is a bit out-of-character for a sitting pope, because, technically speaking, the Catholic Church doesn’t actually think that people should “never” go to war. On the contrary, the Catholic Church has been an active participant in several violent conflicts, and pope Francis’ words appear to directly dispute an established — albeit controversial — Catholic theology known as “Just War Doctrine.”

At its core, Just War Doctrine — a distinctly Catholic subset of the larger conversation around Just War Theory — is essentially the belief that war can, in certain circumstances, be “just.” These circumstances are very specific, and the exact definition of what constitutes a “just war” has been disputed by various Catholic theologians over the centuries. The term itself originated with Saint Augustine of Hippo, a highly influential 4th and 5th century Christian leader who outlined a form of justifiable violence in his seminal work, “City of God.” In it, Augustine lamented the idea that violence should exist at all, but nonetheless argued that, “They who have waged war in obedience to the divine command…by no means violated the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” This idea was expanded several centuries later by Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican priest and theologian who lived in the 13th century. He discussed Just War in his Summa Theologica, outlining tests for gauging the morality of a conflict, a list that was nuanced and enhanced a few centuries later by various Spanish and Portuguese monks as part of the philosophical “School of Salamanca.

All of this culminated with the formal codification of a “Just War Doctrine” within Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1993, where paragraph 2309 outlines four “strict conditions” that must be met for lethal force to be categorized as “just” by the church. They are:

  • The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • There must be serious prospects of success;
  • The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

This theology has been claimed by the church on multiple occasions to justify war. The crusades are an obvious example of the church invoking several early forms of the Just War Doctrine, with Catholic leaders justifying the series of bloody engagements by arguing that Palestine needed to be freed from Muslim rule. Pope Francis called World War I a “useless massacre” this weekend, but during that conflict, prominent Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore issued a letter to U.S. Catholics that invoked Just War principles and implored all Catholics to support U.S. involvement in the war. The act lead to the creation of the U.S. Bishops’ “National Catholic War Council,” which was reportedly tasked with recruiting as many Catholics as possible for “war work.” The Catholic Church itself has been more hesitant to endorse a single war as “just” in recent decades, but that hasn’t stopped scores of Catholic theologians from sparring over whether or not intervention in conflicts such as the crisis in Syria constitute a justifiable use of military force.

And while the term was originally a religious idea, it has since been appropriated by various American political leaders. This is partially due to the influence of 20th century Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who embraced just war and established the notion of “Christian realism” that multiple American politicians on both sides of the aisle still hold dear.Some have argued, for instance, that the War in Iraq was a just war, and the vast majority of Americans say the same about World War II. President Obama, who cites Niebuhr as his favorite theologian, discussed his own complex attitudes toward the idea when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. But as the sheer number of these so-called “just wars” have grown, more than a few have questioned whether the concept — even with its narrow definitions — has become little more than a rallying cry for anyone who engages in war, since virtually all warriors claim their cause is just.

Francis’ words on Sunday appear to echo these criticisms. By asserting “never war, never war” while lifting up the plight of dead or orphaned children, he hints the violence, however well-intentioned or sensibly executed, only leads to death and destruction, and thus cannot be moral. His remarks channel the frustration of millions caught up in conflicts in places like Syria, Ukraine, and Israel-Palestine, where thousands are killed or displaced simply for standing in the way of opposing forces.

Francis’ passionately anti-war stance may be catching on. Although his remarks are barely 24 hours old, writers already are using his words to make bold calls for radical peace.

Glenn Beck: Obama is fueling impeachment talk because ‘the Black thing is over’

Glenn Beck 072814 [RWW]

The Raw Story

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck accused President Barack Obama on Monday of fueling talks of his own impeachment in order to better position himself on, among other things, the country’s immigration issues, Right Wing Watch reported.

“Who wants it? The president does,” Beck argued. “Because then he’ll be able to say, ‘I demand justice.’ The birther thing is over, the Black thing is over. So now he needs to be able to call for justice.”

Beck complained that conservatives were “losing the PR battle” on the issue of immigration reform and said Obama would try to “change the subject” to allegations of impeachment.

“Do you think anybody in the GOP is serious about impeachment?” Beck asked his staff. “I talk to a lot of the guys who should be the leaders of impeachment, if there was gonna be a leader of impeachment.”

Beck did not name any of the “guys” to which he spoke about the issue. But his remarks came a day after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) refused to dismiss the possibility of such an action during an interview with Fox News. Other House Republicans like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) have been calling for Obama’s impeachment since at least October 2013.

More recently, Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin wrote, “it’s time to impeach” in a column for Breitbart.com earlier this month over the influx of several thousand immigrant minors from Central American countries.

 

Watch footage of Beck’s remarks, as posted by Right Wing Watch on Monday, here…

 

 

Republicans Condemn Bergdahl Swap

Bergdahl was released by the Taliban in May.(Photo by U.S. Army via Getty Images)

It’s all about politics and going against anything the POTUS is for…

National Journal

House Republicans condemned President Obama for failing to notify Congress in advance of the May swap of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members.

But with the House expected to vote this week to allow a lawsuit against the president, multiple Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday that the resolution was nothing more than “political theater.”

The resolution, introduced by Republican Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia, says Obama failed to follow the law by not notifying Congress 30 days ahead of the swap earlier this year, as required under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014.

Bergdahl went missing in June 2009 from his base in Afghanistan. He was held by the Taliban and was freed in May in exchange for the release of five Taliban members who were being detained at Guantanamo Bay. The prisoners, who were transferred to Qatar, are not allowed to leave the Middle Eastern country for a year.

“Congress was not able to consider the risk to the American people or our troops in harms way,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon said regarding the swap.

Rigell and other lawmakers said they have concerns about the national security implications of the Bergdahl exchange because it suggests the United States will negotiate with terrorists, but added they are also “relieved” that Bergdahl is back in the United States.

Rigell said he believes Obama’s decision to not notify Congress before the swap was “unnecessary” and “harmed our relationship with the administration.”

Administration officials told lawmakers earlier this year that after consulting with the Justice Department, they concluded they did not have to notify Congress 30 days in advance because of a legal loophole.

Officials also suggested that notifying Congress would have put the swap, and Bergdahl’s life, at unnecessary risk.

Asked if the administration would follow the 30-day requirement in the future, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagelsaid the administration would follow the requirement “unless there is an extraordinary set of circumstances.”

Committee Democrats largely agreed that the administration should have given prior notification, but they felt the Republican-backed legislation went too far. Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii were the only Democrats to support Rigell’s proposal.

Committee ranking member Adam Smith of Washington state offered an amendment to the resolution, which was ultimately rejected. He and other Democrats on the panel suggested that Rigell’s resolution could appear partisan, because it contends the administration knowingly violated the law.

“[Prisoner swaps] are very, very difficult decisions to make,” Smith said. “I do not think it is appropriate for this Congress to condemn the president for making that decision.”

Smith’s amendment instead would have noted that the administration and lawmakers had a disagreement on how to interpret the law.

And Tuesday’s hearing comes at a potentially precarious time for lawmakers, with the House expected to authorize a lawsuit against Obama this week.

“This is happening in the context of a vote tomorrow to authorize a lawsuit against the president of the United States,” said Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney, calling the larger argument a “600-pound gorilla.”

Young Americans take a dim view of Israel’s actions

People take part in a rally in support of Israel near the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Monday. Speakers called for Americans, both Jews and non-Jews, to support Israel in its continued conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Any thoughts?

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

The United States is a politically polarized country. But when it comes to views of what’s happening in Israel, partisanship has nothing on age.

A new Pew Research Center poll is the second in the past week to show a huge generational split on the current conflict in Gaza. While all age groups north of 30 years old clearly blame Hamas more than Israel for the current violence, young adults buck the trend in a big way. Among 18 to 29-year olds, 29 percent blame Israel more for the current wave of violence, while 21 percent blame Hamas.

Young people are more likely to blame Israel than are Democrats, who blame Hamas more by a 29-26 margin. Even liberal Democrats are split 30-30. The only other major demographic groups who blame Israel more than Hamas are African Americans and Hispanics.

IsraelYoung1

The poll echoes a Gallup survey from last week.

Gallup asked Americans whether they thought Israel’s recent actions were justified. While older Americans clearly sided with Israel, 18 to 29-year olds said by a two-to-one margin (51-25) that its actions were unjustified.

No other group was as strongly opposed to Israel’s actions.

IsraelYoung2

The resistance among young Americans to Israel’s actions is somewhat new. Back in 2006, when Israel clashed with Hezbollah in Lebanon, 18-to-29-year olds blamed Hezbollah more than Israel by a 30-10 margin, according to Pew. And in 2009, in a previous conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, young American adults blamed Hamas more by a 23-14 margin.

So clearly, there is something different about the current conflict and young people.

The National Journal’s Ron Fournier had this take on the demographic split: “…it’s a warning that Israel’s decades-old public relations and political dominance is coming to an end unless the nation’s leaders change the narrative and reset their strategic position with moderate Palestinians.”

So does this mean that there is a generation of Americans prepared to challenge the United States’ long-standing alliance with Israel? Not necessarily.

Just because young Americans are more suspect of what Israel is doing today doesn’t mean they will be as suspect in a decade or two. It’s well-known that Americans tend to become more politically conservative as they age; it’s also quite likely that their views on Middle East politics will evolve.

In addition, young people are paying the least attention to what’s happening in Gaza. Just 23 percent of 18 to 29-year olds say they have been following the Israel-Gaza situation “very closely,” according to Pew. That’s more than are following other major news stories — including the downed airplane in Ukraine and the border crisis — but it’s still significantly less attention than other age groups are paying to the Middle East.

And finally, there’s the fact that, even as young Americans question Israel in this instance, they are still much more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. A Gallup poll from 2011 showed young Americans (this time those aged 18 to 34) generally sided with Israel over the Palestinians, 58-19. The oldest Americans were only nominally more pro-Israel, at 67-14.

IsraelYoung3

Similarly, a Pew poll from two years ago showed Americans 18 to 29 sided with Israel over the Palestinians 38-15. That’s not as strong as the oldest Americans, but it’s still a clear and significant margin — with little in the way of a pro-Palestinian bloc.

In other words, unless things have changed in a big way over the last few years, young people might not be happy with what Israel is doing today in Gaza, but their sympathies still clearly lie with one side more than the other, and it’s not the Palestinians.

They aren’t as pro-Israel as their older counterparts, but so far there is little evidence that the current conflict will have a lasting effect on what has been a long-standing American alliance with Israel.

 

10 things you need to know today: July 29, 2014

Putin watches a parade to celebrate Russia's Navy Day on Sunday. 

Putin watches a parade to celebrate Russia’s Navy Day on Sunday. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin/Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

The Week

Judges rule Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, the U.S. and Europe tighten sanctions against Russia, and more

1. Court rules overturns Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban
A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional because barring gay couples from marrying amounted to a new form of “segregation.” The 2-to-1 decision, upholding a lower court ruling, extended a winning streak for gay marriage advocates in court. After the decision, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) said his state would end its “vigorous” defense of a similar ban. [The Washington Post]

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2. Washington and Europe tighten Russia sanctions
The U.S. and the European Union agreed to intensify sanctions against Russia for allegedly returning troops to the Ukraine border and sending heavy weapons to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The E.U. had been resisting tougher sanctions, but in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, European leaders have rallied behind measures more severe than Washington’s. [The New York Times]

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3. Court says Donald Sterling can’t block Clippers’ sale
Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling lost a battle to block the team’s sale, when a California judge issued a preliminary ruling allowing Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, to proceed. Judge Michael Levanas said Shelly Sterling had the authority to negotiate the $2-billion sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after two doctors found Donald Sterling to be mentally incapacitated. [USA Today]

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4. U.S. accuses Russia of violating missile treaty
The Obama administration on Monday accused Russia of violating a 1987 arms control treaty by testing a cruise missile. The State Department said it had attempted to talk to Moscow about the issue for more than a year. Under the treaty, Russia is not supposed to possess or test missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Moscow said it dismissed the charge after an investigation. [CNN]

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5. Three law enforcement officers wounded in shootout with accused pedophile
Two federal marshals and a New York City detective were wounded Monday in a shootout with a fugitive child molestation suspect in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. The suspect, Charles Mozdir, died after being shot seven or eight times. Mozdir, 32, had been on the run for two years since a family friend accused him of molesting her son. Mozdir’s girlfriend reported him after seeing the case featured Sunday on John Walsh’s show The Hunt on CNN. [New York Post]

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6. Israel steps up strikes in Gaza
Israel hit Gaza overnight with the heaviest bombing of the three-week conflict. Israel targeted more than 70 sites, including government offices and other symbols of Hamas’ power. Israel also reportedly shelled Gaza’s only power plant, shutting it down. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “prolonged” fight, and a Hamas leader whose house was hit said the strikes would not break Palestinians’ determination. [ABC News]

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7. Texas man charged with sending envelopes with harmless white powder
A Rowlett, Texas, man was accused on Monday of sending more than 500 letters containing white powder to government offices, schools, and other locations since December 2008. The suspect — Hong Minh Truong, 66 — was charged with false information and hoaxes. One batch of the mailings included a letter stating, “Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

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8. Congress announces $17 billion deal to improve veterans’ health care
House and Senate Veterans Affairs committee members unveiled a three-year, $17-billion deal on Monday to fix the veterans health-care system. Senate Democrats wanted $25 billion to reduce wait times for care; House Republicans wanted $10 billion. “The United States Congress is in my view a dysfunctional institution,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate committee, “so I’m quite proud of what we’ve accomplished.” [Fox News]

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9. Dollar Tree buys Family Dollar for $8.5 billion
Dollar Tree announced Monday that it was buying rival discount retailer Family Dollar for $8.5 billion. The surprising move came three months after Family Dollar announced that it would close 370 stores and slash prices following the latest in a series of disappointing earnings reports. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn had pushed for the merger of the No. 2 and No. 3 discounters, calling it “a big win” for Family Dollar shareholders. [The Washington Post]

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10. Bad timing killed the dinosaurs
What really wiped out the dinosaurs was a run of terrible luck, according to a new study published in Biological Reviews journal. The dinosaurs might have survived the impact of a six-mile-wide asteroid that paleontologists believe was the biggest factor in their demise if big plant eaters — prey for big carnivores — hadn’t just entered a period of decline. “If the asteroid hit five million years later or earlier, the dinosaurs might still be around,” one of the researchers said. [National Geographic]

House GOP Lowers Taxes On The Rich

Liberland

Surprise surprise.  The House GOP, largely incapable of passing any legislation did manageto pass a tax cut on Friday.  Guess who it helps?

You’ve probably heard this story before: House Republicans choose to cut taxes for the rich instead of the poor. On Friday, they did it once again. The House GOP had an opportunity to address an expiring law that would result in a significant tax increase on the poor. Instead, it passed legislation that would cut taxes for high-income Americans. . .

If the House legislation became law, the Center for Budget and Policy Prioritiesestimated that a couple making $160,000 a year would receive a new tax cut of $2,200. On the other hand, the expiring provisions of the {Child Tax Credit} CTC would cause a single mother with two kids making $14,500 to lose her full CTC, worth $1,725. The CBPP projects that 12 million people, including six million children, would either fall into poverty or fall deeper into poverty if Congress does not extend those 2009 changes. Taken together, these changes would be extremely regressive.

Yup, you guessed.