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The 8 Biggest Moments of Tuesday’s Republican Presidential Debate

Mother Jones

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The stakes in Las Vegas were high on Tuesday night, as the nine leading Republican presidential candidates met once again for the last Republican debate of 2015. The event took place at the Venetian, the hotel-casino owned by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who was sitting in the front row, and it aired on CNN. The conversation centered on terrorism in the wake of the attacks in Paris and the San Bernardino shooting—but the candidates took every opportunity to sneak in digs at their rivals on a wide range of subjects.

Though the simmering rivalry between Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio was expected to take center stage, it was just one of many disputes that broke out during the debate. Donald Trump and Jeb Bush butted heads several times: Trump attempted to dismiss Bush with a reference to his flagging campaign, while Bush tried to make the case that Trump is not a serious candidate. Rand Paul had a combative evening as well, taking the fight to Rubio over immigration and to the group as a whole over foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Chris Christie tried to cut into the bickering by pointing out that they are the outsiders who will stop bickering and get things done.

Here are the highlights—and lowlights—from the fifth Republican presidential debate.

Rubio and Cruz take their long-simmering foreign policy conflict to the stage: Egged on by moderator Wolf Blitzer, Rubio launched an attack against Cruz’s record on defense. “Three times he voted against the Defense Authorization Act, which is a bill that funds the troops,” Rubio said. “And I have to assume that if you vote against it in the Senate, you would also veto it as president.”

“You can’t carpet bomb ISIS if you don’t have planes and bombs to attack them with,” Rubio continued.

Cruz responded by tying Rubio to President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, whom he claims destabilized the Middle East and opened the region to “radical Islamic terrorists.” But Cruz also used the moment to draw a distinction with Rubio over their foreign policy approaches. “We need to focus on killing the bad guys,” he said, “not getting stuck in Middle Eastern civil wars that don’t keep America safe.”

Paul goes after Rubio on his immigration bill—by talking about terrorism: Paul used the issue of terrorism to light into Rubio for his work on a comprehensive immigration bill—a key weakness for Rubio among Republican primary voters who are wary of immigration and oppose the maligned immigration bill Rubio helped craft in 2013. “To defend the country, you have to defend the border,” Paul said.

Trump defends targeting the families of ISIS fighters: Paul laid into Trump for proposing to go after the families of ISIS fighters. “If you are going to kill the families of terrorists, realize that there’s something called the Geneva Convention we’re going to have to pull out of,” Paul said. “It would defy every norm that is America. So when you ask yourself, whoever you are, that think you’re going to support Donald Trump, think, do you believe in the Constitution? Are you going to change the Constitution?”

Trump’s response? “So they can kill us but we can’t kill them? That’s what you’re saying?”

Trump would be willing to shut down parts of the internet to keep ISIS out: In his bid to claim his spot as the most anti-ISIS candidate, Trump has suggested that he’d keep the group off the internet. How exactly, Blitzer wondered, would Trump achieve this? Was he worried about the implications for freedom of speech?

Trump wasn’t worried. “You talk freedom of speech, you talk freedom of anything you want,” Trump said. “I don’t want them using our internet.” His explanation was short on details—”I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing”—but rest assured, Trump would shut that all down. “I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our internet,” he said.

Jeb finally pounces on Trump: “Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency,” Bush said about 45 minutes into the debate, midway through a minor skirmish with Bush. The former Florida governor came into the debate clearly angling to diminish Trump’s standing as the front-runner. “This is another example of the lack of seriousness,” Bush said of Trump’s line about ISIS family members. “It’s just crazy. It makes no sense to suggest this.”

Bush had opened the night rebutting Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslim visitors from the country, saying it was not a serious proposal. “Donald is great at the one-liners,” Bush said, “but he is a chaos candidate, and he would be a chaos president.”

Trump hits back at Jeb: But Trump didn’t let Bush get the last laugh. Later in the debate, Trump steamrolled the former Florida governor. “This is a tough business, to run for president,” Bush said sternly in a back-and-forth with Trump. “Oh yeah,” Trump said sarcastically, almost rolling his eyes, “you’re a real tough guy Jeb, I know.”

“You’re never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way to the presidency,” Bush responded, perking up with life. But alas for Jeb, Trump was ready with a zinger. “I’m at 42 percent and you’re at 3,” Trump quipped. “So far I’m doing better, so far I’m doing better. You know you started off over here, Jeb”—Trump pointed next to himself at center stage—”you’re moving over further and further. Pretty soon you’re going to be off the end.”

Fiorina claims she aided government intelligence work after 9/11: “Let me tell you a story,” she said. “Soon after 9/11, I got a phone call from the NSA. They needed help. I gave them help. I stopped a truckload of equipment. I had it turned around. It was escorted by the NSA into headquarters.”

As recounted recently in a story by Yahoo News, as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina got a call from NSA chief Michael Hayden, who needed computer equipment for a secret new program. Fiorina chose to help and rerouted a shipment of computer servers headed to a retailer to the National Security Agency instead. Those servers were used in the secret, warrantless collection of data that was exposed in 2013 by Edward Snowden.

Paul calls Christie Dr. Strangelove: Christie was vehement: A no-fly zone meant no planes would be flying over Syria, even if that required attacking a Russian aircraft.

“Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate,” Paul said in response, pointing to Christie, who was standing right beside him. “Here’s the thing. My goodness, what we want in a leader is someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say, ‘Yes, I’m jumping up and down, I’m going to shoot down Russian planes.'”

Paul didn’t leave it at that, slipping in a dig against Christie for the Bridgegate controversy that’s dragged down his presidential ambitions. “When we think about someone who might want World War III, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don’t like their friends, they want to get a Democrat.”

Originally posted here – 

The 8 Biggest Moments of Tuesday’s Republican Presidential Debate

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SIM Card Manufacturer Says Its Encryption Keys Are Safe From NSA Hacking

Mother Jones

I’m passing this along without comment since I don’t have anything substantive to add. I just wanted to keep everyone up to date on the Intercept story about the NSA stealing cell phone encryption data stored on SIM chips:

Security-chip maker Gemalto NV said Wednesday that American and British intelligence services could be responsible for a “particularly sophisticated intrusion” of its networks several years ago, but denied that the alleged hack could have widely compromised encryption it builds into chips used in billions of cellphones world-wide.

….Company executives also asserted that the interceptions wouldn’t have compromised the security of its newer SIM cards for 3G and 4G cellular networks, only older 2G networks. The reason: Gemalto says the new technology no longer require it to send telecom companies the keys to decrypt individuals’ communications—so they couldn’t have been intercepted.

Hmmm. On the one hand, many of the Snowden documents are indeed fairly old, dating back to 2010 or 2011. So they could be out of date. On the other hand, the NSA didn’t necessarily have to “intercept” anything here. A sufficiently sophisticated hack could presumably have given them direct access to the Gemalto database that contains the encryption keys. And needless to say, Gemalto has a vested interest in assuring everyone that their current products are safe.

So….who knows what really happened here. We’ll likely hear more about it as Gemalto’s internal investigation continues.

Read the article: 

SIM Card Manufacturer Says Its Encryption Keys Are Safe From NSA Hacking

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The Gates Foundation’s Hypocritical Investments

Mother Jones

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With an endowment larger than all but four of the world’s largest hedge funds, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is easily one of the most powerful charities in the world. According to its website, the organization “works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.” So how do the investments of the foundation’s $36 billion investing arm, the Gates Foundation Trust, match up to its mission? We dug into the group’s recently released 2012 tax returns to find out.

The Gates Foundation did not respond to requests for comment; however, its investment policy says the the trust’s managers “consider other issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive the foundation’s work.”

In its most recent annual report to investors, private prison company GEO group listed some risks to its bottom line, including “reductions in crime rates” that “could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences,” along with immigration reform and the decriminalization of drugs. Military contractor DynCorp, meanwhile, has faced allegations of fraud, mismanagement, and even slavery from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.


The Gates Foundation’s Hypocritical Investments

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Yes, the "Brosurance" Keg Stand Obamacare Ad Is Real. Meet the Guy Who Made It.

Mother Jones

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If you are in college, don’t have health insurance, and love doing keg stands, then this ad will speak to you:


The pro-Obamacare “Brosurance” ad was posted online Tuesday morning. It’s the product of a collaboration between the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) and ProgressNow Colorado Education, the same organizations that started in 2011. The ad—a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of binge-drinking, ostensibly left-leaning “Bros for Life”—is part of the “got insurance?” campaign, which includes several other ads such as one showcasing grammatically challenged golfing frat boys.

“We were really focused on getting the word out to…young adults, families, women, and minority groups,” says Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for CCHI and one of the guys (bros?) behind the ads. “We were trying to connect with young adults, and we thought, ‘What are things that might connect with college-age folks?'”

The “Bros for Life” in the ad aren’t from a stock photo—they’re friends with CCHI staff members and had recently graduated from college. “They had time on their hands, and decided to come do some poses and help us create some content,” Fox says. (Fox himself graduated from Pacific University in 2007.)

CCHI and ProgressNow plan on rolling out more content over the next couple of weeks, including more images. As companion pieces to the “Brosurance” ad, check out Jonathan Chait’s piece asking whether Obamacare is in fact a “War on Bros,” and Sarah Kliff’s post on “what bros need to know about Obamacare.”

h/t Igor Volsky

Originally posted here:  

Yes, the "Brosurance" Keg Stand Obamacare Ad Is Real. Meet the Guy Who Made It.

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A One-Word Review of Disney’s "Planes"

Mother Jones

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Continue at source – 

A One-Word Review of Disney’s "Planes"

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How to Counteract Cellphone Radiation


How to Counteract Cellphone Radiation

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Chart of the Day: For a Girl, Janet Yellen is Pretty Good With Numbers

Mother Jones

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Compare and contrast. Here is the Wall Street Journal editorial page today:

As an economist with long experience at the Fed, she doesn’t lack for professional credentials. But her cause has been taken up by the liberal diversity police as a gender issue because she’d be the first female Fed chairman….That led our friends at the New York Sun to wonder if they had somehow missed the creation of “the female dollar” given that they thought the Fed’s main task is to preserve the value of the currency.

Golly. According to the Journal’s editorial board, it would be little more than pure gender pandering if Yellen were somehow chosen to lead the Fed. Let’s see what the Journal’s actual reporters have to say about that:

Predicting the direction of the U.S. economy with precision is impossible. But the Fed must forecast growth, inflation and unemployment to guide its decisions on interest rates….The Wall Street Journal examined more than 700 predictions made between 2009 and 2012 in speeches and congressional testimony by 14 Fed policy makers—and scored the predictions on growth, jobs and inflation. The most accurate forecasts overall came from Ms. Yellen, now the Fed’s vice chair.

The Fed can’t do its job unless it has a clear view of what direction the economy is heading, and Yellen has the best track record on that score—better than the current chair, Ben Bernanke, as the chart below shows, and way better than the hard-money cranks the Journal seems to like so much. She’s also enormously well qualified on practically every other measure. The fact that the smarmy frat boys at the Sun and Journal editorial pages are in such a lather over the fact that breaking the glass ceiling at the Fed is also a point in her favor tells you everything you need to know about how they view the world.

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Chart of the Day: For a Girl, Janet Yellen is Pretty Good With Numbers

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Breaking: Filibuster Lives to See Another Day

Mother Jones

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From the Washington Post:

Senators have reached a tentative deal on averting the constitutional showdown over confirming President Obama’s agency nominations. “We may have a way forward on this, I feel fairly confident,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday morning. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) signaled enough Republicans would support breaking a filibuster on the first test vote on the showdown, for Obama’s pick to lead the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. “I think everyone will be happy,” Reid said. The deal would not be finalized until later Tuesday afternoon.

Too bad. I’m sure that President Obama just wanted his nominees confirmed, but I wanted to see a crack in the filibuster dam. Now we won’t get it.

UPDATE: It’s official now. Dave Weigel describes the final deal here.

More here:  

Breaking: Filibuster Lives to See Another Day

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How To Find And Hire A Good Solar Panel Contractor In Our Economy

You want to increase your business. And you want someone who can help you do just that. You need a creative thinker who can bring customers to your door while lifting some of the burden off of you. You might be able to find someone who does it all if you hire a good solar panel installation contractor who you can trust with the direction of your business.

Demand for recommendations and ensure that they have encouraging remarks to share about the solar panel installation contractor. Let them give the strengths and weaknesses of the project. Inquire the contractors prioritize and maintain them. Inspect the site to ensure that aesthetic standards are meeting plus the site is clean.

A solar panel installation contractor should be experienced in working on projects like yours. Have them talk about past experiences they’ve had working on that type of project. Always discuss what their main priorities are when it comes to working and ave them create a contract ensuring they don’t stray from their plan.

Also look if the solar panel installation contractor is already busy in any work. As it may delay the working of your project, if the contractor’s is giving divided attention. Any work may not compromise working on your project as you are paying fully for it.

Get to know the expected completion dates in advance and ask them what steps they would take if there are any delays in the project. Get them to sign an agreement in writing so that you are not caught unawares later on.

You do not need to pay extra tax for solar panel installation contractors whom you hire. They will pay taxes and you will need to supply them with a 1099 tax form to show the income earned from completing your project.

In many states a solar panel installation contractor is usually required to offer up a limited time warranty on their work. If you’ve come across a contractor charging extra for the warranty then they might be running a scam. Check your state’s laws before agreeing to the extra charge.

Your agreement must ask for material and labor expenditures. Ask solar panel installation contractor about what kind of project he/she would like to do and match it with yours. Collect a list of references and contact them for checking their reputation.

Searching for a solar panel installation contractor sounds exhausting and tiring process, and it really is. Sometimes you get confused from where to start your journey and whom you can trust. It is considered wise if you negotiate with your colleagues and ask them about the contractors they know. You can also consult Police as it deals with improvement site burglary and occupational mishaps on an usual basis, so they can enlighten you with their knowledge too.

If you are looking for additional ideas created by experts, please open your best browser and type in solar panels. You’ll discover some useful solutions related to solar power.

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EPA tells Ohio to stop keeping fracking secrets from first responders

EPA tells Ohio to stop keeping fracking secrets from first responders


He needs to know.

Ohio firefighters, cops, and local officials might soon learn a little bit more about the poisons that frackers are storing and injecting into the ground beneath their feet.

The U.S. EPA told the state that a 12-year-old Ohio law that lets the fracking industry conceal information from emergency-management officials and first responders violates federal law. From The Columbus Dispatch:

The state law, passed in 2001, requires that drilling companies share information about hazardous chemicals only with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which is supposed to keep the information available for local officials.

But federal EPA officials take a different view. A letter mailed in May to state emergency officials and environmental activist Teresa Mills states that the Right-to-Know Act of 1986 supersedes the Ohio law.

The Right-to-Know Act requires companies to share a hazardous-chemical inventory with local officials.

Mills, an Ohio organizer with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, demanded yesterday that the state revoke its law. Mills said local officials need to know which chemicals are used in fracking wells in case they have to respond to a fire, spill or other emergency.

Green groups have pointed to a January spill at an oil well in St. Marys, Ohio, as an example of the problem, the AP reports: “They said that when concentrated chemical odors were detected at the facility, local emergency responders were unable to access required chemical data that was supposed to be on file.”

State officials told the Dispatch that they were still reviewing the EPA’s letter and weren’t ready to comment on next steps, other than to say they would contact gas and oil companies “to make sure everyone is in compliance with their reporting obligations under state and federal law.”

The fracking industry disputed the claim that federal law is being violated. One of its representatives ridiculed the importance of the national rules to firefighters. From the article:

[Ohio Oil and Gas Association Vice President Tom Stewart said] fire departments can access a Natural Resources website that is supposed to contain information on fracking chemicals.

“(Before 2001), everyone was filing these paper reports on individual wells. They were storing them in boxes in firehouses,” Stewart said. “Is a firefighter supposed to rummage around in a box or go to an emergency?”

We’re pretty sure that’s not how it works, but there you go.

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:

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EPA tells Ohio to stop keeping fracking secrets from first responders

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