Rick Perry

Report: Fox Debate Rules “Generating Controversy” Among Network’s Staffers

Ailes

Roger Ailes | Fox News

MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA

New York magazine reports that Fox News’ rules for the upcoming Republican presidential debate are generating considerable controversy among staffers at the network.

Fox News has previously announced that the top 10 performers in national polls will qualify for the first debate, but the network has yet to provide clarity on which polls will be included in its tally.

Fox has described their debate as the “Cleveland Primary.” Supporters of candidates near the cutoff have been buying ad time on the network to reportedly increase their likelihood of qualifying for the debate.

Gabriel Sherman writes in New York that “inside Fox, the debate is generating controversy among Ailes’s senior ranks. “A Fox personality told the reporter that there is “total confusion” about the debate process, and accused Ailes and other executives of “making it up as they go along.” Another personality described it as “crazy stuff” where “you have a TV executive deciding who is in — and out — of a debate.”

According to Sherman, advisers for Gov. John Kasich and Gov. Rick Perry “have taken to lobbying Ailes and Fox executives to use polls that put their guy over the line.” A source close to the Perry campaign said that “GOP fund-raiser and Ailes friend Georgette Mosbacher recently called Ailes” on his behalf. Sherman notes that “Ailes is certainly hoping to produce the best television, which would give the unpredictable Perry the advantage.”

In recent days, Perry has been attacking current front-runner Donald Trump, who has benefited from Fox News promoting him. On-air personalities like Eric Bolling have reportedly been instructed by Ailes to defend the reality TV star despite the misgivings of network owner Rupert Murdoch.

A Kasich adviser told Sherman, “We don’t know what methodology they’re going to use. We’ve been asking the question and they haven’t shared.”

A “Fox insider” told him that “Roger likes Kasich,” who used to host a show on the network, and “knows it’ll look awful if the sitting governor isn’t on that stage.”

OLIVER WILLIS

Donald Trump feuds with Rick Perry, calls him dumb

Donald Trump gestures at a press briefing where he introduced people whose families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where some shared their stories of the loss of a loved one. The US business magnate Trump, who is running for President in the 2016 presidential elections, angered members of the Latino community with recent comments but says he will win the Latino vote. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN

(Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pot…meet Kettle.

POLITICO

Donald Trump has jumped back into the ring — this time for an all-out brawl with fellow Republican presidential contender Rick Perry.

Trump started the feud with multiple comments in recent weeks bashing Perry’s work securing the border while serving as governor of Texas.

After several measured defenses of his border policies, on Thursday Perry finally fired back with a more aggressive statement, saying, “What Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism — a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.”

“Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his fundamental misunderstanding of border security,” said Perry.

Trump tweeted back: “.@GovernorPerry just gave a pollster quote on me. He doesn’t understand what the word demagoguery means.”

”.@GovernorPerry failed on the border. He should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate,” Trump added, reiterating a trope about the Texas Republican that surfaced after numerous fumbles during the primary 2012 campaign.

The Republican-on-Republican smackdown was Trump’s second of the day.

On Thursday morning, the New Yorker published an interview with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said that Trump had “fired up the crazies” in the Republican party.

Trump responded by tweeting that McCain “should be defeated in the primaries.”

“Graduated last in his class at Annapolis — dummy!” Trump added.

10 things you need to know today: June 4, 2015

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

THE WEEK

1.Former FIFA officials describe corruption

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, already charged in the corruption scandal engulfing soccer’s global governing body, said Wednesday he would reveal an “avalanche” of secrets implicating the organization’s longtime president, Sepp Blatter, and others. Blatter denies any involvement but resigned this week, days after his reelection. Also on Wednesday, a 2013 plea hearing transcript was released in which FIFA whistleblower Chuck Blazer said he and others accepted bribes to vote for South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup. [NBC News, The Sydney Morning Herald]

2.Three days of ceremonies begin to honor the late Beau Biden

Public ceremonies to honor Beau Biden, Delaware’s former attorney general and the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, will begin on Thursday. The body of the younger Biden, who died of brain cancer Saturday at age 46, first will lie in honor in the state Capitol. There will be a viewing at St. Anthony of Padua church in Wilmington on Friday, then a Saturday funeral Mass. President Obama will deliver a eulogy. Beau Biden had planned to run for governor in 2016. [The Associated Press]

3.Boston say man fatally shot by officers planned to behead police

A Boston man slain by law enforcement officers was involved in a plot to behead police officers, FBI agents said Wednesday. The man, Usaama Rahim, 26, allegedly had told a man identified as his nephew, David Wright, in a wiretapped conversation that he planned to “go after them, those boys in blue.” Rahim, who was under 24-hour surveillance by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, was shot and killed by a Boston police officer he allegedly attacked with a military-style knife. His nephew, David Wright, was arrested the day Rahim was killed. [Reuters]

4.Lincoln Chafee launches campaign for Democratic presidential nomination

Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee officially announced Wednesday that he will run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Chafee, a former Republican, made the announcement during a foreign policy speech at George Mason University. He joins a relatively narrow Democratic field, which includes frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley. Chafee’s early focus is attacking Hillary Clinton’s record as secretary of state.  [The Guardian, The New York Times]

5.Rick Perry joins GOP 2016 presidential race

Former Gov. Rick Perry is making an announcement outside Dallas on Thursday, and if you had any doubts about whether he’s joining the increasingly crowded 2016 Republican presidential field, the answer is yes, according to his official campaign website, which went live Thursday morning. The site touts Perry’s “tested leadership” and “proven results” on jobs, especially. This will be Perry’s second run for the White House, and he will be the 10th official GOP candidate in the race. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is slated to become the 11th when he launches his own presidential campaign on June 15. [USA Today, Reuters]

6.North Carolina legislature approves 72-hour abortion waiting period

North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill calling for a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can get an abortion. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said he planned to sign the bill, which also adds other new rules for doctors and clinics that perform abortions. Three other states — Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah — also have three-day waiting periods. Oklahoma has one taking effect in November. [The Associated Press]

7.Texas executes its oldest death-row prisoner

Texas on Wednesday executed Lester Bower, 67, who had spent 30 years on death row. He was convicted in 1983 of fatally shooting a man while attempting to steal an ultralight plane the man was trying to sell, then killing another three people who unexpectedly arrived at the airplane hangar. Bower was the 15th person executed in the U.S. this year, and the oldest prisoner on death row in Texas. His lawyers argued that the evidence used to convict him was circumstantial. [The Washington Post]

8.Billionaire gives Harvard its biggest gift ever

Hedge fund billionaire John Paulson is giving Harvard University $400 million, the largest gift in the Ivy League university’s history. Paulson pledged the money to Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which will be renamed in his honor. Paulson graduated from the Harvard Business School in 1980. Critics chided him for giving so much money to a wealthy school instead of the poor, but he said the gift would help the engineering school’s new campus become the “next major center of innovation.” [Harvard Crimson, The New York Times]

9.Duggars say son’s molestation confession made them feel like “failures”

Michelle Duggar told Fox News in an interview that aired Wednesday that she and her husband, Jim Bob, “felt like failures” as parents when they learned more than a decade ago that their son Josh — now 27 — had molested five young girls as a teenager. Four of the victims were his younger sisters. The Duggars, stars of the TLC reality series 19 Kids & Counting, said they got Josh counseling and had him talk to police. “We did the best we could under the circumstances,” Jim Bob Duggar said. [E! Online, The New York Times]

10.Cavaliers and Warriors head into first game of NBA Finals

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors meet Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Golden State, led by league MVP Stephen Curry, enters the series as narrow favorites. Many analysts, however, think the Cavaliers will hard to beat if their superstar, LeBron James, delivers a dominant performance like the ones that earned him NBA Finals MVP honors when he helped the Miami Heat win titles in 2012 and 2013. The Warriors will host the first two games.   [NESN]

Harold Maass

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Seek GOP Nomination in 2016

Rick Perry: Homosexuality is like alcoholism

Texas Gov. Rick Perry | Photo: AP

NBC NEWS

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced on Thursday that he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

Perry’s official site unveiled a Perry for President logo Thursday morning. He will make a formal announcement Thursday afternoon in the Dallas, Texas area.

Perry has aggressively campaigned in early primary states in the months leading up to his announcement, emphasizing his credentials as a military veteran and the leader of a state that posted impressive job creation numbers during his tenure as governor.

It will be Perry’s second attempt at a presidential run. He entered the race with great fanfare in 2012 but was plagued by a series of gaffes and dropped out before the South Carolina primary.

Most memorably, during a CNBC primary debate, he forgot the third of three federal agencies that he pledged to abolish, punctuating the moment with an awkward “oops.”

Backers say Perry is more prepared for a run this time and has brushed up on issues such as foreign policy. He was also plagued in 2012 by a back injury that he has said contributed to his failed campaign.

CARRIE DANN

Pity The Poor Multi-Millionaires And Their Waning Political Influence

MILLIONAIRE DONORS DONT COUNT ANYMORE

The Huffington Post

It probably will come as no surprise to any of you to hear the news that most of you are not making it in America. And one way in which the semi-permanent nature of our not-making-it status has deftly revealed itself is the clear alteration to our political system: It no longer really resembles a citizen-driven democracy, but rather a weird oligarchy in which the would-be leaders of the free world have to schlep around, kissing the rings of dotty billionaires, in the hopes that their favor will propel them forward in their political careers.

Of course, for most Americans, clawing their way down the eroding path of middle-class respectability, there isn’t a whole lot of time to pause and stage an aria of self-pitying lamentation. But there is one class of people that apparently do have the luxury of having the time to whine: the not-quite super-rich.

Yes, apparently the political fortunes of the merely astonishingly affluent have taken a nose dive of late, drawing the bottom nine-tenths of the top 1 percent into Thomas Piketty’s “r > g” argybargy along with the rest of us. That is, at least from their perspective. They are deeply sad about their diminished political influence, and they are granting interviews to the commoners. Take for example, Terry Neese, a one-time pretty-big-wheel down on the Bush family Ranger ranch, who now tells The Washington Post that she’s feeling as if her wealth, no longer able to quite stagger the imagination, doesn’t count for much anymore:

At this point in the 2012 presidential race, Terry Neese was in hot demand.

“Gosh, I was hearing from everyone and meeting with everyone,” said Neese, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur and former “Ranger” for President George W. Bush who raised more than $1 million for his reelection.

This year, no potential White House contender has called — not even Bush’s brother, Jeb. As of early Wednesday, the only contacts she had received were e-mails from staffers for two other likely candidates; both went to her spam folder.

Yes, the indignity of downmarket candidates reaching out through staffers, it is not to be endured. Neese, like many former in-demand toffs, has now become the poor, soot-stained matchgirl, face pressed to the window, looking on as the party to which she was once an invitee now gaily spins without her. And that is not hyperbole. As The Washington Post’s Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger explain, at the recent RNC retreat in Boca Raton, would-be presidential candidates passed on flattering the merely very wealthy gathered in attendance, making for the event’s version of the VIP room instead:

A number of White House contenders in attendance — including former Texas governor Rick Perry and Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.), Chris Christie (N.J.) and Bobby Jindal (La.) — devoted much of their time to private meetings with high rollers, according to people familiar with their schedules. Bush came to Boca Raton after an afternoon super-PAC fundraiser in Miami.

Then on Sunday, the governors made a pilgrimage to Palm Beach for a private Republican Governors Association fundraiser hosted by billionaire industrialist David Koch at his 30,000-square-foot beachfront mansion.

Welcome to class envy, you guys! Don’t say you weren’t warned. As Annie Lowrey noted in The New York Times last September, recent studies had indicated that while the “total income of the top 1 percent surged nearly 20 percent” in 2012 (as compared to the 1 percent growth experienced by the bottom 99 percent), the incomes of “the very richest, the 0.01 percent, shot up more than 32 percent.” And over at Demos,Joseph Hines elaborated further:

That’s just 16,000 Americans that make over ten million dollars a year. And their dominance is strengthening: the share of income controlled by that tiny group of people jumped over a percentage point from 3.7 percent in 2011 to 4.8 percent in 2012. This is the donor class, the same group of people that donate to political campaigns and determine the structure of the market they have so clearly mastered.

As this new, super-exclusive donor class deepens their connection to the policy-making apparatus, their capacity to consolidate their wealth and influence will no doubt continue, in a pattern of rent-seeking and favor-trading designed to ensure high returns on their capital without having to take any of those knotty “risks” that we used to consider a vital ingredient to productive capitalism.

And as this progresses, more and more of the new over/underclass will start to feel like the heroine of this Washington Post story: “Most of the people I talk to are kind of rolling their eyes and saying, ‘You know, we just don’t count anymore,’” says the once influential Neese.

In other news, a number of people in the East Village of Manhattan, paying rents that are prohibitively high for working-class New Yorkers, had their homes explode yesterday.

Rick Perry thinks Abe Lincoln was a closet secessionist

America Blog

In footage released by American Bridge last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry, addressing the Strafford County, New Hampshire GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner, said with a straight face that Abraham Lincoln was, in fact, a hard-line “states’ rights” advocate:

Abraham Lincoln read the Constitution, and he also read the Bill of Rights, and he got down to the Tenth Amendment, and he liked it. That Tenth Amendment that talks about these states, these laboratories of democracy… The Tenth Amendment that the federal government is limited, its powers are limited by the Constitution.

Here’s the video:

As noted by historian Josh Zeitz, writing in POLITICO, this is absurd.

Setting aside Lincoln’s vast expansions of federal power related to the Civil War, which was itself launched over the South’s concern that Lincoln and his big, bad federal government would mess with Southern states’ abilities to hold slaves, Honest Abe expanded federal authorities unrelated to the war effort:

Lincoln signed into law landmark bills opening federal land to homesteaders and funding the construction of a cross-continental railroad and federal land-grant universities. Historians disagree whether the Civil War era catalyzed the emergence of the modern state, but few disagree that Lincoln broadly (if perhaps temporarily) expanded the purview of Washington, D.C.

So we can file Governor Perry’s Lincoln appropriation under Just Because You Have New Glasses Doesn’t Mean You’re Smart.

rick perry brokeback

Rick Perry sporting his Brokeback Mountain jacket during the 2012 campaign.

But going beyond that, it doesn’t take a political historian to tell you that it’s absurd for members of either party to idolize leaders who shared the same affiliation before the Great Depression. That’s when the party realignment — the realignment that’s only now coming to completion  — began. Democrats and Republicans from before that time period bear almost no ideological resemblance to their modern-day counterparts. So, as Zeitz point out, it doesn’t make any sense to speculate as to where Abraham Lincoln would come down on modern-day issues like immigration or health insurance reform, but it makes even less sense to claim that he would have a home in today’s Republican Party.

And yet, dinners in honor of our partisan forefathers are a time-honored tradition on both sides of the aisle. Republicans have their Lincoln Dinners, and local Democratic chapters across the country bring in some of their biggest fundraising hauls at their respective Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners.

Both parties have good presidents who bore their affiliation, and those parties have a vested interest in cashing in on those presidents’ good names, despite those presidents bearing little ideological resemblance to the modern-day versions of their parties.

So politicians like Perry, who speak at these dinners every year, may feel pressure to tie themselves to the events’ namesakes, but that only produces ham-handed history revisions like the one we saw from Perry last week. After all, whatever Perry says about Lincoln and the Tenth Amendment, we know exactly how our 16th president felt about Southern politicians justifying their place on the wrong side of history by attempting to litigate their state’s right to discriminate.

Hopefully, Rick Perry pushes up his glasses and puts his nose in a book before spouting off about American history again, but I won’t hold my breath.

Republicans Deploy The Buffoon Squad Of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin To Save Kansas For The GOP

Half-term former Gov of Alaska: Sarah Palin and Tx. Gov. Rick Perry | no attribution

The title says it all…

Politicus USA

Yeah, this will help. With Republicans losing both the governor and Senate races in Kansas, the GOP is deploying the dream duo of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin to the state to help their sinking candidates.

According to The New York Times, hillbilly brawler Sarah Palin is heading to Kansas to help sinking Senate incumbent Pat Roberts, “Roberts is flying in a motley crew of GOP surrogates — including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush — to stir suspicions about Orman and convince voters that a GOP majority hinges on Roberts’s reelection.”

Meanwhile, the flatlining gubernatorial campaign of Gov. Sam Brownback is looking for a boost from indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be in Wichita on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. rally at the Republican Party headquarters followed by two private receptions for donors.”

The only way this would make sense is if Republicans thought that the problem with Kansas was that it wasn’t conservative enough. But the very reason Republicans find themselves in jeopardy of losing Pat Roberts’ Senate seat to an Independent is precisely because Governor Brownback purged moderate Republicans from the state legislature 2012.

Those moderates want their state back. They are siding with the moderate/sane people. They are against extremists. Clearly this rules out secessionist cheering Rick Perry and Sarah Palin. Sending Perry and Palin into Kansas as fixers is the equivalence of a white flag surrender.

Yes, Perry and Palin can whip up some frothing hatred, misunderstanding of government and a dazzling ability to con voters into ignoring their own self interest, but Perry and Palin are political failures as politicians. Perry has been indicted and Palin had to quit her “job” as governor after blatantly lying about being found guilty of abusing her power on the trail.

Hate President Obama and think he should be impeached for daring to act as President even though he was elected in a landslide? Perry and Palin are your peeps. Too ignorant to understand just how ignorant these two are? Perfect GOP voter. Need to save your party due to the influence of Republicans like Perry and Palin? Don’t send Perry and Palin to fix that.

Only in the Republican Party could being one of the least popular politicians and being indicted be a bonus. If this sentence is not enough to give Republicans pause, they are never going to fix their national branding issues.

Psst, GOP: When the best solution to your problem — any problem — is Rick Perry or Sarah Palin, you have bigger problems than you know.

Texas Governor Perry’s lawyers invoke Louis XIV to dismiss charges

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race, waits to speak at a ''NH GOP Victory Rally'' in Stratham, New Hampshire August 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race, waits to speak at a ”NH GOP Victory Rally” in Stratham, New Hampshire August 23, 2014 |CREDIT: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER

At first glance I thought the headline was from an Onion article…

Reuters

Lawyers for Rick Perry invoked a former Roman emperor and 17th-century French King Louis XIV in a motion filed on Monday seeking to dismiss abuse-of-power felony charges leveled against the Texas governor.

It was the second motion seeking to dismiss the charges against Perry, a potential candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential race, who has tried to rally support by saying he is the victim of a partisan, politicized prosecution.

The new motion argues that Perry was operating within his rights in vetoing money for a public integrity unit in the prosecutor’s office in Travis County, a Democratic stronghold in the heavily Republican state.

Rebutting the lawsuit’s contention that Perry had overstepped his authority by vetoing the funds, his lawyers argued that he was operating within the constraints on his office imposed by the state constitution.

“A Texas Governor is not Augustus traversing his realm with a portable mint and an imperial treasure in tow; he no more has custody or possession of the State’s general revenue funds than does any Texan. No governor can say of his or her state what the Sun King said of France: “L’etat c’est moi,” it said.

Perry, 64, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, became the target of an ethics investigation last year after he vetoed $7.5 million in funding for the state public integrity unit run from the Travis County district attorney’s office.

His veto was widely viewed as intended to force the ouster of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she had pleaded guilty to drunken driving and remained in office.

Since being indicted last month, Perry has traveled to crucial presidential primary states to rally support for a possible campaign. After flaming out in a gaffe-prone 2012 presidential bid, Perry has ranked near the bottom in surveys of Republican voters among possible candidates in 2016.

10 things you need to know today: August 17, 2014

A man throws a gas cannister back at police in Ferguson, Mo.

A man throws a gas cannister back at police in Ferguson, Mo. Joe Raedie / Getty Images

The Week

Unrest returns to Ferguson, pro-Russian rebels down a Ukrainian jet, and more.

1. One shot, seven arrested in Ferguson, Mo.
One man was left in critical condition Sunday after being shot in Ferguson, Missouri, as protests continued over the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In addition, seven people were arrested for failing to comply with a new midnight-to-five a.m. curfew intended to quell the unrest that has percolated since an officer shot to death Brown last Saturday. After a brief period of relative calm settled in following a few days of clashes between police and protesters, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency, and police late Saturday again fired waves of tear gas and smoke canisters to clear the streets. [Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal]

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2. Pro-Russian rebels shoot down Ukrainian fighter jet
Separatist forces on Sunday downed a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet as clashes continued in a rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine. The plane was carrying out a mission against the entrenched pro-Russian rebels when it was shot down, according to Kiev. Also Sunday, Ukraine said it made significant progress toward reclaiming control of Luhansk, an eastern city that has for weeks been under rebel control. [AFP, Associated Press]

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3. Germany spied on John Kerry, Hillary Clinton
Germany’s intelligence agency eavesdropped on Secretary of State John Kerry’s and his predecessor, Hillary Clinton’s, private phone calls, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. The agency allegedly collected conversations in 2012 and 2013, but did so “accidentally” while snooping for terror suspects. The revelation could further strain relations between Germany and the U.S. that have already been tested amid allegations that Washington spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [Associated Press]

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4. Montana Democrats pick new Senate nominee
In the wake of a plagiarism scandal that upended the Montana Senate race, Democrats on Saturday nominated state lawmaker Amanda Curtis as their new nominee. The little-known 34-year-old replaces incumbent Sen. John Walsh, who ended his campaign after The New York Times revealed he’d widely plagiarized material for a college paper. Republicans were already heavily favored to win the seat before Walsh’s scandal, and the race now seems like a surefire GOP pickup. [The New York Times]

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5. Rick Perry rejects indictment as ‘outrageous’
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Saturday shrugged off the criminal charges filed against him for alleged abuse of power, calling the claims “outrageous.” A grand jury on Friday indicted Perry — the outgoing governor and potential 2016 candidate — for making good on a threat to veto funding for a state oversight agency following a district attorney’s arrest for drunk driving. “We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country,” Perry said. [Associated Press]

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6. One dead, dozens found hidden in shipping container
Authorities found 35 people, one of them dead, trapped inside a shipping container that arrived in England on Saturday. Police said the immigrants are suspected to have come from the Indian subcontinent, and that the lone death is being investigated as a homicide. Workers unloading the ship found the trapped people when they heard “screaming and banging” coming from inside the container. [BBC, The Guardian]

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7. Liberia establishes ‘plague villages’ to contain Ebola
Faced with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, Liberia has closed off some villages believed to be at the center of the crisis, drawing comparisons to medieval “plague villages.” To contain the outbreak, the country has imposed medical roadblocks and deployed troops to keep infected people from fleeing and coming into contact with uninfected areas. As of Friday, the death toll from the outbreak had risen to 1,145, according to the World Health Organization. [Reuters]

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8. 15 missing after Indonesian tourist boat sinks
An Indonesian boat carrying a small group of tourists sank Saturday, leaving 15 people missing. Amid bad weather, the boat reportedly struck a reef shortly after midnight. Ten people were pulled from the water Saturday, according to rescue workers, and at least four boats were searching for the remaining passengers and crew. [Associated Press, BBC]

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9. Dozens overdose on synthetic marijuana in New Hampshire
At least 44 people in New Hampshire have accidentally overdosed on synthetic marijuana in the past week, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency. Twenty victims have been hospitalized though no one has died after ingesting the pseudo-pot, which is cleverly — and legally — sold as “incense.” By declaring a state of emergency, New Hampshire authorities were able to quarantine the alleged culprit: The “Bubblegum Flavor” of “Smacked!” [Boston Globe, New York Daily News]

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10. 99-year-old claims to set sprint record
A 99-year-old great-great-grandmother last week clocked what she believes is the fastest ever 100-meter time for anyone her age. Ida Keeling ran the race in 59.8 seconds at the Gay Games in Akron, Ohio, last week, with her daughter hailing it as the fastest time for a near-centenarian in an internationally-certified event. “I’m running from old age and arthritis,” Keeling joked. [Akron Beacon Journal, The Independent]

Conservative military charity faces serious allegations

Nidal Malik Hasan

Soldiers from Fort Hood march during the annual Veterans Day parade outside of Fort Hood in downtown Killeen, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. Paul Sakuma/AP

Rachel Maddow

A Tea Party charity called “Move America Forward” is facing serious allegations of fraud — suggesting it may not be what it appears to be.  Complicating matters, the group has benefited from testimonials from Dick Cheney, Rick Perry, Rush Limbaugh and other high-profile Republicans.

Any time a charity is accused of fraud, it’s alarming, but especially during a war, there’s something even more outrageous about dubious charities that claim to be helping veterans and active-duty military personnel.
Last year, for example, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll, was forced to abruptly resign over her connections to something called Allied Veterans of the World. The Florida-based non-profit was accused of trying to “defraud the public and governmental agencies by misrepresenting how much of its proceeds were donated to charities affiliated with Veterans Administration.”
This year, a Tea Party affiliated group called Move America Forward, is facing allegations every bit as serious. Kim Barker’s piece in The Daily Beast raises serious questions the charity will have to answer quickly.
Move America Forward calls itself the nation’s “largest grassroots pro-troop organization,” and has recruited a bevy of Republican luminaries, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, to support its efforts.
Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.
Barker’s report raises allegations that, if true, may point to illegalities, including the possible use the charity’s funds to subsidize conservative political action committees.
The driving force behind Move America Forward is Sal Russo, 67, the longtime political consultant who is listed on the 10-year-old charity’s tax returns as chief strategist.
Russo is better known for helping to form the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, also known as the Tea Party Express, one of the largest Tea Party groups in the country.  Consultants from his Sacramento-based firm, Russo, Marsh and Associates, also set up two other PACs, the Move America Forward Freedom PAC and the Conservative Campaign Committee, to aid conservative causes and candidates.
According to its tax returns, Move America Forward paid out more than $2.3 million – about 30% of the group’s overall expenditures – to Russo or his firm.
Barker talked to a former Tea Party Express consultant who said, “It was just so shady. With PACs, I know it’s dirty money – it’s politics. But this is a charity that’s supposed to be helping the troops.”
It’s not clear who, if anyone, is handling the day-to-day management of this charity. The organization’s former executive director left in 2012 “and does not seem to have been replaced.”
The same report goes on to detail instances in which Move America Forward falsely claimed to deliver care packages to troops, used photos in fundraising and promotional materials that belonged to other organizations, and even boasted to donors about a partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that never existed.
And yet, despite all of this, Dave Weigel notes that Move America Forward benefited from testimonials from Dick Cheney, Rick Perry, Rush Limbaugh and other high-profile Republicans.
Obviously, the charges raised in this investigatory piece remain in the realm of unproven allegations. But given the evidence and seriousness of the potential wrongdoing, it’s easy to imagine law enforcement taking a keen interest in Move America Forward’s records, bank accounts, and activities.
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