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
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.)
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.
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
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
In July 2015, Russia-backed forces moved the boundary fence between Russian-occupied South Ossetia and Georgia — placing more Georgian territory under Russian control. Georgians refer to this as the creeping occupation, and several people who unfortunately live in the area now have a different citizenship.
VICE News travels to Georgia to see how the country is handling Russia’s quiet invasion, and meet those getting caught in the crossfire.
Watch “The Russians Are Coming: NATO’s Frontier” – http://bit.ly/1O5ruzt
The Obama Administration on Friday announced the deployment of up to 50 Special Forces troops to Syria to advise on a new military campaign against ISIS. This is the first sustained U.S. ground presence in the country.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. is sending special-operations forces to northeastern Syria, a shift in strategy that establishes the first sustained American military presence in the campaign against Islamic State in the war-ravaged country.
Up to 50 U.S. special-operations troops will assist Syrian rebel units spearheading what the Pentagon says would be a new military offensive against the militant group, marking a sharp escalation in the level of direct U.S. involvement on the ground inside Syria. The American forces are to link up with local forces in Kurdish-controlled territory whose mission will be to choke off supply lines to Islamic State militants in their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
The move marks a change for President Barrack Obama who had long promised not to send ground forces to Syria.
“They are not being deployed with a combat mission,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “The mission of our men and women on the ground has not changed.”
If the initial deployment bears fruit, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday that he would be open to deploying more forces.
“We are going to continue to innovate, to build on what works,” Mr. Carter told reporters on a military jet as it landed in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the first leg of a trip through Asia. “Our role fundamentally and the strategy is to enable local forces. But does that put U.S. forces in harm’s way? It does, no question about it.”