VICE News Wants To Hear From You About Climate Change – Vice News Published on Nov 13, 2015

Ninety-seven percent of qualified scientists say that the earth is getting hotter and human activity is to blame. Data shows that the global mean temperature is now 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. If humanity continues this course, we can expect more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, rising seas, and an unprecedented impact on humanity.

World leaders will be meeting in Paris later this month to try to come up with a international climate agreement. While the overwhelming majority of the world’s economies have laid out plans to cut their carbon emissions, they’re still short of the goal the United Nations has set for holding the line on global warming.

Ahead of the conference, VICE News wants to hear your thoughts on climate change.
-What do you think should be done to address climate change?
-What changes can individuals make to make a difference? How do you think individual actions can make a difference?
-What message do you want to send to world leaders?

Send us a Skype video message with your thoughts. Here’s how:

Marco Rubio Is the Nominee in Waiting – By William Saletan NOV. 11 2015 3:18 PM

Marco Rubio turns to face opponent Jeb Bush during the Republican primary debate in Milwaukee on Nov. 10, 2015. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Marco Rubio turns to face opponent Jeb Bush during the Republican primary debate in Milwaukee on Nov. 10, 2015.
Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

It’s good to be Marco Rubio. You’re young, smart, and good-looking. In a party that needs credibility with Hispanic voters, you’re Cuban American. You’re a great talker. You’re a rising star in a party that’s eating its elders. Insurgents admire you, yet the GOP establishment trusts you. Republicans are looking for a new leader, and you seem to be it.

Tuesday night’s GOP debate showed how everything is opening up for Rubio. He’s good, and he’s lucky. He didn’t dominate the conversation, but the dynamics worked in his favor. To begin with, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got bumped off the stage. Christie isn’t a threat to Rubio, but he’s a terrific debater. With Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee banished to the undercard event, the visible field of candidates narrowed to eight.

Jeb Bush, who once again needed to stand out, didn’t. On stage after stage, it has become obvious that Rubio is a much better talker. Bush, sensing the threat, staged a head-on collision with Rubio in their previous debate. And Bush lost it.

Bush was better on Tuesday. But if you’re a Republican donor or undecided voter, you saw the same liabilities you’ve seen before. When Bush tries to look strong, he sounds weak. He repeatedly summarized his foreign-policy vision with the passive phrase, “Voids are filled.” He said carbon emissions were down thanks to “the explosion of natural gas.” At one point, he babbled, “I was in Washington—Iowa—about three months ago talking about how bad Washington, D.C., is. It was—get the—kind of the—anyway.” Bush pleaded for air time, telling Donald Trump, “Thank you, Donald, for allowing me to speak at the debate.” Later, in a succinct display of their alpha and beta personalities, Trump silenced Bush during an exchange by extending an arm and barking, “Hold it.” In his closing statement, Bush promised not to be an “agitator in chief.”

Any viewer looking for a pragmatist was probably more impressed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who seized that role from Bush. Kasich presented himself as the candidate of fiscal responsibility and sensible compassion, particularly with regard to immigration and government assistance. By taking market share from Bush, Kasich can help clear the way for Rubio.

If Rubio stays ahead of the other candidates who have held elected office, he’ll win the nomination. That’s because the candidates who haven’t held office, led by Trump and Ben Carson, don’t have the sanity or skill to endure. Carson is being vetted for the first time, and it shows. Trump, who likes to call other people “low-energy,” delivered his flattest performance of the year.

It’s possible that, having run out of gas in the polls, Trump is losing enthusiasm for the campaign. But the more worrisome sign is that the audience seemed tired of him. He was booed for dismissing Kasich and for belittling Carly Fiorina. The crowd applauded Fiorina as she mocked Trump’s boast about appearing on a TV show with Vladimir Putin. When Trump denounced the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a scheme to help China, Sen. Rand Paul embarrassed him by pointing out, “China is not part of this deal.”

Against this background, Rubio looked good. It started with the debate’s first question, about the minimum wage. Trump botched it, shrugging that people “have to work really hard” instead of expecting a better entry wage. Carson wandered into a sermon about how the government fosters dependency. Rubio, the next man up, rejected Trump’s answer, insisting that people are “working as hard as ever.” He summarized his humble upbringing, pivoted to his generational pitch about emerging economic challenges, and crisply explained the dilemma: “If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine.”

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Ukraine: Cyberwar’s Hottest Front – By Margaret Coker and  Paul Sonne Nov. 9, 2015 9:14 p.m. ET

Ukraine gives glimpse of future conflicts where attackers combine computer and traditional assaults

A woman votes in Kiev in May 2014. A cyberattack ahead of Ukraine’s 2014 presidential election threatened to derail the vote.

A woman votes in Kiev in May 2014. A cyberattack ahead of Ukraine’s 2014 presidential election threatened to derail the vote. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

KIEV, Ukraine—Three days before Ukraine’s presidential vote last year, employees at the national election commission arrived at work to find their dowdy Soviet-era headquarters transformed into the front line of one of the world’s hottest ongoing cyberwars.

The night before, while the agency’s employees slept, a shadowy pro-Moscow hacking collective called CyberBerkut attacked the premises. Its stated goal: To cripple the online system for distributing results and voter turnout throughout election day. Software was destroyed. Hard drives were fried. Router settings were undone. Even the main backup was ruined.

The carnage stunned computer specialists the next morning. “It was like taking a cold shower,” said Victor Zhora, director of the Ukrainian IT firm Infosafe, which helped set up the network for the elections. “It really was the first strike in the cyberwar.”

In just 72 hours, Ukraine would head to the polls in an election crucial to cementing the legitimacy of a new pro-Western government, desperate for a mandate as war exploded in the country’s east. If the commission didn’t offer its usual real-time online results, doubts about the vote’s legitimacy would further fracture an already divided nation.

The attack ultimately failed to derail the vote. Ukrainian computer specialists mobilized to restore operations in time for the elections. But the intrusion heralded a new era in Ukraine that showed how geopolitical confrontation with Russia could give rise to a nebulous new cabal of cyberfoes, bent on undermining and embarrassing authorities trying to break with the Kremlin.

In the last two years, cyberattacks have hit Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense and the presidential administration. Military communications lines and secure databases at times were compromised, according to Ukrainian presidential and security officials. A steady flow of hacked government documents have appeared on the CyberBerkut website.

Ukraine offers a glimpse into the type of hybrid warfare that Western military officials are urgently preparing for: battles in which traditional land forces dovetail with cyberattackers to degrade and defeat an enemy. It also illustrates the difficulties that nations face in identifying and defending against a more powerful cyberfoe.

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Rank Has Its Privileges – By Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder November/December 2015 Issue

How International Ratings Dumb Down Global Governance

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at Nov 7, 2015 4.39

When the Berlin-based group Transparency International released its annual ranking of international corruption levels in December 2014, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded with a blistering statement. Chinese authorities were upset that their country had sunk from 80th to 100th place on the watchdog’s influential Corruption Perceptions Index, even though Beijing was pursuing a high-profile anticorruption campaign. “As a fairly influential international organization,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “Transparency International should seriously examine the objectiveness and impartiality of its Corruption Perceptions Index.”

This wasn’t the first time Beijing had dismissed the results of an international ranking. A year earlier, it had called for the elimination of the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business Index, in which China had similarly underperformed, citing what Chinese officials described as flawed methodologies and assumptions.

China’s anger reveals just how powerful such ratings have become. Today’s ratings, produced by nongovernmental organizations and international agencies alike, score governments on nearly every aspect of a state: democracy, corruption, environmental degradation, friendliness to business, the likelihood of state collapse, the security of nuclear materials, and much more. The ratings’ customers are equally diverse. Government officials and activists refer to these indexes as measures of state performance, and international organizations and domestic bureauc­racies use them as comparative benchmarks. Scholars and analysts use them to compare countries, and journalists routinely cite them as authoritative in their stories.

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Ben Carson Vaults to Lead in Latest Journal/NBC Poll – By PATRICK O’CONNOR Updated Nov. 3, 2015 12:15 a.m. ET

He overtakes Trump for lead in GOP presidential race; Clinton’s advantage widens in Democratic contest

GOP candidate Ben Carson now leads Donald Trump nationally in the new WSJ/NBC News poll. WSJ's Jerry Seib discusses what this means. Photo:AP

GOP candidate Ben Carson now leads Donald Trump nationally in the new WSJ/NBC News poll. WSJ’s Jerry Seib discusses what this means. Photo:AP

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson overtook businessman Donald Trump as the top pick of GOP presidential primary voters, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey found, as Republicans continued to turn to nontraditional candidates who they believe can channel their anger with Washington.

The finding marked the first time since June that a Republican other than Mr. Trump led the GOP field. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz,who have cast themselves as a new generation of Republicans eager to challenge party leadership, ranked third and fourth, respectively, as the top pick of 11% and 10% of GOP primary voters.

In the ultimate sign of dissatisfaction with more established Republicans, the poll found former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush continuing to struggle among GOP voters. For the first time since the race began, more Republicans said they wouldn’t consider voting for Mr. Bush than those who said they could, 52% to 45%.

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Biden entry would boost Bernie Sanders, say Dems – By Niall Stanage – 10/03/15 12:16 PM EDT

Getty Images

A Joe Biden presidential campaign would help Bernie Sanders by hurting Hillary Clinton, according to Democratic Party insiders and other experts.

Biden, whose ideology is more similar to Clinton’s than the left-wing senator from Vermont, would siphon off more of her supporters, according to most polls.

He could also help Sanders by turning the Democratic fight into a three-horse race.

“He should be leading the ‘Run, Joe, Run’ campaign,” said Joe Trippi, the Democratic strategist who ran former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.

There is deep skepticism in Democratic circles that Sanders can expand his national support much beyond his current high-water mark of around 35 percent.

With Biden in the race, however, that’s less of a problem.

“If you make the race a 33-33-33 jump ball, then Sanders has a shot to tip that ball, and so does Joe,” said Trippi. “Whereas when you see this race with just Sanders and [Clinton], it goes 55-33, or whatever.”

Some pundits have argued that Democratic voters can be broadly divided into pro-Clinton and anti-Clinton camps, and that Sanders and Biden would hurt each other by splitting the votes of the dissenters.

But that theory does not really hold water, according to Tom Jensen, the director of the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm.

“We generally find that supporters of Biden or Sanders like Hillary Clinton, they just like one of those two more,” he said. “It’s not really a disliking-Hillary issue. Both Biden and Sanders have people who really like them.”

Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Sanders, backed up that assessment.

“I don’t see the Bernie Sanders vote as being an anti-Hillary Clinton vote, I really don’t,” he insisted. “I’m sure there are some people who support him who don’t like her. But if you went to one of his events, people will say nice things about her… Whenever this question has been asked [in polls] — ‘Are you voting for him or against her?’ — it has been 90-10 that they are voting for him.”

Polling at this stage of a presidential race ought to carry a health warning.

That’s especially true of findings related to Biden, who has not yet entered the race and may never do so. Still, the data does indicate that a run by the vice president would at least narrow Clinton’s lead.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this week gave Clinton a 15-point lead over Sanders, 53 percent to 38 percent, without Biden in the race. With Biden in, her lead shrank to 7 points. Under the second scenario, Clinton took 42 percent, Sanders 35 percent and Biden 17 percent.


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Carson, Fiorina, Sanders Gain Ground in Their Parties’ Primary Races, Poll Shows – By PATRICK O’CONNOR Sept. 27, 2015 9:00 a.m. ET

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, left, speaks as Donald Trump looks on during the CNN Republican presidential debate on Sept. 16. ENLARGE

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, left, speaks as Donald Trump looks on during the CNN Republican presidential debate on Sept. 16. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press


Patrick O’Connor

Sept. 27, 2015 9:00 a.m. ET

Republicans Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina and Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders have gained significant ground in their parties’ presidential primary races in recent weeks, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and celebrity real-estate developer Donald Trump continue to lead the fields for their parties’ nominations. But Mr. Trump is now essentially tied with Mr. Carson, and significant movement has occurred among candidates just behind them.

Mr. Carson is the preferred pick of 20% of GOP primary voters, compared with the 21% who favor Mr. Trump. Behind them are Mrs. Fiorina and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, both with 11% support. Other Republicans register single-digit support.

In the prior Journal/NBC News poll, conducted in mid-July, Mr. Carson had only 10% support, compared with 19% for Mr. Trump. The retired neurosurgeon overtakes Mr. Trump in the new survey, conducted Sept. 20-24, when voters’ first choice is combined with their second.


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The strategy behind Rubio’s Trump feud – By MARC CAPUTO 09/24/15 07:01 PM EDT

The decision to go after Trump is a departure from Rubio’s low-key campaigning style, but the benefits could be huge.


Sweaty. Lightweight. A no-show worker. Disloyal. A kid. A borrower “with no money, zero.”

Donald Trump has spent the past two days bashing Marco Rubio with these insults as a way to send a message: Criticize the big dog and get bitten.

On Thursday, Rubio barked back at Trump, calling him “a very touchy and insecure guy.” Rubio also attacked Trump at his points of pride: his stage presence and his poll numbers.

“He had a really bad debate performance last week,” Rubio told Kentucky Sports Radio. “He takes shots at everybody that gets anywhere close to him, in terms of a poll, or anytime he hits a rough spot that’s what he does.”

The conflict between the two men introduces a new feud to the race.

For Trump, it gives him a new target and a fresh round of headlines. The billionaire businessman had slugged it out for weeks with Jeb Bush, after taking on Scott Walker while pot-shotting almost every other candidate. Trump began attacking Rubio in force after the Florida senator leveled some of his most direct criticisms when he said Tuesday that the Republican frontrunner hasn’t “met the threshold” to be president due to his relative lack of foreign-policy knowledge.

For Rubio, it’s a gamble. It ends a long-term strategy of trying to ignore slugging it out with Trump. Rubio wants to avoid fighting on Trump’s terms. Rubio is a skill puncher. Trump’s a brawler. Polling in the middle of the pack, Rubio has been running a low-key campaign that has allowed him to pick friendly media outlets for interviews and that has kept him largely out of the spotlight of a more-critical mainstream media.

“I’ve made a decision here with Donald Trump, you know, if I comment on everything he says, my whole campaign will be consumed by it. That’s all I’ll do all day,” Rubio said in August on Meet The Press. “We’ll let him answer for what he says and so forth. At this point, I mean, we’ve got to focus on our message. Otherwise my whole campaign will be what — how do you feel about what Donald Trump said about something. He says something every day.”

But since then, Rubio has taken an increasing number of veiled shots at Trump because it plays to Rubio’s strength: foreign policy. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio wants to talk about Iran, Vladimir Putin and Cuba. The front-runner Trump is a perfect foil. That creates conflict that produces free media coverage, but it also draws Rubio into a direct confrontation with Trump, whom he has largely avoided criticizing in the same way that, say, Bush has.

Also, Rubio’s criticisms aren’t part of a plan to make the contest a two-way race with Trump — a Bush tactic. Instead, Rubio’s campaign strategy revolves around waiting for the right opportunity to make news. Unlike Bush, who isn’t comfortable personally attacking another candidate, Rubio has fewer qualms about trading barbs and belittling an opponent — a tactic he honed in his 2010 race against Gov. Charlie Crist (a Republican defector who was supported by Trump, Rubio noted during the first presidential debate).

And then there’s Carly Fiorina. She proved last week that Trump’s not invincible, landing a solid blow during the CNN debate when asked about his disparaging “look at that face” comment. She showed others that the counter-counter-punch can be pretty sweet, as shown by her surge in the polls.

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Marco Rubio’s Mormon play – By ELENA SCHNEIDER 09/13/15, 07:50 AM EDT

The Florida senator is subtly leveraging his LDS background to build support in Nevada, where the Mormon community is small, but influential in GOP politics.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio reads a passage from the Bible in July while fielding questions at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio reads a passage from the Bible in July while fielding questions at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa. | Getty

It’s an unusual personal detour on an otherwise straightforward path: Marco Rubio’s brief history as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He doesn’t talk about it much, if ever, on the campaign trail, but it might turn out to be his early-state ace in the hole.

Rubio is subtly leveraging his LDS background to build support in Nevada, where the state’s LDS community isn’t huge — Mormons make up just a small percentage of the population — but represents an influential constituency in Republican politics.

Rubio has held kitchen-table meetings and private meet-and-greets with prominent LDS church leaders, lining up support from some of the top Mormon names in Nevada politics, including Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison. Hutchison recently barnstormed northern Nevada with Rubio, personally introducing the Florida senator at stops along the way.

“In touring with Hutchison, that’s a really good way to let everyone know in the LDS community that Marco is doing the legwork,” said Steve Fellows, a 2012 fundraiser for Mitt Romney and a former Mormon bishop, who hasn’t endorsed a candidate yet.

As state chairman for Rubio’s campaign, Hutchison also hosted a backyard event at his Las Vegas home in July attended by state legislators, activists and political operatives — roughly half of them LDS members. Standing on a basketball court emblazoned with the Brigham Young University logo, Rubio emphasized his conservative bona fides before a crowd of nearly 200 guests and revisited his history with Las Vegas, where he spent several years as a child.

But he did not talk about a hallmark of his time in Las Vegas — his conversion to Mormonism in grade school. The Rubio campaign — which declined to talk for this story — is acutely aware of the need to step lightly around the nexus of politics and religion, and especially the question of the senator’s own faith journey.

Rubio’s conversion came at the age of 8 while his family lived in Las Vegas, as documented in his 2012 book “American Son.” But he felt “called” to return to Catholicism, receiving his first communion at 13 years old.

In the book, Rubio offered a glimpse into the family backstory.


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