web analytics

Business Insider – Politics

  • Here's Why Jeb Bush Would Be The GOP's 'Immediate Frontrunner' If He Runs For President
    (Politics - October 30 2014 - 2:53 PM:)

    Jeb Bush

    Last weekend, speculation former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) might run for president in 2016 ramped up when both of his sons gave interviews indicating he is "moving forward" with a potential campaign and his family is "geared up" for it. If Bush does attempt to follow his father and brother's footsteps to the White House, many insiders expect he would be the instant leader in a crowded Republican field. 

    "If he gets in ... he is the immediate frontrunner," former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said of Bush.  

    Business Insider spoke to top GOP donors who indicated many of the party's top fundraisers are ready to back Bush.

    "He will get the backing." SkyBridge Capital CEO, Anthony Scaramucci said of Bush. "People will be stepping over themselves."

    More importantly, it seems some key Republican donors are waiting until Bush decides whether to run before giving money to any other potential candidates. 

    One top investor who regularly donates to GOP candidates said they would support Bush and will not be making 2016 contributions to anyone else until they know if he's running. They added that they know of several other major donors who are staying on the sidelines until Bush makes his choice. 

    Steele said this sentiment is echoed throughout the GOP establishment. 

    "I think that's reflective of the general view around the party as a whole, not just within the donor class. I think there's a lot of anticipation, particularly in light of the family's movement towards a potential run," said Steele when asked about the comments from donors. "That makes a lot of sense and it's consistent with what I'm hearing on the ground as well."

    Steele attributed the business community's eagerness to back Bush to his experience and relatively even-keeled approach. 

    "For business men and women, they like the comfort of certainty and so they respect what they would view as levelheadedness in dealing with and looking at some of the problems the country faces," Steele said. "It's not reactive one way or the other, but it's really sort of a steadier hand approach to solving the problems. And again, this goes back to Gov. Bush's abilities as governor working with Democrats in the state and nationally on these issues, you know, bringing that steady hand. And I think that brings people a lot more comfort."

    Indeed, assuming 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney is really, as his wife has indicated, "done" running for president, Bush is set to be the most moderate option for Republicans in 2016.

    Without Bush, the GOP field seems likely to be dominated by the infamously confrontational New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). Steele suggested this impression is shared by both Republican Party insiders and voters in the conservative base. 

    "I think for the party establishment, I also think for a good number of the grassroots folks out there as well ... theres a great affinity for the Bush family," said Steele, adding, "And there's a very good appreciation for what Jeb did as governor of Florida, what he has done since then."

    Of course, Bush's more moderate positions, specifically on education reform and on immigration, might not earn him opposition among staunch conservatives. However, Steele argued Bush's advocacy for education reform is evidence of his experience and ability to be an effective leader. 

     "You have those who are, I'll put it politely, disappointed that he, you know, has been an advocate of Common Core and some other education reforms, which they don't agree with. But, you know, that's the difference between having governed and knowing what's needed in order to move issues like education," Steele said. 

    On immigration, Steele suggested the fact Bush has a wife of Mexican descent allows him to bring a valuable perspective to the issue. 

    "What I think Jeb speaks to in such a personal way and, I think, in an important way for Republicans to listen to is, he speaks to the humanity of the individuals who are seeking a better life in this country," said Steele. "You know, these aren't statistics, these aren't faceless individuals who have committed a crime, but these are people who are striving for a better life for their families."  

    Steele also Bush's support for reform could help a Republican Party that has talked about rebranding in the face of declining support among minority voters and a growing Latino electorate. 

    "Our party's always talked about being a party of assimilation, a party of welcoming, and that's something that I think Jeb brings to the conversation that we need to pay a little bit more attention to," Steele said. "That's going to be a real test for the party, I think, in the next couple of years."   

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Watch Reporters Chase The Maine 'Ebola Nurse' On Her Bike
    (Politics - October 30 2014 - 2:52 PM:)

    ebola nurse bike

    A paparazzi-like crew of reporters didn't show any fear Thursday morning when they chased a nurse whose defying an Ebola quarantine in Maine after she went biking. 

    Kaci Hickox, who recently returned home after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, previously announced her intentions to break her quarantine because she is not symptomatic, and thus is not contagious. She said she has twice tested negative for the disease.

    According to the Associated Press, authorities in Maine are seeking a court order to keep Hickox in her house until Nov. 10, which represents the 21-day incubation period for the virus.

    Reporters have been staked out in front of Hickox's house and, on Thursday, they chased her on foot after she rode her bike in front of her home. Both Fox News and CNN aired footage of reporters running after Hickox. 

    Watch Fox News' footage of the chase below.

    (h/t Andrew Kaczynski)

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • TED CRUZ: Here's The One Thing That Will Guarantee A Hillary Clinton Victory
    (Politics - October 30 2014 - 12:58 PM:)

    ted cruz cnbc

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) believes the Republican Party needs to avoid one crucial mistake in the 2016 presidential election: running a candidate "in the mold" of Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee.

    "If we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president," Cruz said Thursday morning on CNBC.

    Cruz, a conservative firebrand who is considering a presidential campaign, urged Republicans to "learn from history."

    "We need to look to history and what works and what doesn't," he said. "The one thing is clear is if Republicans run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney — and let me be clear, all three of those are good, honorable men. They're decent men. They're patriots. But if we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result."

    Cruz was responding to a question about the potential candidacy of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Florida), the brother and son of the two most recent Republican presidents. Cruz declined to say whether Bush was too far to the left, but he spoke broadly about uninspiring candidates.

    "Jeb has not declared his candidacy," Cruz said. "I like Jeb. I'm a fan of Jeb Bush's. I'm going to let him decide if he's running first and let the primary voters make a decision."

    Watch below.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • There's A Massive Disconnect Between The White House And Everyone Else
    (Politics - October 30 2014 - 11:21 AM:)

    obama staffThe past week has revealed just how much the Obama administration is operating on its own.

    Regarding the Middle East, senior US officials described the "disconnect" in the president's plan for battling the Islamic State militant group, while others called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "chickens---." The administration defended the president's strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) and backed away from the insults of Netanyahu.

    Within Washington, a senior Armed Services Committee staffer told Politico that "the [Department of Defense] and Capitol Hill are often taken by surprise at same time and on same issues" by the White House.

    An egregious example involved the Obama administration failing to have Pentagon lawyers review the legislative language about training Syrian rebels before sending it to Capitol Hill. Republican staffers on the House Armed Services Committee told Politico that the language was "so sloppy that it failed to mention adequate protections against so-called 'green-on-blue' attacks by trainees on American troops."

    Blame has fallen partly on the administration's National Security Council, which has beefed up to 300 members from 50 and is seen as reacting to a series of crises, as opposed to being proactive with a coherent strategy.

    "There is a sense that the NSC is run a little like beehive ball soccer, where everyone storms to wherever the ball is moving around the field," one former administration official told Politico.

    The media also finds itself locked out. New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said Obama's White House is the "most secretive White House" that she's covered during her long career as a political journalist.

    Furthering the perceived isolation of the Obama's team, the Times reports White House officials joke that US Secretary of State John Kerry is so untethered from the White House at times that he is like Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."


    Even campaigning Democrats are keeping their distance from the president as Obama seethes at the government's initially inept response to Ebola.

    David Rothkopf, the CEO and editor of Foreign Policy, described the perceived problems with the Obama administration in September. They included "the composition of his team; the structure of the administration; its risk-averseness and defensiveness; its tendency to be tactical and focused on the short term, rather than strategic in its approaches to problems; and the president's seeming unwillingness to devote more of himself to working with peers worldwide to shape and lead action on many big issues."

    This week shows that either Rothkopf's assessment was wrong and everyone was being unfair to the White House, or it was spot on and the issues have gotten worse.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Chinese Authorities Are Shocked By The Results Of The Relaxed 'One Child' Policy
    (Politics - October 30 2014 - 7:28 AM:)

    afp fewer chinese couples want second child than expected media

    Far fewer Chinese couples applied to have a second child than expected after a relaxation of the country's "one child" policy, state-run media reported Thursday, highlighting the ageing nation's demographic challenges.

    The world's most populous country has restricted most families to a single child since the late 1970s, but the Communist party said in November that couples would be allowed to have two offspring so long as one of the parents was an only child, rather than both.

    Authorities had expected the change to result in more than 2 million extra births a year, but out of more than 11 million couples eligible, only 700,000 had applied for permission by the end of August, the China Daily newspaper said, citing the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

    Of those, 620,000 had been authorized, it added.

    China has a population of 1.36 billion, the  National Bureau of Statistics said in January, but its working-age population fell by 2.44 million last year.

    Over-60s accounted for 14.9 percent of the total, it said, and projections show that they will represent one in four of the population — 350 million people — by 2030.

    The lower-than-expected desire to have more children might reflect changing perceptions of reproduction, particularly in cities, said Lu Jiehua, a demography professor at Peking University, according to the report.

    The new policy affects mostly couples in urban areas, where the family-planning policy has been implemented more strictly than in the countryside.

    But education and housing are expensive in cities, and reliance on children in old age is lower, making multiple offspring less necessary.

    Chinese academics have called for an across-the-board two-child policy to be introduced to tackle emerging labor shortages.

    China's birth-limit policies have at times been brutally enforced, with authorities relying on permits, fines, and, in some cases forced sterilizations and late-term abortions.

    Beijing says the policy prevented food shortages and laid the foundations for the country's recent economic growth.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • The 10 Most Important Things In The World Right Now
    (Politics - October 30 2014 - 6:51 AM:)

    EbolaGood morning! Here's what you need to know for Thursday.

    1. The World Health Organization issued promising news about the state of Ebola, noting that the epidemic in Liberia may be slowing down.

    2. A mudslide set off by monsoon rains may have killed in hundreds in Sri Lanka.

    3. NATO said on Wednesday afternoon that it had intercepted an unusually high number of Russian bomber planes over the Atlantic, Black Sea, and Baltic Sea over a 24-hour period since Tuesday.

    4. OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said he expected a sharp fall in US shale output if oil prices stayed low

    5. It could take months for investigators to determine what caused a rocket built by Orbital Sciences and carrying a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station to blow up seconds after launch, obliterating an estimated $200 million in an instant.

    Sri Lanka Mudslide

    6. Fiat Chrysler plans to spin off Ferrari, its most valuable brand. 

    7. Samsung posted a 49% drop in profit to its lowest total in three years as the electronics maker loses its grip on the smartphone market. 

    8. Former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan believes that the third installment of the government's stimulus program, known as QE3, did not meet its goals, which he revealed after the Fed announced the program's end on Wednesday.

    9. US government officials have openly criticized Secretary of State John Kerry, comparing him to a lost astronaut in space because he often gets "out of sync with the White House in his public statements."

    10. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series Wednesday night, beating the Kansas City Royals, 3-2, in Game 7. 

    And finally ...

    Behold: A prototype of the world's most advanced flying car

    SEE ALSO: The 10 Most Important Things In The World Archives

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Take A Tour Of Norway's Unbelievably Luxurious Prison
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 10:30 PM:)

    Halden prison

    Norway's prison system is known as one of the most humane in the entire world.

    It may also be one of the most radical. 

    "This is prison utopia," American prison warden James Conway said in "The Norden," a made-for-TV documentary. "I don't think you can go any more liberal — other than giving the inmates the keys." The production explored Conway's experience visting Halden.

    Click here to see the surprising accommodations »

    The 75-acre facility tries to maintain as much normalcy as possible, an important concept in the Norwegian prison system, Jan Stromnes, deputy head of the prison, said in the documentary. That means no bars on the windows, fully equipped kitchens, and friendships between guards and inmates. 

    "Every inmates in Norwegian prison are going back to the society," Are Hoidel, Halden's director, said in another production by Gughi Fassino and Emanuela Zuccalà. "Do you want people who are angry — or people who are rehabilitated?"

    Like many prisons, Halden seeks to prepare inmates for life on the outside with vocational programs: wood-working, assembly workshops, and even a recording studio.

    Norway hasn't imposed the death penalty since 1979. Life sentences don't exist, putting the focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment.

    The Scandinavian country has an incarceration rate of 70 per 100,000, totaling 3,571 inmates for the entire country. The US' rate is more than 10 times Norway's — 707 per 100,000, or 2,228,424 people behind bars.

    At Halden, it's sometimes hard to tell the inmates and guards apart.

    Source: "Welcome to Halden Prison"

    Uniforms aren't required.

    Source: "Welcome to Halden Prison"

    And the guards and prisoners are friendly with each other.

    Source: "Welcome to Halden Prison"

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

    > <>
  • White House Officials Say John Kerry Is Lost In Space Like Sandra Bullock In 'Gravity'
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 9:57 PM:)


    The White House and the State Department might need to get together for some high-level talks.

    Just one day after a "senior administration official" sparked controversy after being quoted by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg as calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "chickenshit," anonymous White House officials have a new target: Secretary of State John Kerry.

    An article in The New York Times about a wide variety of international crises that have hit the Obama administration in recent months — from the rise of the Islamic State to its handling of Ebola in West Africa — contained an interesting nugget that demonstrates a deep disconnect between The White House and the State Department:

    Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, but he frequently gets out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie 'Gravity,' somersaulting through space, untethered to the White House.

    Aides for Kerry told The Times they rejected that portrait, and they said the secretary frequently dialed into White House meetings. Kerry's team also said he put together a long memo for battling the Islamic State that the administration had followed. 

    "Something is very wrong when White House officials openly ridicule the Secretary of State," tweeted Mike Doran, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy.

    kerry obama

    However, there have been some recent signs of tension. Kerry unleashed a litany of criticism toward the Obama administration in April after he said that Israel could become an "apartheid state" if peace talks with the Palestinians failed.

    While the White House defended Kerry in the ensuing controversy, the recent comments from the administration echo those of others in Israel, who mocked Kerry's attempt to broker a truce in Gaza. 

    "It's as if he isn't the foreign minister of the world's most powerful nation," wrote Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid in July, "but an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast."

    NOW WATCH: This One Habit Can Help Make You Smarter

    Please enable Javascript to watch this video

    SEE ALSO: John Kerry Facepalms Next To Russian Foreign Minister, Hints At New 'Reset'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Here's The Crazy Diet That Explains Why Al Sharpton Is Shrinking
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 9:56 PM:)

    Al Sharpton back in 2000

    The Reverend Al Sharpton used to weigh 305 pounds — no surprise, considering that the prominent reverend and activist used to incorporate fried chicken into all three meals of the day.

    He added fried chicken to breakfast with grits and eggs, to lunch in a sandwich, and to dinner, when he'd eat half a chicken.

    But about 15 years ago, his then 12-year-old daughter punched him in the belly and asked him why he was so fat, he recently told the New York Daily News.

    And that was more than the minister could take.

    "That was my inspiration to lose the weight. And probably the last time anyone hurt my feelings," he told the News.

    Now, while Sharpton's political presence may be as large as ever, the man himself is more than half gone weightwise — this week he weighed in at 129.6 pounds, about one pound above being classified as underweight, according to the National Institutes of Health's body mass index calculator.

    So how does that happen? Is it some special diet, bariatric surgery, or even some sort of illness?

    Nope. He stopped eating and started exercising. But when we say "stopped eating," we mean it.

    Al Sharpton cuts the cakeHis daily intake, as told to the News, is this:

    Breakfast: Three slices of wheat toast (about 300 calories / 15g of protein) and a Doctor Earth green juice from Juice Press (180 calories / 2g of protein)

    Lunch: A salad containing lettuce, tomato, onion, a chopped hard-boiled egg, and balsamic vinaigrette (about 240 calories / 6g of protein, depending on serving size) and a banana (about 100 calories and 1g of protein)

    Dinner: Another green juice

    With breakfast and lunch he drinks breakfast tea sweetened with stevia, which is basically calorie-free. Occasionally on the weekends he'll have some grilled fish.

    That's it, according to his interview with the Daily News. And he only added the juice, banana, and toast because a doctor told him he wasn't eating enough with just a lunchtime salad a day. He still doesn't eat any solid food after 6 p.m.

    That's about 1,000 calories and 26 grams of protein a day, less than half the normal "recommended diet." 

    His workout is less intense, 20 minutes on the treadmill at 3 mph.

    So is it healthy, or is it an eating disorder?

    A doctor might recommend such a low-calorie diet for extreme weight loss, but it's likely overkill at this point — especially for someone teetering on the edge of being underweight.

    "Certainly compared to weighing 300 pounds, this is preferable," David Seres of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center told the News. But he might be pretty vulnerable if he got sick, according to Seres. "His intake would make a nutrition expert nervous."

    His meal plan may also seem a bit boring and not enough for most of us, to be sure, but Sharpton told the News that he isn't bothered by it. "I'm conditioned now so that I never get hungry," he said.

    SEE ALSO: John Oliver Takes On The Sugar Industry In His Latest Rant

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • REPORT: Right-Wing Activist Targeted In Assassination Attempt In Jerusalem
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 9:18 PM:)

    jerusalem dome of the rock western wall

    A rabbi who is leading the effort to open up Jerusalem's Temple Mount known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sancutary — to Jewish worshippers has reportedly been shot in Jerusalem. Ha'aretz is reporting that Yehuda Glick was shot in the chest after an event at Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

    When reached for comment, Micky Rosenfeld, a detective and spokesperson for Israel's police forces, confirmed "an attempted shooting outside the Begin Center," but would not confirm the victim's identity. He said that the victim, a man in his 50s, is in "serious condition." He added that roadblocks were being set up "all over Jerusalem" to find the shooter or shooters, who escaped by motorbike.

    Though Rosenfeld could not confirm the victim's identity, a Twitter user tweeted out a flier for a talk that Glick was to deliver at the Begin Center tonight:

    ככה"נ גליק נורה בסיומה של ההרצאה שמסר בנוגע להר הבית. pic.twitter.com/NJqP9rBR62

    — דוס מחמד ® (@bneibraki) October 29, 2014

    Ever since Israel took the Temple Mount from the Jordanian military during the 1967 Middle East War, the country's government has exerted close to an outright ban on organized Jewish prayer there. The area is the former site of the ancient Jewish Temple and is considered the holiest location in the faith; however, many Jews believe that they are actually prohibited from praying or even setting foot there until the Temple's restoration and the coming of a messianic era.

    To Muslims, the Mount is the Haram al-Sharif — the "Noble Sanctuary," site of Mohammad's ascent to heaven and the third-holiest site in their faith. It is currently home to large Islamic complex that dates to the 7th century, and includes such icons as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.

    In recent years, right-wing religious nationalist Jews have attempted to assert a Jewish right to worship at the site — and have been met with opposition from their own government, which realizes the issue could inflame the region's sizable Muslim population. The Israelis have reportedly banned Glick from the Temple Mount.

    The attack comes after an unusually tense week in Jerusalem. On October 22, two people were killed when a Hamas-linked individual rammed a car into a light rail station in the city, and there have been ongoing clashes in and around the Temple Mount over alleged Israeli limits on Muslim access to the site.

    SEE ALSO: "Chickens---gate" is all about Iran

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Obama Attacks Critics Of His Response To Ebola
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 8:58 PM:)


    President Barack Obama gave another speech urging people to remain calm about the Ebola virus Wednesday afternoon that passionately pushed back against critics who argue the US is not doing enough to halt the spread of the disease.

    "When I hear people talking about 'American leadership' and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership, and have us running in the opposite direction, and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated," Obama said.

    The White House has faced a storm of criticism on its opposition to strict quarantine procedures for returning US aid workers and a travel ban on visitors from the Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. Obama administration officials have repeatedly said such restrictions would discourage US healthcare professionals from providing aid to the West African nations that are the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic.

    "The only way to ensure that we are safe is to  make sure that we have dealt with the disease where right now it is most acute. So yes, we are likely to see a possible case elsewhere, outside of these countries, and that's true whether you adopt a travel ban, whether or not you adopt a quarantine. It's the nature of diseases," Obama said Wednesday.

    Standing next to a team of doctors and others who have worked with Ebola patients, Obama further said part of American leadership was defined by the US' willingness to take "sacrifices" for the greater good.

    "We're at our best when we're standing up and are taking responsibility — even when it requires us taking sacrifices. Especially when it requires us taking sacrifices," he said.

    Obama did not specifically name the numerous politicians and pundits who have accused the federal government of putting the public at risk. Prominent Republicans have called for a travel ban and some states — including New York and New Jersey — have implemented stricter policies for returning doctors and nurses from West Africa. However, the president suggested his critics were pushing back against the notion of treating US aid workers "like the heroes that they are.

    "We got hundreds of Americans from across the country — nurses, doctors, public healthcare workers, soldiers, engineers, mechanics — who are putting themselves on the front line of this fight. They represent citizenship, and patriotism, and public service at its best," Obama said. "When they come home, they deserve to be treated properly. They deserve to be treated like the heroes that they are."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • This Chart Shows How The US Military Is Responsible For Almost All The Technology In Your iPhone
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 8:02 PM:)

    Nearly all of the technology in many of the world's most ubiquitous electronic devices can be traced to a single, taxpayer-funded source: the US Department of Defense.

    In an article promoted by the European Commission today, Italian economist Mariana Mazzucato wrote that sparking the world's economies after a long recession will require greater and riskier investment from government. She used Apple's wildly popular handheld devices as a present-day example.

    The world's biggest company may have more cash on hand than many actual governments. But the technological breakthroughs behind its iconic iPods, iPhones, and iPads were funded almost exclusively by government agencies — and by one particular segment of one particular country's government.

    As the chart below demonstrates, there's little in these devices that doesn't owe its existence to the US Department of Defense in some form or another. 

    iPhone Technology Military Funding Chart PNG

    Later devices saw investments from the Navy for their GPS capabilities, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded Siri. In fact, the parent company of Siri's creator, which was acquired by Apple in 2010, still gets over half of its revenue from the Department of Defense, according to a report they published earlier this year.

    Highlighting an idea from her recent book on the relationship between the private and public sectors, Mazzucato explains that achieving missions like putting a man on the moon required "a confident ‘entrepreneurial state’ willing and able to take on the early, capital-intensive high risk areas which the private sector tends to fear."

    The US military was often the one taking "capital-intensive risks" that resulted in Apple's line of products. And the result is a family of devices so widely used that it's difficult to imagine the world without them.

    SEE ALSO: 15 astounding technologies DARPA is creating right now

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • A Top NYPD Official Just Said A Bunch Of Wild Stuff About Weaponizing Drones
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 7:57 PM:)

    drone (1)

    NYPD Deputy Chief Salvatore DiPace appeared on "CBS This Morning" Wednesday and discussed why the police are increasingly concerned drones could pose a terrorist threat.

    "Can a drone be weaponized? Definitely," DiPace said.

    He went on to outline the various scenarios where a drone could cause a "catastrophe."

    Drone Bombs

    DiPace said the NYPD is worried a terrorist could attack the city by arming a drone with explosives.

    "You can get a fixed wing drone, it's a model plane but it could be 10 feet tall, can travel up to 200 miles an hour. So if you flew it into a building, could it cause damage? If you packed it with explosives? Definitely," explained DiPace.

    Mid-Air Collisions

    NYPD officials told "CBS This Morning" there have been incidents where drones flew dangerously close to police aircraft. DiPace said they are very concerned about potential collisions between drones and helicopters or planes in the skies above the city. 

    "Worst case scenario, when it comes to drones, is that a drone collides with an aircraft over the city of New York, and we have a catastrophe," DiPace said.

    Chemical Attacks

    DiPace also discussed the possibility a drone could be used to deliver "a chemical agent into an area," particularly over a large crowd.

    "Special events take place, open venues, open stadiums. We've seen the drone modeled as a crop duster, so that's not to say a drone couldn't go over a crowd and spray a chemical over a crowd or a biological agent over a crowd. Very, very big concern," said DiPace.

    Watch the full "CBS This Morning" segment below.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • The Navy SEAL Who Killed Bin Laden Is Reportedly Going To Reveal Himself To The World
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 7:35 PM:)

    navy night vision

    Fox News will broadcast an exclusive interview with the Navy SEAL who shot dead Osama Bin Laden during the raid on Bin Laden's Pakistan compound on May 1, 2011.

    The SEAL, commonly referred to as  "The Shooter," will reveal himself for the first time almost two and a half years after the stealth Abbottabad mission that killed the man behind the 9/11 attacks and leader of the international terrorist network Al Qaeda

    According to the network's press release, Fox’s Peter Doocy will interview the SEAL over the course of a two-part documentary called “The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden.” 

    Although some information is known about "The Shooter," he is expected to share his first-hand account of the training, mishaps, and secretive details that went into Operation Neptune Spear, the mission to hunt and kill Bin Laden. 

    The documentary will air Nov. 11-12 at 10 p.m. ET.

    Here is the full press release courtesy of Fox News:

    FOX News Channel (FNC) will present a new documentary entitled The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden hosted by Washington correspondent Peter Doocy, on Tuesday, November 11th and Wednesday, November 12th from 10-11PM/ET.  The two-night presentation will feature an exclusive interview with the Navy SEAL who says he fired the shots that killed terrorist leader Usama Bin Laden.  In the special, he describes the events leading up to and during the historical raid that took place on May 1st, 2011.

    Revealing his identity and speaking out publicly for the first time, the Navy SEAL, also known as “The Shooter,” will share his story of training to be a member of America’s elite fighting force and explain his involvement in Operation Neptune Spear, the mission that killed Bin Laden.

    Osama Bin LadenThe documentary will provide an extensive, first-hand account of the mission, including the unexpected crash of one of the helicopters that night and why SEAL Team 6 feared for their lives.  It will also touch upon what was taking place inside the terrorist compound while President Obama and his cabinet watched from the White House.

    Offering never before shared details, the presentation will include “The Shooter’s” experience in confronting Bin Laden, his description of the terrorist leader’s final moments as well as what happened when he took his last breath. 

    Additionally, viewers will be offered a behind-the-scenes look at the secret ceremony where he donated the shirt he was wearing during the mission to the NationalSeptember 11 Memorial Museum in New York City.

    FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news.  A top five cable network, FNC has been the most-watched news channel in the country for more than 12 years and according to Public Policy Polling, is the most trusted television news source in the country. Owned by 21st Century Fox, FNC is available in more than 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape, routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.

    [Via The Blaze]

    NOW WATCH: These Facts About Texas That Will Blow Your Mind

    Please enable Javascript to watch this video

    SEE ALSO: 16 Fascinating New Details From The Man Who Killed Bin Laden

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • White House Fires Back At Boehner Over 'Chickens---gate' Criticism
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 5:49 PM:)

    Obama and Netanyahu

    The White House reacted with disdain on Wednesday after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted the administration for an anonymous "chickenshit" insult used to describe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called Boehner's reaction "pretty rich" because the speaker has also been known to curse.

    "It's an interesting observation by the speaker of the House, whom you all know, has a penchant for using some pretty salty language himself. So it's pretty rich to have a lecture about profanity from the speaker of the House," Earnest said.

    Pressed on whether Boehner has ever used profanity to describe a world leader, Earnest noted a Politico report quoting Boehner telling Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to "Go f— yourself."

    "He's reportedly said that about the majority leader of the United States Senate. As long as we're talking about respect, I think that's notable," Earnest said.

    Earlier in the day, Boehner released a statement declaring that he was frustrated after watching the White House "insult ally after ally." The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg published the anonymous "chickenshit" quote, attributed to a senior administration official, on Tuesday.

    For his part, Earnest strongly condemned the reported insult against Netanyahu and said the US and Israel have a "close relationship."

    "As a general matter not related to that story, I'll tell you that my job often involves taking the product that you just described and turning it into chicken salad," he said. "Comments like that do not reflect the administration's view and we do believe that they are counterproductive. The prime minister and the president have forged an effective partnership. They consult closely and frequently and did so as recently as this month here at the White House, in the Oval Office. There is a very close relationship between the United States and Israel."

    However, Earnest cautioned that the White House will be unafraid to criticize Israel when it believes the country is in the wrong.

    "But that close relationship does not mean that we paper over our differences. The fact is the United States has repeatedly made clear our view that settlement activity is illegitimate and only serves to complicate efforts to achieve a two-state solution in the region," he said.

    Update (2:42 p.m.): Reached for comment, Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith told Business Insider the speaker's criticism was not based on the anonymous official's profanity, but rather "the effect of it."

    “The concern is not the profanity per se, but the effect of it. These rhetorical attacks were directed toward a vital U.S. ally by the administration at a critical time for both nations, and do real harm. The president has a responsibility to personally condemn them, and he should," Smith said in a statement.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • 'Chickens---gate' Is All About Iran
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 5:27 PM:)


    The most generous interpretation of a "senior US official's" now-infamous smear of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is that the speaker was caught in a fit of pique.

    After all, the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg lists many of the less-than-flattering things that high-ranking Obama staffers have called Netanyahu over the years: "recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse." None are complimentary, but none have the same bluntly insulting power of "chickens---."

    If the quote itself is a gaffe, it's nevertheless consistent with what the US administration must recognize as a looming foreign policy challenge, perhaps one of the greatest of Obama's presidency.

    The administration is trying to finalize a nuclear deal with Iran that it knows the Israeli government is not going to like. The quotes in Goldberg's article could be a part of an effort to portray the Israelis as recalcitrant, unappreciative, or needlessly belligerent, in full knowledge of the rupture in relations — and political controversy inside the United States — that will come with the Iran deal Obama's team currently envisions.

    Interestingly, Goldberg's article came just a few days after one of the administration's top Iran negotiators laid out the goals and parameters of this eventual deal. On October 23, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman addressed a forum on the Iran nuclear negotiations at the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington. The administration must have known that the Israelis could not have liked what they heard.

    Sherman conceded that the negotiating process has been difficult, and promised that Tehran would never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon. But she explained that the current negotiations have a more technical and more limited objective than that: "Our goal now is to develop a durable and comprehensive arrangement that will effectively block all of Iran’s potential paths to fissile material for a nuclear weapon," she said. "Such an arrangement would bar Iran from producing fuel for a weapon with either uranium or plutonium."

    So even under a final agreement, Iran would retain enrichment capabilities — note the "for a nuclear weapon" modifier. It might even be able to continue research on advanced centrifuges or keep the infrastructure needed to enrich uranium to weapons-grade. It might even be allowed to enrich to weapons-grade, so long as its stockpiled remain below the 1000 or so kilograms of uranium needed for a warhead. 

    This vision of success is exactly what Netanyahu means when he warns of a deal that leaves Iran as a "threshold nuclear power," as he did during his speech before the UN General Assembly in September.

    But this isn't the only potential source of Israeli anxiety from Sherman's CSIS address. She said the US and the Iranians "have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable," and suggested that remaining points of contention were of the trivial and even slightly generic variety, at least in light of the overall trend towards an agreement: "Like any complicated and technically complex diplomatic initiative, this is a puzzle with many interlocking pieces," said Sherman.

    And perhaps most alarmingly from an Israeli perspective, Sherman described this drift towards closer US-Iranian relations as an unvarnished good for the Middle East and the planet at large

    obama netanyahu

    "The world is clearly better off now than it would have been if the leaders on both sides had ignored this opening," she said of the negotiating process. "With all that is going on in the Middle East today, an Iranian nuclear program that was not frozen but instead rushing full speed ahead toward larger stockpiles, more uranium enrichment capacity, the production of weapons-grade plutonium, and less transparency would hardly have been a stabilizing factor."

    The Israelis do not see it that way. They view the current Iran negotiating process, and the rebalancing of regional power that it represents, as one aspect of a larger and deeply worrying whole.

    The Israelis do not want to see a deal that they think will empower Iran, which is a leading patron for Hamas and Hezbollah, two regional terrorist groups committed to Israel's destruction. The Israelis are already juggling terrorism in the Sinai, the political and diplomatic aftermath of this summer's Gaza flare-up, the civil war in Syria, the creation of a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, ominous incidents on the border with Lebanon, and ongoing unrest in Jerusalem.

    The re-orientation of American policy towards Tehran is be a troubling added variable, highlighted by statements made by officials to the Wall Street Journal.

    Officials "said the intensive negotiations the U.S. has pursued with Iran since last year on the nuclear issue could help stabilize the Mideast and have improved understanding," WSJ reports.

    Furthermore, Sherman's speech shows that US officials believe they're close to a deal that the Israelis will find deeply unpalatable.

    The whisper campaign in Goldberg's article could be part of an effort to soften US public opinion for an upcoming and far more public crisis in relations between the two allies. Or it could be a reflection of behind-the-scenes dynamics — evidence that the Obama administration's attempts to reassure the Israelis in private haven't bore fruit.

    It could also be the residue of a growing spat between the US and Israel over the parameters of a final deal — the full ugliness of which only became public yesterday.

    Speculation aside, there was one very clear message in Goldberg's article that Netanyahu probably heard loud and clear.

    "It’s too late for him to do anything," one of Goldberg's anonymous official said of the possibility of Netanyahu launching an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. "Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”

    Inevitably, Israel is going to have to live with whatever deal Washington signs with Tehran — regardless of what it looks like. And Obama will have to deal with the political fallout of Israeli's disappointments and even anger over a final deal — regardless of what form that damage control will have to take.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how the US reacted to China's first nuclear test 50 years ago this month

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Boehner Goes Off On Obama After White House Official Calls Netanyahu 'Chickens—'
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 5:16 PM:)

    Barack Obama John Boehner

    House Speaker John Boehner blasted President Barack Obama and his administration the day after a senior administration official was quoted describing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "chickenshit."

    "When the president discusses Israel and Iran, it is sometimes hard to tell who he thinks is America’s friend and who he thinks is America’s enemy. The House of Representatives has no trouble drawing that distinction," Boehner said in a lengthy statement Wednesday afternoon.

    Boehner also hinted Obama should dismiss the official who made the remark to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, as part of a piece that warned of a full-blown crisis in US-Israel relations.

    "Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally," Boehner said. "I am tired of the administration’s apology tour. The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on."

    Asked about Boehner's comments Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, "It’s a little rich to have a lecture about profanity from the Speaker of the House."

    Boehner's comments were among the most biting from a slew of Republicans who criticized the White House on Wednesday. The Obama administration moved quickly to denounce the official's comments, calling them "inappropriate" and "counterproductive." However, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday the administration was not attempting to discover which official made the comments.

    Tensions between the US and Israel, who have long been allies, have increased dramatically under Obama and Netanyahu. For the last month, officials from both governments have privately and publicly criticized the other over the Palestinian peace process and settlement building in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. Netanyahu's government also staunchly opposes any possible deal on Iran's nuclear program.

    "The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit," the unidentified official told Goldberg of his attitude toward the peace process. The official also called Netanyahu a "coward" on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat.

    Boehner's full statement on the matter is below:

    "The strength of America’s leadership in the world is predicated on the universality of our values, including freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity, and our unwavering support for our friends and allies.  This unwavering support is not mere sentiment, but the bedrock of security alliances and security guarantees that have ensured peace and suppressed the desire for international arms races.  For the last six years, this long-standing and bipartisan framework has been tested by an Obama administration that has repeatedly chased after adversaries at the expense of core U.S. national security interests and the security, confidence, and trust of our allies.   

    “Nowhere is the fundamental failure more apparent than in the disrespectful rhetoric used time and again by this administration with respect to the special relationship the United States has with the state of Israel.  The administration has tried to convince Congress and the American people that we should trust the president’s pursuit of a nuclear deal with the government of Iran while refusing to address substantive concerns about the regime’s sponsorship of terrorism and abysmal human rights record.  The administration scoffs at the enduring willingness of members of both parties to maintain commitments to our friends and allies, contending that those commitments are mere sentiment, while all the while the administration and the president himself are taken aback that friends and allies won’t support him when he ignores them and, in some cases, belittles them. 

    “When the president discusses Israel and Iran, it is sometimes hard to tell who he thinks is America’s friend and who he thinks is America’s enemy. The House of Representatives has no trouble drawing that distinction. Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally.  I am tired of the administration’s apology tour. The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not.  It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on.” 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • It Looks Like Jeb Bush May Run For President — Here's What He Believes
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 5:09 PM:)


    For a period time, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) seemed like he would ultimately decline to continue the family's presidential dynasty by mounting his own campaign for the White House in 2016. He quietly started his own private equity firm as other contenders stumped in Iowa and New Hampshire and his wife was often said to be opposed to the campaign.

    However, perceptions shifted on Sunday when his son, George P. Bush, said his father was "moving forward" with a 2016 bid.

    "I think it's more than likely that he's giving this a serious thought," his son, who is running for office in Texas, said on ABC's "This Week."

    Along with his son's comments, several other signs point to Bush seriously considering a run for the White House. In September, the Wall Street Journal reported Bush's inner circle has been quietly telling top Republicans to avoid committing to other 2016 candidates. In October, Bush said his wife is actually "supportive." Bush has also ramped up his efforts on behalf of GOP candidates in this year's midterm elections. And, as recently as Tuesday, Bush was taking shots at President Barack Obama's leadership on the Ebola crisis.

    According to The Tennessean, Bush also commented on his potential 2016 campaign at the same Tuesday event where he took shots at the president. Bush said he would spend a few months discussing it with his family before following "what's in my heart."

    "I'm not like really freaking out about this decision, to be honest with you," Bush said.

    If Bush does run, he'll shake up the 2016 field. The brother and son of the two most recent GOP presidents, Bush would likely absorb much of the political establishment's support. Furthermore, his stances on the issues generally align with the business-oriented establishment over the Tea Party when the two are in conflict.

    Foreign Policy

    Like most Republicans, Bush has few kind words for Obama's actions overseas. At the Tuesday event, Bush reportedly called Obama's foreign policy record an "unmitigated disaster" that lacks guiding principles,  especially regarding the jihadist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS).

    In terms of a broader foreign policy doctrine, DefenseNews reported in April that veteran national security officials and political observers "say his philosophy seems to align more with his realist father, George H.W. Bush, than his neoconservative brother, George W. Bush."

    "I think you’ll see a return, if he were to get the nomination, to the old-school classic realist Republican philosophy," Larry Korb, a former Pentagon official, told the publication. "He probably would fit the mold of his father, James Baker, and Henry Kissinger."


    Bush isn't an absolutist on tax increases. According to the Washington Times, Bush said in 2012 he could accept a fiscal deal that included $1 in tax increases for every $10 in spending cuts — a position that could get him hammered in a charged Republican primary. In response, Bush's spokeswoman issued a statement to the Times defending his record.

    "As Florida's chief executive, Gov. Bush cut taxes by more than $19 billion dollars for families and businesses. At the same time, budget reserves in the state rose from $1.3 billion in 1998 to $9.8 billion in 2006," she said. "His record on cutting taxes and exercising strong fiscal discipline speaks for itself."


    Bush has spent much of his post-gubernatorial career focused on on education reform through the nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education, which he chairs. The nonprofit backs a "reform agenda" that includes, among other things, access to charter schools, outcome-based funding, and "rigorous academic standards, such as the Common Core State Standards." Common Core has been fiercely criticized by some conservatives as an intrusion by the federal government.

    "We need a system driven from the bottom-up by families, a system that is organized around the individual success of each and every student. We need a system that recognizes and rewards incredible teachers, and ensures they are in classrooms with students who most need their skills," Bush said in an October press release from his nonprofit.


    Bush's biggest deviation from the modern Republican brand, however, may come on the issue of immigration. Notably, according to PolitiFact, Bush has said "conflicting things over time about eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants."

    "You have to deal with this issue. You can’t ignore it. And so, either a path to citizenship, which I would support and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives; Or a path to legalization, a path to residency of some kind," Bush said in 2012. However, in his subsequent book, Bush reportedly backed off on the citizenship issue.

    Regardless, Bush has struck a moderate tone on immigration. After the recent crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexican border, Bush urged his party to avoid using that controversy as an "excuse" to delay on comprehensive reform.

    Social Issues

    Bush appears to more or less have adopted the standard Republican platform on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriages.

    In 2006, Bush said he was leaning towards constitutional a ban on gay marriages, after previously arguing it was unnecessary, according to the Orlando Sentinel. However, Bush has not been harsh in his recent rhetoric, reportedly saying in 2013, "If people love their children with all their heart and soul and that’s what they do and that’s how they organize their life that should be held up as examples for others to follow because we need it."

    On abortion, RealClearPolitics reported that, as governor, Bush further supported a controversial "choose life" specialty license plate and "made headlines by asking a circuit court to appoint a representative for the fetus of a mentally disabled rape victim." Even more prominently, that same year, Bush inserted himself into the debate over euthanasia by pushing for doctors to keep vegetative patient Terry Schiavo on life support.


    In a presidential campaign that is already shaping up to be a debate between different factions of the Republican Party — notably the Tea Party firebrand politics of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the libertarian leanings of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) — Bush seems likely to provide GOP voters with a more middle of the road option.

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article3386681.html#storylink=cpy

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Here's Why Nicaragua Is Unbelievably Safe Despite Being Impoverished
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 4:57 PM:)


    Central America, long engulfed by bloodshed and gang warfare, has come to be known as one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Nicaragua, however, is now one of the safest countries in the Southern hemisphere despite being poor and having a bloody past, according to a new NPR report.

    This is thanks to the softer approach the country has taken to fighting crime. From the NPR report:

    While Nicaragua's neighbors have embraced so-called "mano dura" or iron fist policies, Nicaragua has taken a softer approach.

    The Nicaraguan police, for example, pacified the Dimitrov neighborhood by having the community patrol itself and by having police officers mediate talks between gang members often after soccer games.

    The government has also developed a program that sends kids to school instead of prison. A new youth training center in Managua helps high-risk youth from bad neighborhoods leave or avoid gangs by educating them in practical fields. Currently, only 70 Nicaraguan juveniles are in jail.

    The Economist pointed out in 2012 that Nicaragua's murder rate was 13 per 100,000, which had remained unchanged in five years. By comparison, the murder rate in neighboring Honduras was 82 per 100,000.

    Despite the fact that it has become safer, Nicaragua is still the poorest country in Central America and the second-poorest in the Western Hemisphere, according to the CIA.

    SEE ALSO: How New York City Got To Be Safe Again

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>
  • Meet the Republicans Who Are Raising Hell Over Kansas' Conservative 'Experiment'
    (Politics - October 29 2014 - 3:41 PM:)

    Paul Davis Wint WinterOVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Paul Davis, like a lot of other people in Kansas, saw the clip. 

    "The Daily Show" recently came to the state, and Kansas was the punchline. The resulting segment was full of the typical satirical touches, including a "Wizard of Oz" cutaway.

    "Frankly, I’m getting tired," Davis told Business Insider, "of watching Kansas be made fun of by late-night talk shows. And I think most Kansans have had about enough of it."

    Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor in Kansas (as well as its House Minority Leader), is mounting an unusually strong challenge to incumbent Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

    Brownback was once viewed as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. But he has plunged in polls amid controversy over some of the economic and tax policies — which he once termed a "real, live experiment" — he has instituted during his first term as governor. According to recent polls, Davis leads a razor-thin race by a single percentage point.

    Some of Davis' staunchest backers in The Sunflower State are a robust group of moderate Republicans fed up with Brownback's agenda. Which doesn't surprise Davis in the least.

    "We traditionally have had a model that Republicans and Democrats have used to grow the economy," Davis said in an interview. "I think a lot of voters are just saying right now that Gov. Brownback just doesn't understand how we've done things in Kansas and how we've been successful. And that's why we're seeing him in a lot of trouble."

    'I'll see what I can do'

    By January, Wint Winter had already made up his mind. 

    Winter, a former Republican state senator, did not want his party's incumbent governor, Republican Sam Brownback, to win a second term. And he was going to do whatever he could to stop it.

    In January, Winter took a sabbatical from Peoples Bank in Overland Park, where he works as the CEO and general counsel. He had successfully helped restore the bank's stability following the financial crisis.

    Paul Davis Kansas

    He took a trip to Africa, but he spent the bulk of his sabbatical working and planning. It was during this period that he met with Davis, the eventual Democratic nominee for governor.

    Winter asked Davis what he could do to help. Davis wanted to know more about a group Winter belongs to, Traditional Republicans for Common Sense. The group was formed in 2012 in an attempt to ward off special-interest groups — some of which were aligned with the Wichita, Kansas-native Koch brothers — that had entered into state races in an effort to support Republicans sympathetic to Brownback's policies.

    But Traditional Republicans for Common Sense had decided not to endorse in the governor's race.

    "Gee, Wint, if you can get them to endorse me or something, that'd be great," Davis told Winter.

    "I'll see what I can do," Winter said.

    That's when he and former Senate president Dick Bond got the idea to start up a new group, Republicans for Kansas Values. Their goal was two-fold: either find a Republican who could compete with Brownback in the primary, or see what Davis had to offer.

    Nine months later, Republicans for Kansas Values has more than 500 total members — including more than 180 former elected Republican officials. Winter, the founder and de-facto head of the group, says the group is fed up with three "I-words" he says describe Brownback — Incompetence, Intolerance, and Intimidation. 

    "Of course, politics is a grueling activity," Winter said in an interview in his office in Overland Park. "There are winners and losers. The winners get to project their policies. They're due a lot of respect.

    "But they aren't generals in a war where they cut off their captives' heads and send everybody to prison camp. So Sam's view of governing is different than a lot of people's."

    Sam Brownback

    Two "P-words" sum up why the group lost faith in Brownback — his policies (in particular a package of tax cuts), and what the group calls a "purge." 

    The governor's tax plan was aggressive, to be sure. Among other things, it reduced overall income taxes and eliminated income taxes on small-business owners of qualified limited-liability corporations, "sub-chapter S" corporations, and sole proprietorships. The moderate Republicans thought the plan went too far and would fail to spur economic growth. Instead, they argued, it would cause Kansas' budget to become unbalanced and necessitate severe budget cuts. It could even, they feared, bring about credit downgrades by Moody's and Standard and Poor's — an eventuality that did in fact come to pass.

    In all, 14 moderate Republicans revolted against the plan. It first died in the Senate, but was subsequently passed amid some confusion and legislative meandering that the moderates claim was executed in bad faith. Brownback denies that charge.

    Either way, eight of the moderate Republicans were subsequently defeated in the 2012 primaries by more conservative challengers — sometimes by blowout margins. The moderates say Brownback actively supported their purge.

    The campaigns were unlike anything Kansas state races had ever seen. Groups like the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Wichita-native Koch brothers (who have become a chief Democratic villain in this year's elections), helped rocket campaign spending to record levels.

    Dick Kelsey, a former state senator who says he voted with Brownback more than 90% of the time while in the Senate, said he typically spent about $35,000 to $40,000 on his re-election campaigns.

    During the 2012 race, he said, the spending against him reached more than $200,000. He couldn't even try to beat back what he calls "smears" that alleged he'd failed to pay some taxes. He recalled total strangers coming up to him and asking, "What's wrong with you?"

    "The nature of politics in Kansas has been poisoned for the next generation," Kelsey says. 

    Steve Morris, the former Senate president who served under Brownback, was another target of the purge.

    "None of us were used to that kind of campaigning — the 'maybe it's true, maybe it's not.' It was just an onslaught of despicable attacks," Morris said. "But it didn't surprise me. The guy has a driven agenda, and it's his way or the highway."

    Their candidate

    Winter spent February through May working the phones. 

    One by one, Winter and others started to make progress. Morris and Kelsey were among the first to sign on, and they helped Winter and Bond recruit others to the cause. By July, the group decided it would have its coming-out party. Less than 24 hours before its first event, it secured its 100th commitment from a Republican. 

    "It was kind of like Tom Sawyer, getting the fence painted," Winter said.

    Paul Davis Kansas

    At that event at the end of July, the group formally endorsed Davis for governor. It hadn't always been a foregone conclusion — Winter considered trying to tap Morris to mount a primary challenge, and he thought about running himself. Now, he says Davis is someone who, "today, is the right man for the job."

    "Paul's a product of the Kansas Democratic party that is a moderate party," Winter said. "We don't produce Barack Obamas. We don't produce the liberal people in Congress. Paul's very competent, very thoughtful, and is one of a number of people who would be very good alternatives to Sam Brownback."

    Davis didn't necessarily think he'd be here, either. He got his start in politics while an undergraduate at the University of Kansas, scoring an internship with then-Kansas Rep. Jim Slattery. In 1994, he joined the Slattery campaign for governor, which ended in landslide defeat.

    Now 42 years of age, Davis has been in the House of Representatives since 2003. But running for governor was never at the top of his to-do list.

    He didn't "aspire to this," one source close to the campaign told Business Insider. "He saw this as an opportunity, saw things were really bad, and stepped up to the challenge."

    Part of what spurred Davis to enter the race was his background as the son of two teachers who taught him that a good education is the single most important predictor of a good quality of life. Now, he has a 4-year-old son starting public school next year, and he is alarmed by the spending cuts to education.

    "I want him to have the same kind of opportunities that I did — that so many Kansans have had," Davis said.

    Education is No. 1 on a "Top 10"-style list Republicans for Kansas Values released recently. It was emailed to reporters as a file attachment entitled "Why Brownback is bad." 

    Among other things highlighted in the document, per-pupil spending on K-12 students plunged from $4,012 in fiscal-year 2011, when Brownback took office, to $3,852 in fiscal-year 2015. Funding for public university students has declined about $200 per year since 2011, while tuition has gone up almost $500 over that span. For the first time in a long while, no Kansas public university made the Princeton Review’s list of "Best Value Colleges."

    Carol Linnens, a former Republican state Board of Education member and a member of Republicans for Kansas Values, told Business Insider that schools are being squeezed, especially in rural districts. Music and art are being cut, teachers are paying out of pocket for supplies, and parent fees are up.

    "Schools are the answer to everything," Linnens said. "Everything. Sam has been very short-sighted on this. And Paul knows what it takes."

    If elected, Davis promised, he would have "probably the most bipartisan administration" in the history of the state. The fact that so many Republicans have openly and warmly embraced him gives some credence to the claim, and Winter believes a Davis administration would be more in line with the moderate tradition of most Kansans. 

    Winter was interviewed on "The Daily Show" when it came to town a few weeks ago. It was, he said, the "hardest interview I've ever done."

    But defeating Brownback, he said, would be well worth the effort. The status quo is simply unsustainable.

    "Think about it. Close your eyes and imagine this," Winter said, then following his own command. 

    "What if I told you, I'm going to describe a state, and you're going to have to tell me whether it's run by Republicans or Democrats. And I'm going to tell you three things about that state. No. 1, they spend more than they bring in. No. 2, their credit has been downgraded. No. 3, their borrowing has increased."

    He doesn't wait for answer. 

    "You would say Democrats!"

    Join the conversation about this story »

    > <>

More Stories