How US negotiators ensured landmark Paris climate deal was Republican-proof | US news | The Guardian


White House officials at COP 21 helped craft a deal congressional Republicans would not be able to stop – and the effort required major political capital

Source: How US negotiators ensured landmark Paris climate deal was Republican-proof | US news | The Guardian

Tech moguls shun Clinton super PAC – By GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI 11/19/15 05:15 AM EST


Priorities USA Action is simply not a priority for the Bay Area’s wealthy few who Democrats believe are necessary to fund a winning presidential effort.

SAN FRANCISCO — The main super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton’s White House bid is struggling to convince Silicon Valley’s mega donors to cut the $1 million-plus checks it says it needs to lay the groundwork for what’s expected to be the most expensive general-election fight in history.

The challenges facing Priorities USA Action, according to a dozen people closely involved in the PAC’s California efforts, are manifold: Some of these liberal Democratic tech moguls are more interested in their own self-funded political groups; others cite ideologically fueled distaste for super PACs; and more still point to residual bad blood after a messy Silicon Valley congressional race in 2014.

No matter the reason, it all adds up to one thing: Priorities is simply not a priority for the Bay Area’s wealthy few who Democrats believe are necessary to fund a winning presidential effort.

“The fear is that once the [Republicans] decide to turn the guns on, they’re not going to stop,” explained one high-ranking swing-state Democrat, warning that Priorities needs to have the big-money reserves to counter such attacks before they start. A mad rush to collect those checks would be chaotic at best, he said: “You never want to scramble”.

The pro-Clinton super PAC surprised many party insiders in June when it rushed to prove itself by pulling in eight separate $1 million checks. Coming shortly after a leadership shakeup at the organization, that mid-year financial report showed nearly $16 million in cash collected since January and included some of the party’s most generous big-money donors. (The group had raised $25 million more by mid-September.)

Source: Tech moguls shun Clinton super PAC – POLITICO

How US policies to stop terrorist financing end up hurting innocent families abroad – Vox – Updated by Dylan Matthews on November 18, 2015, 1:00 p.m. ET


A Western Union receipt. Remittances are particularly in danger from derisking. Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesOne of the most significant, but least covered, parts of the war on terror has been the Treasury Department’s effort to shut down al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups’ access to financial institutions. It’s an attractive way of tackling the problem: Freezing accounts here isn’t as expensive as sending in troops or airstrikes, and no civilians get hurt.Except the second part might not be true. A report released last week by the Center for Global Development, authored by a working group chaired by visiting fellow Clay Lowery and senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran, argues that laws meant to counteract money laundering and terrorism financing are encouraging broader “derisking,” in which Western banks cut off ties with financial institutions in the developing world so as to reduce the odds that they’ll run afoul of regulations. The result is that developing-world banks, money transfer organizations (which handle remittances), and nonprofit organizations are losing access to the financial system as a whole.That can have real human consequences. People in countries like Somalia or Nigeria who rely on remittances from relatives in rich countries like the US could see fewer transfers or higher fees. NGOs doing health programs or cash transfers could see programs scaled back due to lack of banking. Foreign investment in developing countries could decrease due to fewer big international banks dealing in those countries.

Source: How US policies to stop terrorist financing end up hurting innocent families abroad – Vox

Odessa’s Georgian Leader: The Governor – YouTube


Ukraine’s government has found a novel way of trying to deal with corruption. They’ve hired a number of foreigners to head government agencies, ministries and even an entire region, in the hopes that their status as outsiders will make them less susceptible to the temptation to award contracts to their best friends, who presumably are not in Ukraine. In the port of Odessa, Mikheil Saakashvili has been appointed governor of the city and the surrounding region. Saakashvili was once the president of Georgia, but fled the country when a new government pressed charges of corruption against him. VICE News’ Simon Ostrovsky spent a day with with the president-turned-governor to find out how he was handling his new job.

Watch “The Russians Are Coming: Georgia’s Creeping Occupation” – http://bit.ly/1kArgnK

This is why they hate us: The real American history neither Ted Cruz nor the New York Times will tell you – Salon.com


We talk democracy, then overthrow elected governments and prop up awful regimes. Let’s discuss the actual history

Source: This is why they hate us: The real American history neither Ted Cruz nor the New York Times will tell you – Salon.com

Embedded in Northern Afghanistan: The Resurgence of the Taliban – Vice News Published on Nov 6, 2015


In late September, the Taliban launched an offensive against Kunduz, a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, capturing key buildings and freeing hundreds of prisoners from the city’s jail.

American planes targeted Taliban positions, but at the beginning of October, a hospital run by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) was hit, killing 22 hospital staff and patients, with many seriously injured. The Pentagon later admitted that the strike was a mistake.

Gaining exclusive access to the Taliban, VICE News filmmaker Nagieb Khaja spoke to fighters that briefly took control of Kunduz — the first major city to fall to the group since it was ousted from power in 2001.

Watch “Robert Grenier: The VICE News Interview” – http://bit.ly/1KTO5aw