Review Category : Poltics

Kerry to Visit Ottawa Tuesday, Offer Condolences Following Shooting

State Dept(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Canada on Tuesday in order to hold bilateral meetings with Canadian leaders and offer condolences following last week’s shooting at Canada’s National War Memorial outside the Canadian Parliament.

Kerry, according to a statement from State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, will “express America’s solidarity with the Canadian people.”

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird confirmed the meetings on Monday, noting that the two nations have been “partners, allies and friends through good times, as well as through some of our most tragic moments in history.” He also said that Kerry and President Obama were among the first people to reach out to Canada during the shooting.

“I am grateful that Secretary Kerry will visit Ottawa and stand by Canadians as we mourn…and as we move forward in pursuit of our shared values,” Baird said.

Kerry and Baird are expected to discuss issues including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, tension in Ukraine, North American energy security and the relationship between the two nations, among other topics.

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Chris Christie Hasn’t Tweeted About Anything Besides Ebola Since Thursday

Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen(TRENTON, N.J.) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been tweeting up a storm and, since Thursday, he’s tweeted about nothing but Ebola.

He’s used his account to promote the state’s mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa — and made his case for New Jersey’s controversial quarantine of nurse Kaci Hickox after she returned from the Ebola zone in Sierra Leone.

He’s discussed New Jersey’s coordination with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in rolling out those quarantines, even in the face of criticism from the White House.

He’s reassured the public that there are no Ebola cases in New Jersey, and he’s reminded everyone that Ebola can only be spread through bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms.

When it comes to #Ebola you need to know the facts. @CDCgov pic.twitter.com/tdnvmoAQXU

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 22, 2014

Christie’s last non-Ebola tweet had to do with housing. In fact, Christie has only posted four non-Ebola-related tweets since last Monday.

Christie’s Twitter storm kept up Monday, even as New Jersey decided to release Hickox from quarantine as her lawyer threatened to sue. In fact, the furor over Hickox’s quarantine in a tent at a Newark, New Jersey, hospital fueled Christie’s Twitter output from the start.

Today, a healthcare worker arrived at Newark Airport, w/ a recent history of treating patients w/ Ebola in West Africa, but w/ no symptoms.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 24, 2014

After @CDCgov alerted @NJDeptofhealth of the traveler, @NJDeptofhealth made the determination that a legal quarantine order should be issued

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 24, 2014

This woman, while her home residence is outside of this area, her next stop was going to be here in NY.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 24, 2014

.@NYGovCuomo and I discussed it before we came out today and a quarantine order will be issued.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 24, 2014

Hickox later penned an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News chronicling her Ebola quarantine travails and suggesting mandatory quarantines will discourage volunteerism.

The White House, which opposes mandatory quarantines, spent the weekend obliquely bashing the policy. The administration raised concerns with Christie and Cuomo, a senior administration official told ABC News on Sunday, suggesting the quarantines are “not grounded in science,” a position shared by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-diseases official at the National Institutes of Health.

President Obama met with his team of Ebola advisers on Sunday, the White House announced, asking its members to develop federal policies on how to handle Ebola workers, with an eye toward not discouraging volunteerism. New guidelines are on the way, a senior administration official said.

Christie has defended the quarantines in interviews, and Sunday night he took to Twitter to clarify that workers can undergo quarantine at home if they live in the state. Hickox was sequestered in a hospital tent because she doesn’t live there.

Non-residents would be transported to their homes if feasible and, if not, quarantined in New Jersey.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

As I said on Friday, we & the @NJDeptofhealth will make those judgements were need be, what the most appropriate location for that is.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

IF the person is not a resident of our state already.

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

Obviously, if they’re already a resident of NJ then they can quarantine in their own homes under a quarantine order. https://t.co/ZK3zIAAaL4

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

On Monday, he took to Twitter to address Hickox’s allegations of mistreatment:

“While in isolation, every effort was made to insure that she remained comfortable…” (cont) @NJDeptofhealth

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

“…with access to a computer, cell phone, reading material and nourishment of choice.” – @NJDeptofhealth

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

And to hit back at critics of New Jersey’s quarantine policy:

My greater responsibility is to the public. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

The fact of the matter is we’re not going to step away for a minute from protecting the people of my state. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

So the critics are the critics no matter what you do there will be critics and you don’t worry that. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

You worry about doing what’s right for the people you represent and that’s what we’ve done. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

Our preference always is to have people quarantined in their homes. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

Now in this instance it wasn’t possible because given her condition at the time. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

I know she didn’t want to be there. No one ever wants to be in the hospital, I suspect. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0 #Ebola

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

So, I understand that. But, the fact is I have a much greater, bigger responsibility to the people of the public. https://t.co/4NdrKvUAT0

— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 27, 2014

The White House’s response to Ebola cases in the U.S. has become a growing political issue for Republican candidates, who have mentioned the disease alongside national security threats posed by ISIS in arguments against Obama’s leadership abilities. Christie, widely seen as a possible Republican contender for the White House in 2016, has quickly become the leading spokesman opposing the White House’s stance on the public policy debate over how to confront Ebola.

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Biden Hits the Campaign Trail for Democrats in Iowa, Illinois

Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama won’t hit the campaign trail until Tuesday but in the meantime, his top surrogates continue to stump for candidates.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Iowa Monday — another state where Obama will not be seen this campaign season.

Biden is attending an event for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley. Later in the afternoon, Biden travels to Illinois to rally support for Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos.

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“Boston Globe” Backs Charlie Baker for Mass. Governor

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Newspapers across the country endorsed candidates this weekend, but perhaps no choice was more surprising than The Boston Globe backing of Republican Charlie Baker over Democrat Martha Coakley in the bright blue Bay State of Massachusetts.

Remembered for her loss to Scott Brown in 2010, it looks like this year the very same thing could happen to the gubernatorial candidate now being called Martha “Choke-ly.”

The Globe says they endorsed Baker because during this campaign he “has focused principally on making state government work better” and the “emphasis is warranted.” They also note his split from the national Republican Party on social issues.

In their editorial, The Globe describes Coakley’s “assessment of the status quo” as “fundamentally upbeat.” They also noted her “campaign up to now suggests an odd reluctance to seize the initiative” and said during her primary she was “unwilling to spell out an issue agenda” — all reasons they say they went with Baker.

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Senator Wants Auto Makers to Reveal Secret Settlements

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., took his recent criticism of federal highway safety regulators to the next level Sunday calling for an end to secret legal settlements, saying they delay solutions to potentially deadly problems on America’s roadways.

The senator has been critical of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration over its handling recalls related to defective airbags. Reports have linked automotive supplier Takata to four deaths and many more injuries over 10 years because its airbags can improperly deploy, turning the metal housing into shrapnel.

Honda was aware of the problem as early as 2004 and settled lawsuits with injured drivers on the condition that the victims could not reveal the terms of their agreements, a common term in settlements.

“If the public were aware of the lawsuits that are brought, if they were settled in open view, available to the public, there would be much quicker and more vigorous action to end the defects that lead to these horrendous crashes and exploding airbags, in this case,” Blumenthal told ABC’s Chief Global Correspondent Martha Raddatz Sunday on This Week.

Blumenthal, with Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., proposed legislation earlier this year to force manufacturers to publicize litigation and settlements when consumers sue them for alleged misdeeds that implicate public safety. That bill, the Sunshine in Litigation Act, was referred to committee in May.

Such disclosure provisions are not part of new legislation that Blumenthal is currently sponsoring to strengthen safety oversight of the auto industry.

The new bill would overhaul the NHTSA, the government’s watchdog for the auto industry, housed within the Department of Transportation. An overhaul is necessary, Blumenthal argued on This Week, to root out what he calls a “culture of capture” in which regulators trust the manufacturers they oversee.

“There are times when a good working relationship is fine,” Blumenthal said about the NHTSA’s relationship with auto manufacturers. “But there are also times when the relationship has to be confrontational, not collegial.”

Earlier this week, Blumenthal wrote a letter, with Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., to NHTSA director Anthony Foxx, criticizing NHTSA for not stepping in earlier to force wide recalls of the defective airbags, for issuing an incomplete list of recalled models, and for allowing manufacturers without enough replacement airbags to simply disconnect the defective ones, leaving drivers without the protection of the required safety equipment.

The senator expanded on this last critique on This Week.

“Disabling the airbags is of very questionable legality,” he said. “In fact, I’d argue it is blatantly illegal without a finding from the Secretary of Transportation that there’s a basis for this exemption.”

Blumenthal said NHTSA should require that auto manufacturers offer loaner vehicles to drivers affected by the recall.

Automakers have recalled about 7.8 million vehicles in connection with the defective airbags just this year.

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Bill Clinton: Gender and Racial Politics ‘Greatest Threat’ to Country’s Future‏

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Former President Bill Clinton warned Saturday night that despite great gains for the gay and transgender community, the lines of gender and race in politics could still cast a shadow in the years ahead.

Clinton was the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual black tie dinner Saturday night. And as Hillary Clinton continues to lay the groundwork for a possible presidential run of her own, the leading lobby for gay and transgender rights represents a strong Democratic constituency profoundly affected — both positively and negatively — by his time in the Oval Office.

“I believe that in ways large and small, peaceful and sometimes violent, that the biggest threat to the future of our children and grandchildren is the poison of identity politics that preaches that our differences are far more important than our common humanity,” he told the crowd of activists, celebrities, and lawmakers.

The head of the Human Rights Campaign is himself a former veteran of the Clinton White House.

Buoyed by recent legislative victories for their cause, the HRC has been trying to expand its focus into formerly unreachable areas, including the rural and religiously conservative Deep South, and overseas.

Clinton, recollecting the Human Genome Project of his administration, had this advice for the volunteers heading into new territory: “When the HRC goes to Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama, and you see the first person who cusses you out, just remember we’re 99 and a half percent the same.”

Clinton also noted that at his recent high school reunion — he attends every year — he learned a close childhood friend had finally wed their partner.

The president’s years in office were not completely rosy ones for the gay community — stymied by the creation of the now-defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military, and his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act. That signing was politically expedient at the time, because the law passed Congress with wide enough margins to overcome a presidential veto. Facing reelection, Clinton also feared losing the right-leaning rural Americans that had helped propel the former Arkansas governor into office.

Clinton spent 17 years first defending, then inching away from the decision. His evolving position came full circle last year, when in an editorial published in the Washington Post, the man who signed the Defense of Marriage Act called for its overturn in the Supreme Court.

Should Hillary Clinton run for president, that reluctant history is likely to provide ammunition to a challenger from the left.

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke briefly in a surprise visit to the dinner. Holder, who will leave behind a reputation of civil rights activism in office, trumpeted the Justice Department’s announcement Saturday that the agency would expand recognition of same-gender marriage licenses to an additional six states, bring the total of those recognized by the Obama administration to 32.

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Rep. Michael McCaul: ISIS Waging War Online; Recent Homegrown Attacks Examples of ‘Where They’re Winning’

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on This Week that ISIS is waging a war against the West online, with three attacks this week against law enforcement and military personnel – two in Canada and one in the United States – serving as examples of “where they’re winning.”

“I think all the markings are there of radical Islamist ties,” McCaul said of the Thursday New York City subway attack, in which an unemployed recent Muslim convert – identified by authorities as 32-year-old Zale Thompson – attacked four NYPD officers with a hatchet in broad daylight, striking one in the head before being shot and killed by police.

New York police said Friday that Thompson appears to have been self-radicalized on the Internet watching videos of ISIS and al Qaeda.

“This is the profile of the enemy within: self-radicalization within the United States,” McCaul told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “We worry a lot about ISIS traveling overseas from Syria to the United States, but I think one of the greatest fears are those already within the United States who are being radicalized and inspired by the ISIS propaganda that’s out there on the Internet.”

The attack came just a day after the deadly rampage in the Canadian capital when another 32-year-old Muslim convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, put the city of Ottawa on lockdown after he allegedly killed a soldier who was guarding Canada’s National War Memorial and then stormed the Canadian parliament building. On Monday, another Canadian soldier was killed when his car was run off the road by a man boasting ties to ISIS.

“They are waging a campaign of war against the West and the United States, and these are three examples just last week of where they’re winning,” McCaul said of the attacks.

McCaul said because these homegrown violent extremists – so-called “lone wolves” – are inspired from overseas but often act alone, it is not easy to track them down.

“These are people in a basement being radicalized over the internet,” McCaul said on This Week. “They’re not mentally all that sound. They’re really one of the most difficult to stop. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

But McCaul said one solution is to intervene on the local level. “What I would urge is we have greater community involvement within the mosques,” he said, noting that radical behavior noticed in a mosque should be reported to local law enforcement, who could work with the FBI.

“Remember Tamerlan Tsarnev, the Boston bomber, got literally kicked out of his mosque, and yet there was no reporting of that at that time,” McCaul said. “Had there been, just maybe we could have stopped that particular bombing from happening.”

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Rep. Michael McCaul: ISIS Waging War Online; Recent Homegrown Attacks Examples of ‘Where They’re Winning’

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on This Week that ISIS is waging a war against the West online, with three attacks this week against law enforcement and military personnel – two in Canada and one in the United States – serving as examples of “where they’re winning.”

“I think all the markings are there of radical Islamist ties,” McCaul said of the Thursday New York City subway attack, in which an unemployed recent Muslim convert – identified by authorities as 32-year-old Zale Thompson – attacked four NYPD officers with a hatchet in broad daylight, striking one in the head before being shot and killed by police.

New York police said Friday that Thompson appears to have been self-radicalized on the Internet watching videos of ISIS and al Qaeda.

“This is the profile of the enemy within: self-radicalization within the United States,” McCaul told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. “We worry a lot about ISIS traveling overseas from Syria to the United States, but I think one of the greatest fears are those already within the United States who are being radicalized and inspired by the ISIS propaganda that’s out there on the Internet.”

The attack came just a day after the deadly rampage in the Canadian capital when another 32-year-old Muslim convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, put the city of Ottawa on lockdown after he allegedly killed a soldier who was guarding Canada’s National War Memorial and then stormed the Canadian parliament building. On Monday, another Canadian soldier was killed when his car was run off the road by a man boasting ties to ISIS.

“They are waging a campaign of war against the West and the United States, and these are three examples just last week of where they’re winning,” McCaul said of the attacks.

McCaul said because these homegrown violent extremists – so-called “lone wolves” – are inspired from overseas but often act alone, it is not easy to track them down.

“These are people in a basement being radicalized over the internet,” McCaul said on This Week. “They’re not mentally all that sound. They’re really one of the most difficult to stop. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

But McCaul said one solution is to intervene on the local level. “What I would urge is we have greater community involvement within the mosques,” he said, noting that radical behavior noticed in a mosque should be reported to local law enforcement, who could work with the FBI.

“Remember Tamerlan Tsarnev, the Boston bomber, got literally kicked out of his mosque, and yet there was no reporting of that at that time,” McCaul said. “Had there been, just maybe we could have stopped that particular bombing from happening.”

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GOP Weekly Address: US Needs ‘New Energy to Keep Our Country Strong’

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s GOP Address, Will Hurd, who is running for representative of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, critiques the Obama administration and says he wants “to get this mess in Washington cleaned up once and for all.”

Looking forward, Hurd says the country needs new energy to stay strong.

Hurd says the government should “clean up the mess of debt and waste by balancing our budget and simplifying our tax code” and “reduce the burdens on middle class families and small business owners who are trying to achieve the American Dream.”

Read the full transcript of the GOP address:

“Good morning.

My name is Will Hurd.

My hope is to be elected representative of Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.

Because, like you, I want to get this mess in Washington cleaned up once and for all.

For too long, we’ve had an administration in DC that spends too much and listens too little, that thinks the answer to every question is more government. But when we can’t trust that government to protect our economy … secure our borders … to provide basic services to our veterans, we know something has to change.

Now, the president expects you to go to the polls and stick with the people who have stuck with him. To stick with the politicians who helped him push through ObamaCare…who helped him block solutions that would create jobs.

“These are all folks who vote with me,” he said.

But don’t we want representatives who vote with us? Don’t we want to send to Washington leaders who will take on the tough issues and focus on getting things done?

I’ve been in real fights – as an overseas officer in the CIA, I witnessed folks struggling for freedom and stared down those trying to end our way of life.

And working in the private sector trying to help companies compete, I see how our government is threatening our economic security.

We need to clean up the mess of debt and waste by balancing our budget and simplifying our tax code.

We need to reduce the burdens on middle class families and small business owners who are trying to achieve the American Dream.

We need to ensure our ability to be energy independent.

And we need to make border security, countering drug traffickers and fighting cyber criminals all national priorities.

It is time we come together to do these things.

America doesn’t need more politicians who vote in lock step with the president. We need new energy to keep our country strong, at home and abroad.

Fellow Texans and Americans, this is the opportunity we face in ten days time. This is our moment.

Let’s stand together and take our government back from the bureaucrats in Washington and put the power where it belongs: in the hands of the people.

Thank you for listening.”

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