Hillary Clinton

Emails show Hillary’s political sleuthing


AP photo


A new batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails made public by the State Department Monday night show her expressing interest in the presidential aspirations of Gen. David Petraeus, who ultimately took a job as CIA director in the Obama administration instead of running for president in 2012 and was then driven out of government by scandal.

Clinton–who’s now the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination next year–sounded intrigued when her longtime friend Sidney Blumenthal reported to her on a Saturday morning in February 2010 that prominent Washington foreign policy blogger Steve Clemons said Petraeus was talking frankly about the possibility of running for the White House.

“Clemons had dinner this week with Petraeus, who freely talked about running for president,” Blumenthal wrote to Clinton.

“Will he write about Petraeus?” Clinton wrote back five minutes later.

Moments later, Blumenthal sent Clinton Clemons’ post mentioning the off-the-record dinner and discussing the relative political merits of Petraeus, Vice President Joe Biden and Clinton herself.

“Clemons… told me more detail about [Petraeus’] attitude and interest,” Blumenthal said, adding a couple of nuggets.

Four months later, Petraeus was abruptly named the U.S. commander in Afghanistan after President Barack Obama essentially fired Gen. Stanley McCrystal over disrespectful comments his aides made about Biden. Clinton’s top communications adviser, Philippe Reines, opined that the new assignment would be seen as a way to take Petraeus, said to describe himself as a Rockefeller Republican, out of contention as a potential presidential candidate in 2012.

“My bet on the direction this now takes is two fronts 1) does Petreaus make any big changes; can he do in Afghanistan what he did in Iraq; his health; political benefits of locking him up like Huntsman,” Reines wrote to top Clinton advisers, referring to perceptions that Huntsman was out of the running for 2012 because he accepted an appointment from Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to China. The email was later forwarded to Clinton by her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.

Huntsman did run for the GOP nomination in 2012 but did poorly and dropped out. Petraeus was named CIA director in 2011 but resigned after the 2012 elections when a federal investigation of alleged cyberstalking exposed an extramarital affair he had with his biographer.

In addition to keeping tabs on Petraeus, Clinton also expressed interest in reports that former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was expressing criticism of Obama White House management. “Send me the next article about Podesta,” she asked Blumenthal. Previously released emails show Clinton chafing at perceived snubs from Obama’s national security team and her team in some apparent friction with then National Security Adviser Jim Jones.

In the same month as the exchanges about Petraeus, Clinton also sent Mills an article by Les Gelb arguing for a shake-up of Obama’s White House team, including the removal of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. In the email forwarding the column, Clinton doesn’t say if she agrees or disagrees with the diagnosis or the prescription. She simply writes:”FYI.”

The new insights into Clinton’s political intelligence-gathering come from messages that are among a batch of more than 7,000 pages of emails the State Department put online Monday night, complying with a judge’s order to make monthly releases in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The order followed the revelation in March that Clinton exclusively used a private email account and server during her four years as secretary of state, jeopardizing earlier responses to FOIA requests and triggering Republican claims that she endangered national security by allowing sensitive messages to be stored on an unofficial system.

While dozens of senior officials and Clinton friends were in the loop about her email setup, the newly-disclosed messages show some on State’s tech support team were clearly in the dark.

“I work as a Help Desk Analyst and it has come to my attention that one of our customers has been receiving permanent fatal errors from this address, can you please confirm if you receive this message,” State Department IT specialist Christopher Butzgy wrote in a message that Clinton forwarded to top aide Huma Abedin inquiring about its contents.

“What happened is judith sent.you an email. It bounced back. She called the email help desk at state (I guess assuming u had state email) and told them that. They had no idea it was YOU, just some random address so they emailed. Sorry about that. But regardless, means ur email must be back! R u getting other messages?” Abedin emailed Clinton.

The debate over the wisdom of Clinton’s use of the private account got new fodder Monday when State declared another 125 of the former secretary’s emails classified on national security grounds. The new classifications roughly triple the number of messages on Clinton’s account now considered classified, bringing the total to 188 from 63.

However, State Department spokesman Mark Toner stressed that the information was not marked classified at the time it was sent several years ago. He also said the decision to classify the information did not represent a determination that it should have been marked or handled that way back then.

“That certainly does not speak to whether it was classified at the time it was sent, or forwarded, or received,” Toner said during the daily State Department briefing Monday afternoon, before the release. “We stand by our contention that the information we’ve upgraded was not marked classified at the time it was sent.”

At the briefing, Toner had said he expected the number of classified messages in the lastest set to be “somewhere around 150.” Asked about the final tally for this batch being about 25 fewer, State officials said Toner’s number was simply a rough estimate. They also said some of the information classified in Monday’s release was identical to information withheld in earlier batches.

The Republican National Committee called the latest release another reason to doubt Clinton can be trusted with the presidency.

“These new emails show Hillary Clinton exposed even more classified information on her secret server than previously known,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement. “On hundreds of occasions, Hillary Clinton’s reckless attempt to skirt transparency laws put sensitive information and our national security at risk. With the FBI continuing to investigate, Hillary Clinton’s growing email scandal shows she cannot be trusted with the White House.”

After first saying there was no classified information in her account, Clinton has said more recently that nothing was marked classified. She has said she used the private account for convenience, but that in retrospect it was a bad choice. Clinton has also described the classification system as arcane, while her aides have described it as dysfunctional.

As Clinton faces questions about whether she mishandled classified information, the emails released Monday show how she and her staff responded in late 2010 to the largest breach of classified information in U.S. history: WikiLeaks’ disclosure of 250,000 diplomatic cables. An Army intelligence analyst, Pvt. Chelsea Manning, was eventually court martialed for the leaks and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

The emails about the response to WikiLeaks–some of them classified–show U.S. officials reaching out to foreign governments to assuage them after the publication of U.S. cables calling foreign leaders corrupt.

One message forwarded to Clinton reports that Near East Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman reached out to leaders in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to try to mitigate the damage done by the WikiLeaks disclosures. Much of the message was withheld from Monday’s release after being classified “CONFIDENTIAL,” although it was originally marked as “sensitive but unclassified.”

Another email forwarded to Clinton said the president of Kenya had called in the U.S. ambassador to dress him down after WikiLeaks disclosed cables saying the government was steeped in corruption.

After State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley forwarded Clinton a Swedish cartoon showing Clinton using a wrench trying to shut down the flow of information to WikiLeaks, she wrote back: “It certainly hits the mark. Can you hand me a wrench?”

“I can think of several folks for you to toss that wrench at!” Crowley replied.

While Clinton took a hard line against the WikiLeaks disclosures, the messages show that during her time as secretary she was sometimes frustrated by the mechanics of the State Department’s systems for dealing with classified and unclassified information.

When Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan told her in February 2010 he couldn’t send her a Mideast peace-related statement former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had issued, Clinton seemed irritated. “It’s a public statement! Just email it,” she wrote. Sullivan replied that it was impossible to do that because the only information was in State’s classified system. “Trust me, I share your exasperation. But until ops converts it to the unclassified email system, there is no physical way for me to email it. I can’t even access it,” Sullivan wrote.

Nearly all the information officially classified by the State Department in prior and the latest email releases involved diplomatic strategy or information provided by foreign governments. All the new classifications were at the “CONFIDENTIAL” level, the lowest tier in the U.S. classification system. So far only one message has been officially classified at a higher level, “SECRET,” although intelligence agency officials say some of the messages from Clinton’s account contain even more highly classified information.

Toner batted away questions Monday about whether State Department policy dictated that Clinton and other agency employees treat as classified information obtained in confidence from foreign officials or diplomats.

“Classification — we’ve said this many times — is not an exact science. It’s not, often, a black-and-white process,” Toner said. “There’s many strong opinions. … It’s not up to me to litigate these kinds of questions from the State Department podium.”

When releasing the messages, the State Department deletes any content deemed classified, notes the reason for the deletion, the classification level and who made the decision to classify. The agency then releases the remainder of the message unless it is subject to another Freedom of Information Act exemption.

The State Department posted the 7,121 additional pages of Clinton’s emails on the agency’s website at about 9 p.m. Monday, revealing more details from Clinton’s time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2010.

Toner did not elaborate on the nighttime posting but stressed that the volume of messages being made public Monday exceeded the approximately 6,000 pages released thus far.

“We’re producing more documents this month than we have in the previous three releases in May, June and July combined,” he told reporters. “Meeting this goal is really a testament to our commitment to releasing these emails to the public as expeditiously as possible.”

The last nighttime release of Clinton’s emails, in June, prompted questions of whether the State Department was trying to minimize the impact of bad news. State spokesman John Kirby on Monday denied that, saying that the timing was the product of the volume of emails to be processed and posted, and a monthly deadline set by a federal judge. However, Kirby apologized for the inconvenience the nighttime posting caused for journalists and said his agency would seek to avoid such off-hours activity in the future.

The Intelligence Community inspector general has said at least two emails on Clinton’s account contained “top secret” information subject to special protection because it was derived from electronic or aerial surveillance. The State Department has disputed that conclusion. The FBI is also conducting an investigation of how the arguably classified material made it onto Clinton’s server.

Clinton has portrayed the furor over classification of her emails as unrelated to her decision to use a private email account, since classified information is not supposed to be sent on any system not approved for that purpose, whether private or government-owned.

“If I had had a separate government account … we would be going through the same process,” Clinton told reporters earlier this month at a news conference in Las Vegas. “It has nothing to do with me and it has nothing to do with the fact that my account was personal.”

While Clinton has repeatedly described the email controversy as one dwelled upon by journalists and her political opponents, she changed her tone somewhat last week, allowing that some members of the public do have legitimate questions about the issue. “I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why,” she said at a campaign stop in Iowa. “My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. … I take responsibility for that decision.”

The emails come from a set of about 54,000 pages of messages Clinton turned over to her former agency in December after a request from a top official there.

In May, the State Department released 847 pages from the emails relating to Benghazi and Libya more broadly that had been provided to the House Select Committee on Benghazi earlier in the year.

State initially proposed holding back the rest of Clinton’s emails until next January and releasing them in one large batch in response to pending Freedom of Information Act requests. However, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected that approach and ordered monthly releases from June through early next year.

In June, State released 3,095 pages, many of which highlighted the influence of outside Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal. but the pace of disclosures slowed with a July release of just 2,206 pages. State officials said the slowdown, which caused the agency to fall short of a goal set by Contreras, was the result of new procedures to make sure intelligence agencies were fully consulted about the content of emails planned for release.

Officials had said in court filings that they planned to make up some of the deficit this month and to be back on track by next month. However, the new release of more than 7,000 pages put the agency back in line with the judge’s order.

Clinton and her aides have suggested that as more of her emails are released, people will get a better sense of how she’s doing her job and the controversy will diminish. That may turn out to be true as the monthly releases continue into next year. However, for now, each round of disclosures provides new fodder for Republicans and other critics questioning the wisdom, propriety and even the legality of the arrangement.

Iowa Poll: Bernie Sanders Is Closing In On Hillary Clinton



A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) only 7 points behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the Iowa caucus, a worrying sign for the Democratic frontrunner. Clinton leads with 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, with Sanders following at 30 percent.

As Clinton’s campaign struggles to counter negative press from her ongoing email controversy, Sanders has energized liberal Democrats with impassioned talk of political revolution. According to the poll, 96 percent of Sanders supporters said they support him for his ideas, while two percent said their support lies mostly in the fact that they do not support Clinton.

The poll also includes Vice President Joe Biden, who captured 14 percent. He has yet to announce a presidential bid.

Clinton has lost a third of her support since May, the poll found. This is also the first time Clinton has fallen below the 50 percent mark in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll this year. “It looks like what people call the era of inevitability is over,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll.

While the poll results show a notable departure from Clinton’s presumptive lead, they don’t necessarily predict what’s to come. In June 2011, former Rep. Michele Bachmann was polling just one point behind eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Iowa. Bachmann finished in sixth place, with a dismal 5 percent of the vote at the caucuses.

The poll, conducted August 23-26, is based on telephone interviews with 404 likely Democratic caucusgoers. The findings have a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Sanders is currently polling at a hair under 30 percent in the HuffPost Pollster chart, which aggregates all publicly available polls.

See interactive chart here…

Did Hillary Clinton support a “white supremacist” crime bill?

attribution: NONE


My colleague Andrew Prokop has an absolute must-read analysis of Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Black Lives Matter activists in New Hampshire last week (a video of which was published online yesterday). But to my mind, the heart of the conflict between the activists and Clinton in the video — and their less than enthusiastic reaction afterward — wasn’t about approaches to politics in the present. It was about the 1994 crime bill that Clinton enthusiastically supported and her husband signed — and how Clinton views that bill now.

The crux of the conflict is this: The activists see the 1994 crime bill, and the “tough-on-crime” agenda more generally, as “extensions of white supremacist violence against communities of color.” Clinton agrees with them that the criminal justice system needs to be reformed, but refuses to accept that characterization of the bill.

At first, she characterizes it as something that made sense at the time but might not make sense anymore — a position her husband has also taken in offering a partial apology for signing the bill.

Clinton denies any racist intent in her crime policies

But when one activist associates the bill with a project of “white supremacist violence,” Clinton buckles. She takes it as a statement about intent: that laws like the 1994 crime bill were deliberately passed out of malice toward black communities. And so she counters that she and her husband were deeply concerned about black victims of crime, and were simply acting out of a desire to protect them:

there was a very serious crime wave that was impacting primarily communities of color and poor people. And part of it was that there was just not enough attention paid. So you know, you could argue that people who were trying to address that—including my husband, when he was President—were responding to the very real concerns of people in the communities themselves.

This is an important point: Many black Americans, including black leaders, welcomed “tough-on-crime” policies as a way to protect their communities. A majority of the Congressional Black Caucus voted for the 1986 law that created the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. And in 1994, it was the CBC that saved President Clinton’s crime bill after an unexpected loss on a procedural vote.

This is a history that’s been largely forgotten, partly because many of these leaders regret their positions now or — like former Rep. Kweisi Mfume — deny that they supported the bill at all. And in fairness, there was plenty of black opposition to tough-on-crime policies. There are probably good questions to ask about who is trusted to speak for black communities, and whether black leaders felt politically pressured to denounce the crime in their midst as a condition of being taken seriously.

But they certainly weren’t white supremacists. Clinton was correct. Yet it’s not clear that she was answering the right question.

Consequences matter more than feelings

The problem is that the conversation isn’t clear whether “extension of white supremacist violence” is about the intent of these policies or their consequences. This is a common problem with discussion of racism: Structural racism isn’t about feelings in individuals’ hearts, it’s about systems and outcomes. But it’s easy to slip from talking about systems to talking about people, and that’s what happened here.

Personally, I think the intent simply doesn’t matter. Clinton herself said, “You don’t change hearts. You change laws.” What matters is the external reality, not the feelings of the people who create it; caring about people will not save you from making policy choices that will hurt them. And — especially with hindsight — it’s possible to see that theconsequences of the 1994 crime bill, as well as the tough-on-crime laws it encouraged states to pass or keep, were part of a system that has created widespread immiseration in black America.

Those consequences may have been intended or unintended. But people often confuse “unintended consequences” and “collateral damage,” and the damage done by the bill wasn’t collateral. By 1994, the crime wave had already peaked; the crime rate was starting a quarter-century of decline. Increased incarceration is responsible for a small fraction of that — but by 1994, the people being put in prison, on the margin, had long since stopped being the people who posed a serious threat. The suffering caused by the bill wasn’t a caveat, it was the primary consequence of its passage.

The question: What has Clinton learned?

When Clinton asked the activists to put forward policies of their own that they could demand she and other politicians get on board with, they refused. Because they want Clinton (as well as Bernie Sanders, who voted for the 1994 crime bill, and Martin O’Malley, who built a tough-on-crime regime as mayor of Baltimore) to show that she has educated herself about the problem. Dismantling mass incarceration won’t just take reforms (not all of which make for politically appealing talking points); it will need a resistance tomaking the same sort of mistakes over again in the future.

As far as I’m concerned — and the activists who confronted Clinton might disagree — Clinton doesn’t need to show she’s changed her heart. But she does need to show that she has learned, and changed her mind.

Hillary Clinton And Black Lives Matter Get Into A Heated Conversation (VIDEO)

You Tube screen grab

One can analyze this ad infinitum but the fact remains, Hillary is showing her supporters that she will not be intimidated/educated by the #BLM groups.  Her goal is to display her strengths against adversity as opposed to her Democratic opponent’s (Bernie Sanders) perceived “weakness”.

But my question is, while she’s playing for the cameras and her base, has she even tried to read up on the #BLM organization and it’s goals?  Or does it even matter to a “conservative/moderate” Dem?


Two representatives of Black Lives Matter confronted Hillary Clinton after a town hall meeting in New Hampshire and it was quite enlightening, at least if you’re a liberal.

The two activists, Julius Jones and Daunasia Yancey, came to the town hall meeting but the room was full, so they waited in an overflow room. After the event, Clinton came back and had a 15 minute conversation with the two BLM representatives. That’s quite a long time for a busy politico.

They asked Clinton about her husband’s policies, which helped bring about today’s mass incarceration of African-Americans. She spent about the first three plus minutes of the video listening to the issues brought up by the BLM representatives.

Clinton responded that she’s spent most of her career focusing on giving kids the opportunity to meet their potential. She went on to say that the country has still not recovered from its “original sin,” (slavery) and that their movement is critical. She also suggested that the movement become more pragmatic and come up with some agendas to fight for along with fighting against general racism.

The BLM reps weren’t exactly happy with that answer. “If you don’t tell black people what we need to do,” Jones said to the candidate, “we won’t tell you what you need to do.”

Before giving a substantive answer, Clinton turned sarcastic and said “then I will talk only to white people about the very real problems.” She did finish that with:

Look I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential, to live safely without fear of violence in their own communities, to have a decent school, to have a decent house, to have a decent future. So we can do it one of many ways. You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if that’s all that happens, we’ll be back here in 10 years having the same conversation. We will not have all of the changes that you deserve to see happen in your lifetime because of your willingness to get out there and talk about this.

Source: MSNBC

Here are the videos:

Clinton may not have looked at the Black Lives Matter website, but they do have a list of policy demands, including justice for Michael Brown, that the federal government stop arming police with military weaponry, that the Attorney General release the names of the officers killing black people and for a decrease in police spending and an increase in spending for black communities.

Judging by their Twitter account, it seems that Black Lives Matter wasn’t happy with her answers:




While the interaction was certainly clumsy on Clinton’s part, she is right in that if she becomes president, she can help affect change through policy and some policy demands would potentially go a long way, but BLM has put out policy demands. Unfortunately, no one in the room seemed to know them.

Wendy Gittleson

Hillary Clinton: Trump Is ‘Offensive’ But Other 2016 GOP Men Are Just As Bad


AP Photo | Jim Cole


Trump has been facing criticism even from members of the most conservative wings of the Republican Party for suggesting that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.” (Trump later backtracked that he was referring to Kelly’s nose.)

The backlash hasn’t seemed to hurt Trump much at the polls, with a survey released Mondayfinding he was still leading the GOP 2016 pack in Iowa.

In her remarks Monday, Clinton however pivoted to the stances taken by other 2016 Republicans during Thursday’s debate. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed opposition to exemptions in abortion bans for mothers whose lives are in jeopardy or for victims of rape or incest.

“What a lot of the men on that stage and that debate said was offensive,” Clinton said Monday. “The Republicans are putting forth some very radical and offensive positions when it comes to women’s lives, women’s reproductive health, women’s employment.”


10 things you need to know today: August 10, 2015

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


1. Shooting follows peaceful protests on Michael Brown anniversary 
A day of peaceful protests on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death ended in a burst of gunfire late Sunday, when police shot and critically injured a young man they said had opened fire on them. The man was in surgery early Monday. Friends identified the injured man as Tryone Harris, 18. Harris’ father said he was “real close” with Brown, an unarmed black teen who was killed by a white cop in Ferguson, Missouri, last year. Four plainclothes officers involved in the Sunday incident were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CNN

2. Hillary Clinton to propose $350 billion affordable college plan
Hillary Clinton plans on Monday to unveil a $350 billion, 10-year plan to make college more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. Dubbed the New College Compact, the proposal calls for an incentive program that will give more money to states that agree to offer “no loan” tuition at community colleges and four-year public universities; states that enroll more low- and middle-income students; and states that work with colleges to reduce living expenses for students.

Source: The Washington Post

3. U.S. sends military jets and personnel to Turkish base
The U.S. sent six F-16 fighter jets and 300 personnel to a Turkish air base on Sunday, weeks after Turkey agreed to let the U.S. use its territory to launch bombing attacks against Islamic State forces in Syria. Turkey had resisted stepping up its involvement in the battle against the Islamist militants, but relented as Syrian violence threatened to spill over the border. Turkey was hit by a wave of attacks Monday. In one, four police officers were killed. In another, two gunmen fired shots outside the U.S. Consulate, but nobody was injured.

Source: Reuters, BBC News

4. Trump leads another poll
Donald Trump continued to lead the rest of the Republican presidential field in a poll of GOP primary voters released Sunday, despite widespread criticism for comments he made about women and Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly during and after last week’s debate. Trump topped the survey with the support of 23 percent of respondents. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was next with 13 percent. The NBC News Online Poll by SurveyMonkey was conducted over 24 hours startingFriday evening.

Source: NBC News, Bloomberg

5. Iraqi leader, facing protests, launches anti-corruption effort 
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday announced drastic anti-corruption measures as weeks of protests against poor government services tested his authority. Abadi said via Facebook and Twitter that his government would reopen graft cases under the supervision of a high-level commission, and eliminate sectarian quotas in the selection of ministers, among other measures. “We are starting today genuine reform in all areas,” Abadi said in a statement.

Source: The Washington Post

6. Families end private search for Florida teens lost at sea
The families of Florida teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen saidSunday they had ended a private search for the boys, who went missing during a fishing trip on July 24. The Coast Guard suspended its search on July 31, but the families and volunteers kept looking from Jupiter, Florida, to South Carolina, fueled by nearly half a million dollars in donations. The families said in a joint statement that they lacked clues to guide them further, and thanked all who helped.

Source: The Palm Beach Post

7. Haiti holds parliamentary elections after four-year delay
Haitians voted Sunday in parliamentary elections after a wait that dragged on for nearly four years due to a power struggle between President Michel Martelly and the opposition. The first round of balloting to fill two-thirds of the 30-member Senate and the whole 99-member lower house was viewed as a critical test of the election system leading up to a presidential vote in October. Sunday’s voting was disrupted in some polling stations by delays, and sporadic violence.

Source: The Associated Press

8. South Korea vows “harsh price” for North Korean land mines
South Korean Maj. Gen. Koo Hong-mo said Monday that North Korea would “pay a harsh price” for planting land mines on the southern side of the DMZ. Last Tuesday, two South Korean soldiers were badly injured when they stepped on land mines while patrolling the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone, which has separated North and South Korea since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953. Seoul and the United Nations accuse North Korea of planting the mines recently.

Source: CNN, Reuters

9. Hiker believed killed by grizzly bear in Yellowstone
An experienced hiker missing since Friday appeared to have beenkilled by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park, park officials said Sunday. A park ranger found the victim, who was not immediately identified, near the Elephant Back Loop Trail in a “popular off-trail area he was known to frequent,” the statement said. He had defensive wounds on his arms, and had been partially consumed. The hiker was from Montana, and worked for a contractor that operates urgent care facilities in the park.

Source: The Washington Post

10. NFL legend Frank Gifford dies at 84
Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford died Sunday a week short of his 85th birthday. Gifford was an All-American at USC, and was drafted in the first round of the pro draft in 1952. He played 12 seasons for the New York Giants. The sometimes halfback, sometimes receiver, sometimes defensive back earned all-pro honors four times. After retiring as a player, he remained an NFL icon as a member of theMonday Night Football commentary team for more than 25 years.

Source: USA Today

Harold Maass

Bernie Sanders Defends Rival Hillary Clinton In The Classiest Way Possible (VIDEO)

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo by Blair Kelly and Tylor Bohlman


While the Republican presidential candidates continue to get into petty arguments with each other and sidestep talking about more important topics (ahem, Donald Trump), Bernie Sanders has just put all of them to shame by standing up for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has been Sanders’ biggest competition thus far, and Sanders chose to come to her defense instead of attack her. In an interview with Face the Nation host John Dickerson, Sanders explained why he felt Clinton was criticized so harshly — and his answer was not only refreshingly classy, but socially aware.

Watch what Sanders said in the short clip below, starting at 3:35:

In the interview, Sanders pointed out that Clinton has “been under all kinds of attack for many, many years,” and has been criticized more than almost any other public figure. Instead of using it as an opportunity to insult her, Sanders offered a blunt explanation for the way his biggest opponent has been treated:

“Some of it is sexist. I don’t know that a man would be treated the same way Hillary is.”

Sanders then said he admired Clinton, although they had different views. With poise and respectfulness, Sanders continued the interview by differentiating himself from Clinton with an analysis of her positions on trade and the Iraq war, instead of the name-calling, immature tactics we’ve seen from the Republican Party.

Sanders’ awareness and sensitivity to what Clinton — and other female candidates — face when running for office should be commended. We’ve seen time and time again that female candidates are either sexualized or demonized for their appearance and choices. Clinton has even called out sexism herself. A few years ago, Clinton confronted a sexist interviewer while she was taking policy questions in Kyrgyzstan. Despite how ill-fitting the question was in the subject matter, an interviewer asked Clinton who her favorite clothing designer was. Clinton responded, “Would you ever ask a man that question?” Dumb-founded, the interviewer was forced to admit, “Probably not.”

Sexism in politics continues to be a major obstacle and factor in the way that women are treated by their colleagues, reported on in the media and judged by the public. Women are judged by everything from their weight, age, attractiveness and fashion choices to their marriages, relationships and child-rearing skills — and nothing seems off-limits. Men in politics are rarely subjected to this level of personal scrutiny — unless perhaps we’re talking about Donald Trump’s hair.

Hillary Clinton Drops A Bomb On The Kochs By Vowing To Take Away Big Oil’s Taxpayer Subsidies




Hillary Clinton vowed to take away big oil’s subsidies and use the money for clean energy while campaigning in Iowa.

During a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton laid out her vision for combating climate change by encouraging clean energy technology.

In the process, she dropped a bomb on the Koch brothers:

We will make America the world’s clean energy superpower.

We will develop and deploy the clean energy technologies of the future. Transform our grid to give Americans more control over the energy they produce and consume. And yes, I will defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plant—Clean Power Plan against attacks from Republicans and their corporate backers.

We’ll launch a Clean Energy Challenge that supports and partners with states, cities, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy.

We’ll stop the giveaways to big oil companies and extend, instead, tax incentives for clean energy, while making them more cost-effective for both taxpayers and producers.

We’ll support—and improve—the Renewable Fuel Standard that has been such a success for Iowa and much of rural America.

The Koch brothers are fossil fuel barons who have spent almost $80 million funding climate change deniers. What Hillary Clinton is proposing is that the federal government take the $4.8 billion in subsidies that are currently given to big oil and create clean energy tax incentives.

Clinton’s proposal is exactly what the Koch Brothers fear the most. Fossil fuel industries are extremely profitable. They don’t need federal subsidies. Federal subsidies should be used to develop clean energy sources for the future. Republicans and their big oil masters frame the energy issue as an either/or choice between fossil fuels and clean alternatives. Hillary Clinton is offering a forward-thinking energy future that will be better for the planet and consumers.

Progress is inevitable, and not even the vast Koch wealth can hold off America’s clean energy future forever.

10 things you need to know today: July 14, 2015

(Joe Klamar/Pool Photo via AP)


1. Landmark Iran nuclear deal reached
On Tuesday morning, Iran and six world powers announced a long-awaited deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relieving economic sanctions over time. “This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change,” President Barack Obama said. “Change that makes our country and the world more secure.” Iran had been working on the deal with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany for 20 months.

Source: YouTube, The Associated Press

2. Netanyahu calls Iran deal ‘a bad mistake of historic proportions’
Before the details of the historic deal with Iran had even been made public, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on the offensive. “This is a bad mistake of historic proportions,” he said in Jerusalem on Monday, calling the agreement “a sure path to nuclear weapons.” Netanyahu has been against the deal from the beginning, condemning it as “Iran’s path to the bomb” in a March speech to Congress that the Obama administration called “destructive.”

Source: NBC News, CNBC

3. Obama commutes sentences of 46 prisoners
President Obama announced in a video Monday that he will grant clemency to 46 prisoners. “These men and women were not hardened criminals,” the president said. “But the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years,” many for “non-violent drug offenses.” “Their punishments didn’t fit the crime,” Obama said. “And if they’d been sentenced under today’s laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time.” Obama has now commuted 89 prisoners — the most since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

Source: The White House

4. New York City settles with Eric Garner’s family for $5.9 million
The family of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by police, reached a settlement with New York City for $5.9 million. The family filed a notice of claim, the first step in filing a lawsuit against the city, in October, asking for $75 million. Last July, police stopped Garner outside a Staten Island store for selling loose cigarettes. A bystander captured video of officers taking Garner down to the ground. He was heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness.

Source: The New York Times

5. Pentagon aims to lift transgender ban in the military
Pentagon leaders are expected to announce this week that they will try to lift the ban on transgender individuals in the military, senior officials told The Associated Press. Scrapping the transgender ban would end “one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service.” After this week’s announcement, there will be a six-month period for the Pentagon to assess the plan, during which transgender individuals will still not be able to join the military.

Source: The Associated Press

6. Hillary Clinton attacks GOP on income inequality
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton spoke of her goal to fight income inequality in a speech Monday in New York. As expected, she called the need to raise middle-class income “the defining economic issue of our time.” Clinton also singled out Republicans for allegedly deepening income inequality in a speech designed to lay out her would-be administration’s economic agenda. “Twice now in the past 20 years a Democratic president has had to come in and clean up the mess,” she said.

Source: The New York Times, Huffington Post

7. Boy Scouts lift gay leadership ban
Boy Scouts of America unanimously voted to end its ban on gay scout leaders, the organization announced Monday. The president of the organization, Robert Gates, had called for the ban to be lifted back in May. The new rule is effective immediately. “While this policy change is not perfect — BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults — it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement,” said Zach Wahls, the executive director of Scouts for Equality.

Source: BuzzFeed News

8. Mexico offering $3.8 million reward for ‘El Chapo’
A 60 million peso ($3.8 million) reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped from the maximum security Altiplano prison on Saturday. During a news conference, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said that Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, had to have received help escaping. Three prison officials, including the director and the national prisons director, have been let go, and 34 prison staffers are being questioned.

Source: NBC News

9. Spacecraft gets first close-up images of Pluto
NASA spacecraft New Horizons captured the first close-up pictures of Pluto on Tuesday after traveling 9.5 years and 3.3 billion miles. Scientists know little about the dwarf planet. “There’s a feeling among scientists that Pluto probably will tell us what the early solar system looked like, and it’s now locked in deep freeze and maybe it will tell us what we once were, a long time ago,” said Ed Kruzins, the director of the Australian tracking station that will first receive the images.

Source: Reuters, Popular Science

10. Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman released
Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was released at midnightTuesday. The book, written before To Kill a Mockingbird but set in later years, has already made waves due to its portrayal of Atticus Finch as a segregationist. There’s also controversy over the circumstances of the book’s discovery, and if Lee, 89, had the mental faculties to consent to its release by HarperCollins. The Guardian published chapter one online last week.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Julie Kliegman

Clinton Advisers Admit to Being Worried About Bernie Sanders’ Growing Support In Iowa

Clinton-Sanders | Politicus USA


As Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign continues to draw large crowds in Iowa, Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisers are admitting that they have a real race on their hands. One Clinton staffer admitted that Clinton’s campaign had originally underestimated Sanders. Another adviser, communications director Jennifer Palmieri, spoke candidly during an interview on “morning Joe”, admitting:

We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish.

Although Hillary Clinton remains the frontrunner in Iowa, Bernie Sanders has closed the gap from a 35-point deficit in May to a 19-point gap at the end of June. Sanders is also drawing enormous crowds at campaign events in Iowa, as well as in other parts of the country.

Sanders’ economic populist message that calls for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to pay for a bold one trillion dollar public works program for creating jobs and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, is resonating with Iowa voters.

Given that the Democratic Caucuses tend to attract the most passionate activists in the party, Sander’s poses a real threat to pull off an upset victory in Iowa. With Vermont’s next door neighbor, New Hampshire, hosting the nation’s first Democratic primary, Sanders might even be able to deliver a stunning one-two punch, carrying the first caucus state and the first primary state in rapid succession.

While many national reporters are still treating Bernie Sanders like a gadfly candidate, the Clinton campaign is wisely taking him seriously. Some national reporters may view Sanders as a Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader style also-ran. However, the Clinton staffers are concerned that Sanders could be more like the 2008 version of Barack Obama. In the 2008 election cycle, Obama scored a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in Iowa. That victory was followed by many more victories as Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in a fiercely contested race for the Democratic nomination.

While it is too early to tell whether the Sanders campaign will continue to build enough momentum to win Iowa, it is clear that his campaign needs to be taken seriously. The Clinton campaign acknowledges that Sanders is a real threat to win in Iowa. If that happens, there is no telling when and where, or even if,  his momentum will come to a halt.

Keith Brekhus