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Cisco names Chuck Robbins as CEO, John Chambers stays as chairman

cisco-600xx3183-2122-0-0by Cromwell Schubarth

Cisco Systems named Chuck Robbins as John Chambers’ successor as CEO, effective at the end of July.
Robbins, the San Jose company’s senior vice president of world-wide operations, joined Cisco in 1997, two years after Chambers became CEO.
Chambers, 65, will remain as executive chairman. In his time the company grew into the world’s dominant networking equipment company, going from $1.2 billion in annual revenue 20 years ago to about $48 billion today.

“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco’s next chief executive officer,” Chambers said in a press release.

The move comes at a time when Cisco is facing what some consider to be its toughest challenge, staying on top as the network and infrastructure market it has dominated shifts from a hardware focus to a software focus.
Robbins was a key player in two of Cisco’s biggest acquisitions in recent years, done to help it ward off the challenge of cloud-based rivals. He was executive sponsor of the $1.2 billion purchase of San Francisco-based Meraki in 2012 and the $2.7 billion purchase of data security company Sourcefire in 2013.
But in addition to the challenge for software upstarts, Cisco is facing reduced purchasing by telecommunications carriers and lower demand in China.
The company is also moving to position itself as the continued networking leader as data demands are expected to mushroom from connected automobiles, household and commercial equipment that make up the “Internet of Things.”
Board members Roderick McGeary and Francine Katsoudas said in a blog post that the search for a new CEO has been going on for the past 16 months.
“Chuck will both accelerate what makes Cisco an undeniably great company and also drive the transformation to carry the company to a whole new level,” they wrote. “Chuck has the full confidence and trust of the Cisco Board as we enter this next chapter.”
Chambers’ time at the helm was not without its rough patches, particularly after a failed move to consumer electronics that was highlighted by the $590 million purchase of Flip video camera maker Pure Digital in 2009. Two years later, Chambers cut that effort short and began a restructuring that eliminated nearly 8,000 jobs in two years.
At one point during the dotcom bubble, Cisco was the most valuable company in the world with a market cap of $555 billion. It’s market cap today is around $149 billion.
Cisco stock on Monday was relatively unchanged from its Friday closing price of $29.13. It has risen about 6 percent this year and is up about 30 percent in the past 12 months.

 

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Happy May Day, which used to be green instead of red

by Lloyd Alder

This is a reprise of an May Day post written earlier.

The first of May used to be a happy celebration of spring. According to The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of MAY DAY, everybody was into it.

The Greeks had their sacred groves, the Druids their oak worship, the Romans their games in honor of Floralia. In Scotland the herdsman formed circles and danced around fires. The Celts lit bonfires in hilltops to honor their god, Beltane. In the Tyrol people let their dogs bark and made music with pots and pans. In Scandinavia fires were lit and the witches came out.

Everywhere people “went a-Maying” by going into the woods and bringing back leaf, bough, and blossom to decorate their persons, homes, and loved ones with green garlands. Outside theater was performed with characters like “Jack-in-the-Green” and the “Queen of the May.” Trees were planted. Maypoles were erected. Dances were danced. Music was played. Drinks were drunk, and love was made. Winter was over, spring had sprung.

Harpers Magazine coverage of Haymarket Massacre/Public Domain

Really, everyone was having such a good time, until the industrial revolution and the long hours that made a thing such as May Day impossible for most workers. In 1886 there was a nationwide call to limit working hours to 8 hours a day; On May 1, in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, it turned into a debacle. Dynamite was thrown; Police reacted by shooting into the crowd, killing four; a trial was held and four workers were hanged, who came to be considered martyrs for the labor movement. From that day on, it became a day of protest about workers’ rights. In 1889 the Second International declared it to be International Workers Day. The Russian revolution started on it, which really turned the day from green to red in the minds of Americans, many of whom do not think much of the labor movement. Everybody has been trying to kill it ever since.

© Veteran Owned Business

In 1921, in response to the Bolshevik revolution, May 1 was observed as Americanization day. In 1958, President Eisenhower declared it to be Loyalty Day, ” a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.” That’s where it remains today in America.

Village Scene with Dance around the May Pole, Bruegel./Public Domain

It was so much more fun before it got political. In honor of how it used to be, get outside today and admire a tree.

Tags: Holidays | Wayback Machine

 

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Not another Bush or Clinton: political dynasties reach for ‘regular Joe’ status

Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush – the US is overflowing with dynastic ambition. Why are Americans still getting the same names on the ballot?

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George Bush Sr, George W and Jeb play golf at the Cape Arundel club in Maine in 2001. Photograph: Corbis/Reuters

Dan Roberts in Kennebunkport, Maine

 

A short stroll from Walker’s Point, where the ancestral estate of the Bush dynasty juts out commandingly into the Atlantic ocean, there is a political campaign slogan in urgent need of fresh clarification.

“Barbara’s husband for president,” joked the original badge from George HW Bush’s 1992 campaign – still proudly on display in the Bush family’s local lobster restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine.

That is, at least, until someone helpfully scrawled over the word ‘husband’ and added ‘son’ instead; updating the joke when George W Bush ran for the White House eight years later.

Within days, it will be time to update it again, to “Barbara’sother son”. Jeb Bush is set to announce – against his mother’s initial advice – that he will be joining the family tradition and seeking the Republican party nomination for president.

The Bush predilection for power is nothing new. Jeb’s grandfather, Prescott, was a US senator. Great-grandfather George Herbert Walker, developer of the Kennebunkport promontory that still bears his name, also founded a Wall Street bank.

But New England is overflowing with enough dynastic ambition right now to make even scions of the gilded age blush.

In nearby New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton has been retracing the steps of her husband in the Democratic primary race.

Ahead in the polls by more than 50 points over a clutch of possible rivals who haven’t even confirmed yet if they will dare run against her, the former first lady is touring furniture factories in towns like Keene, where, she confides, she once celebrated her 44th birthday helping Bill in a campaign that ultimately kicked Barbara’s husband out of office.

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“My husband was here 15 years ago,” Clinton was overheard telling kitchen workers at a Concord technical college as she tries to break the ice.

With Clinton’s experience as a secretary of state, senator and previous candidate, there is much more to her presidential résumé than the family name, but even Clinton’s biggest fans admit she lacks her husband’s common touch when it comes to retail politics.

Combine this with a tactical decision to withhold any major policy pronouncements until later in the campaign, and Clinton’s heavily manicured tour for now takes on more of the appearance of a royal visit than anything as grubby as appealing for votes.

“The press will have plenty of time to ask her questions,” her campaign chairman, John Podesta, told PBS recently, after complaints she was too aloof to even field enquiries from the media. “She wants to go directly to voters to listen to their stories, to understand what the challenges of their lives are, and that’s why she’s back in the van and on her way to New Hampshire.”

Driving to small-town venues – in a vehicle nicknamed the Scooby van by her campaign staff, but a good deal smarter in reality – is central to an effort to defuse the effects of family fame and associated reputation for snootiness.

It is hard to imagine many other politicians worrying about the optics of flying, but America’s new aristocrats appear more aware than most that privilege and fame is both their biggest asset and an awkward handicap.

“Everybody knows me as George’s boy. Barbara’s boy. W’s brother,” Bush complained to party activists in New Hampshire the previous Friday. “We’re not always like our brother or sister or mom and dad. We all have our own unique DNA and our own life experiences.”

But rather than run from the family name entirely, the former Florida governor is appealing instead to his party’s sense of noblesse oblige – crafting a new version of his brother’s somewhat faded brand of compassionate conservatism.

“I am blessed … It turns out I won the lottery, and I wish that everybody would have the kind of upbringing I had,” Jeb Bush explains at the event in Nashua. “My set of values believes that the most vulnerable in our society should be in the front of the line, not in the back of the line. And Republicans, I think, do better when we show our consciousness to do the exact same.”

Even those explicitly running as outsiders – crusaders against the “Washington machine”, as Kentucky senator Rand Paul puts it – have family connections to thank for their prominence.

Senator Paul’s father, Ron, may not have made it as far in his presidential campaigns as the two Bushes and Bill Clinton, but he bequeathed to his son a powerful legacy of goodwill among libertarian-leaning voters, without which it is hard to imagine him getting as far as he has done.

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Rand Paul with his father Ron at a campaign event in 2011. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP

Ironically, all three of these dynastic candidates are seeking to distinguish themselves by stressing their credentials as cheerleaders for social mobility and change.

“Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” says Clinton.

Bush argues that America will succeed only if “more and more and more people have a chance at earned success”.

“So often, we pick politicians who all look alike,” adds Paul, also in Nashua. “They all sound alike. They all dress alike. And guess what? Nothing ever changes!”

It is true that the clans of 2016 are hardly the first political families to repeatedly seek high office. John, Robert and Ted Kennedy also collected two Senate seats and a presidency between them.

Last November’s midterm election witnessed an extraordinary array of established political dynasties vying for seats in Congress: the Nunn and Purdue families of Georgia, the Begichs of Alaska, the Pryors of Arkansas, the Landrieus of Louisiana and the Lundergans in Kentucky – to name just the races in swing states.

But the very real chance of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush both winning their parties’ presidential nominations in the same year is another leap entirely, raising the prospect of voters having no choice but to choose from members of two families that have already clocked up two decades at the top of US government since 1988.

Such unprecedented elitism in a country that prides itself as the “exceptional” democracy has begun to provoke uncomfortable comparisons from unlikely quarters.

“If the presidency were to pass back and forth between two or three families in any Latin American nation, we would call it an oligarchy,” wrote Gary Hart – a Democrat who might well have beaten George Bush Sr were it not for a sex scandal.

It has not gone unnoticed abroad, either. Clinton’s campaign has already become a source of endless fascination for the foreign media – attracting 140 journalists from around the world so far and adding another public relations headache for aides who have been forced to dramatically ration reporting space inside her events.

Yet the response in Washington has been strangely muted.

Though some presidential rivals, such as Republican Marco Rubio, are deliberately selling themselves as fresh faces, the consensus among Beltway pundits is that it might even help Bush and Clinton if the other ran – since their dynastic handicaps would cancel each other out.

A more cynical explanation might be that the incestuous political media world is too full of its own privilege to be that shocked. Prominent examples of family connections certainly abound: NBC’s congressional reporter is the son of the influential Meet the Press host Tim Russert; MSNBC’s flagship morning show is co-hosted by the daughter of former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; and CNN’s morning rival is co-hosted by the son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo and the brother of current New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

But the cosiness of Washington’s political and media class may just as easily be regarded as a reflection of modern America.

One of the reasons Bush and Clinton have stressed the need to focus on “everyday Americans” is a growing consensus in both parties that the American dream is in trouble – that rising income inequality is choking off social mobility.

Could the current lack of mobility among presidential families simply be an extreme manifestation of the very thing they claim to want to tackle?

Academics who have studied the relationship closely say the reality is more complicated than the soundbites of this year’s presidential campaigns suggest. Widening income inequality in US is real enough – though more so among the very rich than the very poor – but evidence that this is leading to reduced chances of people climbing the social ladder, perhaps even all the way to the White House, is harder to come by.

“There are a bunch of papers now that show the United States isn’t all that different from Germany, France, Britain or even Sweden,” says Christopher Jencks, a leading social policy professor in the field at Harvard University.

“The revisionist line on this is going to end up being that there really isn’t that much evidence that we are much worse than these other countries.”

Which is not to say that politicians cannot or should not do anything about rising inequality for other reasons.

For Jencks and other liberal academics studying social mobility, the biggest area of potential concern is how soaring student debt is deterring poorer families from going to college and earning more in future: precisely the area that Hillary Clinton is being pushed hardest to address by those on the left of her party who want bold promises to subsidise tuition fees.

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Hillary and Bill Clinton step across the South Lawn at the White House in September 1998. Photograph: Richard Ellis/Zuma Press/Corbis

It may also simply be the case that the peculiarities of choosing presidential candidates say more about America’s broken political system than they do about whether the American dream is broken, too.

One factor in the swift rise of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush in 2016 has been their ability to draw on advisers and donors built over many years by their predecessors.

Though her campaign is officially only a few days old, Clinton’s team has already been able to assemble more staff on the ground in New Hampshire than almost all the Republicans combined. Some 19 of the 21 experts identified as helping Jeb Bush on foreign policy worked for his father and brother.

“Running for president now starts a lot earlier and it requires this enormous organisation,” argues Jencks. “If you have already got relatives who have done a lot of this stuff, your ability to put that organisation together is a lot greater. The existence of these primaries makes inheriting the machine more of an asset because the primaries are playing a bigger role since the 1970s.”

Above all, the family name is a shortcut to national recognition, something that the Marco Rubios of the race may need months and many millions of dollars to match – although the inherited advantage may evaporate as fast as Clinton’s did in 2008 if newcomers can gain enough momentum to turn voters against the dynasties. That is a factor Barack Obama used to great effect and Rubio and others will try to emulate this time.

“Brands have become more important,” adds Jencks. “It’s a huge advantage to have everyone know who you are. You don’t have to spend as much money to get there.”

Back in Kennebunkport, it’s certainly clear that the Bush dynasty has a brand. Much of the town’s thriving tourism industry trades off its proximity the family summer residence.

Yet the Bush ties to socially liberal Maine have also helped balance out the family’s more conservative roots in Texas.

In the Kennebunkport general store, HB Provisions, there is still a surprised delight that George HW Bush agreed to serve as a witness at the same-sex marriage of its two owners, Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, in 2013 – a scenario that has flummoxed many candidates in the current crop of conservatives.

But the biggest shock is that a family dynasty that has proved so ruthlessly effective at capturing political power can otherwise prove so “surprisingly normal”.

“We were just chit-chatting away,” recalls local baker Ellen Hansbury. “Then someone came up to me and said: ‘Hey, do you know who that is? That’s Jeb Bush’s wife!’”

A clue, perhaps, to the next campaign badge being readied.

 

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Earth Day: The History of a Movement

Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.  Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.

Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.

The Idea

 

The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.

Earth Day Today

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. It used the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a talking drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, and hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy.

Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change. In spite of the challenge, for its 40th anniversary, Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment. Earth Day Network brought 225,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, amassed 40 million environmental service actions toward its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®, launched an international, 1-million tree planting initiative with Avatar director James Cameron and tripled its online base to over 900,000 community members.

The fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more victories and successes into our history. Discover energy you didn’t even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grassroots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.

“Frequently Asked Questions”

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day is honored around the world on April 22, although larger events such as festivals and rallies are often organized for the weekends before or after April 22. Many communities also observe Earth Week or Earth Month, organizing a series of environmental activities throughout the month of April.

Why do we need an Earth Day?

Because it works! Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities. Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in our campaigns every year.

What can I do for Earth Day?

The possibilities for getting involved are endless! Volunteer. Go to a festival. Install solar panels on your roof. Organize an event in your community. Change a habit. Help launch a community garden. Communicate your priorities to your elected representatives. Do something nice for the Earth, have fun, meet new people, and make a difference. But you needn’t wait for April 22! Earth Day is Every Day. To build a better future, we all must commit to protect our environment year-round.

What is Earth Day Network?

Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes year-round environmental citizenship and action, worldwide. Earth Day Network is a driving force, steering environmental awareness around the world. Through Earth Day Network, activists connect, interact and impact their communities, and create positive change in local, national, and global policies. EDN’s international network reaches over 22,000 organizations in 192 countries, while the domestic program assists over 30,000 educators, coordinating thousands of community development and environmental protection activities throughout the year.

 

 

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The bench is out there: Democrats hunt for a new generation – and Clinton’s VP

 

As 40-something conservatives line up for the White House and Hillary Clinton stumbles over issues that swing young voters, liberals swear help is on the way

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Julian Castro is seen as an early contender to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. “She needs a little tomorrow to offset yesterday,” a longtime friend tells the Guardian. “He provides a perfect complement if she needs one.” Photograph via hudopa / flickr

 

The campaign for US president is barely a week old, but 43-year-old Marco Rubio added a new wrinkle with three words: “Yesterday is over.”

In declaring his candidacy the day after Hillary Clinton began the race for the White House in earnest, the Florida senator previewed a key line of attack that Republicans are already using against the 67-year-old Clinton, casting her as a “leader of yesterday”.

Analysis Hillary Clinton: six big questions liberals want her to answer – now

Immigration reform, LGBT rights and dark money are sources of concern for many on the left as the Democrat’s campaign gets off the ground

But in contrasting himself – and what on Friday night he called people “like myself” – with the decades-old familiarity of a potential Clinton-Bush redux election that could have symptoms of early-onset voter fatigue, Rubio was also demonstrating a broader argument from Republicans about what they say no star Democrat has right now: youth.

Clinton and other prospective contenders for the 2016 Democratic nomination, such as vice-president Joe Biden, former Virginia senator Jim Webb and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, are all within a few years of 70, critics have warned. Now,as a historically young Republican field shapes up alongside Clinton in New Hampshire this weekend, many voters are wondering not just about who else might run against her but where all the young, rising liberal politicians have gone.

Thirtysomething aides in Washington and political veterans across the country, however, swear the Democrats don’t have an age problem – the next generation, they say, is simply waiting in the wings.

Indeed, as Clinton’s confidantes and campaign wranglers try to fend off concerns that the former secretary of state will struggle connecting with young voters, one of the left-wing leaders emerging from Barack Obama’s administration is already favored in some circles to be her running mate.

“It’s a bit of mythology that the Democrats don’t have a bench,” a national Democratic operative told the Guardian, insisting that the party’s candidates-in-waiting are not just young but also diverse. “There are folks out there, but there isn’t an opening in the primary in a way that there was even in 2008. [Clinton] is very popular with primary voters and cleared the field by nature by that.”

The operative, who requested anonymity to speak freely about national Democratic priorities, added that young voters are “the ultimate values voters” – preferring issues over parties.

“Hillary Clinton is very popular with young voters in poll after poll and it’s because of where she stands on the issues, plus there is the historic nature about her candidacy that young people gravitate towards as well,” the operative said.

The historic appeal of a first woman president

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Hillary Clinton posed for selfies and visited a community college in Iowa during her first week on the campaign trail – and found herself on the defensive regarding issues like immigration and same-sex marriage, which can make young voters susceptible to switching allegiances. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Neera Tanden, a longtime Clinton adviser and president of the Center for American Progress, honed in on that history – the potential for a first woman president – as a generational change of its own.

“I’ve always marveled about how we’ve talked past Hillary’s gender – it’s also representative of diversity and inclusiveness to have a woman president,” Tanden told the Guardian. “I don’t think we should just quickly cast a woman president as not being a fundamental change.”

Polling shows that voters, particularly those aged between 18 and 29, are warming up to the historic element of Clinton’s candidacy – an element many Clinton watchers believe she downplayed to her detriment in the 2008 campaignbut that her team has openly embraced this time around.

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New Jersey senator Cory Booker, 45, video-chats with college students about net neutrality. Photograph via sencorybooker / flickr

Clinton also wallops every potential primary opponent for president in most polls, an advantage that has kept many challengers at bay – including younger politicians who have plenty of time to make a run for the White House.

Democratic aides, who strongly dispute the charge that their party lacks younger candidates who might seek the White House or a powerful Senate seat in leading a potential majority comeback in Congress, listed off a host of prolific Democrats under the age of 50: New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and his brother, Texas representative Joaquin Castro.

Had Clinton not entered the race on Sunday, they argued, any one of those names could have entered the fray.

The threat of issue-addicted young voters

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Hillary Clinton, as her campaign launch video presented her – and as Saturday Night Live did. Photograph: YouTube; NBC

Democrats also pointed out that Republicans have struggled to appeal to so-called millennials because of their positions on women’s reproductive rights as well as same-sex marriage and immigration.

While the majority of young voters lean Democratic, some political watchers and pollsters have warned that Clinton doesn’t necessarily have millennials wrapped up in 2016 after struggling in 2008 with a voting bloc that twice proved critical in boosting Obama.

The more younger voters get to know a candidate, pollsters say, the more susceptible they become to switching allegiances. And what many know of Clinton is largely drawn from the image projected in the media – less cable news than the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, which last saw a Clinton impersonator growling in a “selfie” video to voters.

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Martin O’Malley, 52, at a marriage equality event while Maryland governor in 2012. “I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” he told the Guardian on Thursday. Photograph via governoromalley / flickr

Getting out ahead of the skepticism, Clinton kicked off her campaign on a two-day listening tour with voters in the early battleground state of Iowa; she will head to New Hampshire for similar events next week. In addition toembracing a more populist rhetoric with echoes of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, she has also shifted her stance on same-sex marriage and immigration reform.

In a sign that Clinton herself could be vulnerable to a challenge from the left on those two issues, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, perhaps her leading potential Democratic opponent, has now taken his first thinly veiled swipe at Clinton by confronting her shifting positions on them.

“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” O’Malley said on Thursday, in response to a question from the Guardian about Clinton’s sudden evolution on same-sex marriage as a constitutional right and documentation for illegal immigrants. “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls.

“Leadership is about making the right decision, and the best decision before sometimes it becomes entirely popular.

The tomorrow progressive – and a vice-presidential option

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Julian Castro, 40, at a Department of Housing and Urban Development event this month with vice-president Joe Biden, 72. Photograph: hudopa / flickr

Some argue Clinton could go a step further than issue-by-issue messaging by roping in a younger Democratic up-and-comer at the top of her ticket. Many have already focused on 40-year-old Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention – the same speech that brought Obama into the national spotlight eight years earlier.

Now the youngest member of the Obama cabinet as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Castro is already seen as an early frontrunner for the coveted spot of Clinton’s running mate.

“She needs a little tomorrow to offset yesterday. He provides a perfect complement if she needs one,” Evan Smith, who has known Castro for over a decade and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, told the Guardian. “He presents a fresh face to counter what many perceive as an unfresh face.”

People who view Clinton as too captive of the center might like to have Castro on the ticket – he’s a progressive.

Evan Smith

While Clinton must contend with her image as a creature of Washington, Castro has a compelling personal story – similar to the one that endeared Obama to voters in 2008.

 

Castro and his brother were raised by a single mother who was a prominent activist in San Antonio. It represents “a compelling narrative with regard to his ability to represent a new generation,” said Walter Wilson, associate professor at the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas-San Antonio. “That’s part of what people see in him, in addition to the fact that he’s simply well-spoken and attractive as a candidate.”

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Castro has already emerged as a favorite in Democratic circles for his record on issues such as poverty, education, healthcare and workforce development. At HUD, he has focused on extending housing vouchers to domestic abuse victims and ending veteran homelessness.

“People who view Secretary Clinton as too captive of the center might actually like to have Julian Castro on the ticket – he’s a progressive,” said Smith.

Castro has deflected questions on his political ambitions, but many have viewed his move out of Texas and directly into the Obama administration as a hop-step introduction to national politics.

 

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ISIS Camp found near Texas border, possible attack plot on Fort Bliss

Terrorists taking advantage of the porous border between the U.S. and Mexico has always been of great concern.  Yesterday, this fear became more real when the Mexican Army discovered an ISIS compound just a few miles from El Paso, Texas.

According to a report by Judicial Watch, the terrorist base was discovered in an area known as “Anapra,” which is only eight miles from the United States border.  This area has been long associated with Cartel activity and it is believed they could have established some sort of relationship with them.

During the joint raid last week, Mexican Army and law enforcement discovered plans/maps of Fort Bliss, documents in Arabic, and prayer rugs.  According to Mexican law enforcement, the Anapra area is controlled by the Juárez Cartel which has made patrolling and monitoring the area difficult and almost impossible.

According to the report:

“According to these same sources, “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” are also smuggling ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. These specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.”

Mexican intelligence agencies believe that ISIS intends to use railways and airports around Santa Teresa, NM (a US port) to penetrate the United States.  Supposedly ISIS has been conducting reconnaissance of many U.S. targets such as the White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss, nearby universities, power plants, and other government facilities near Alamogordo, NM.

Despite Judicial Watch sourcing their information from a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector, the Mexican authorities have disputed the findings.

“The government of Mexico dismisses and categorically denies each of the statements made today by the organization Judicial Watch on the alleged presence of ISIS’s operating cells throughout the border region, particularly at Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua – El Paso, Texas,” Ariel Moutsatsos-Morales, Mexico’s minister for press and public affairs, told The Washington Times.

 

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Iranian president says no nuclear agreement without end to all sanctions

Hassan Rouhani statement comes as Barack Obama agrees that US Congress should have power to review any deal with Iran

Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: ‘If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement.’
Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech: ‘If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement.’ Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP

The Iranian president has said Tehran would not accept a comprehensive nuclear deal with major powers if all sanctions imposed on Tehran were not lifted, state television has reported.

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Hassan Rouhanisaid in a televised speech on Wednesday. “The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran.”

Iran wants sanctions that include nuclear-related UN resolutions as well as US and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions to be lifted immediately. The US says sanctions against Iran will be removed gradually.

In what was seen as a setback for Barack Obama, the US president agreed on Tuesday that Congress should have the power to review any deal with Iran, backing down to pressure from Republicans and some in his own party.

The move blocks Obama’s ability to waive many US sanctions on Tehran while Congress reviews the deal. It also allows Congress a final vote on whether to lift sanctions imposed by US legislators.

Rouhani said this was an internal issue for Washington. “What the US Senate, Congress and others say is not our problem. We want mutual respect … We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress,” Rouhani said, adding that Iran wanted to end its isolation by having “constructive interaction with the world and not confrontation”.

The Israeli intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, said on Wednesday that his country was pleased with the Congress deal. Israel was critical of a preliminary accord reached between Iran and world powers on 2 April, saying it would not prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but it has never welcomed intrusive inspections and has in the past kept some sites secret.

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for scheduled technical talks, Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Talks with the IAEA are parallel to Iran’s nuclear negotiations, with the powers seeking a permanent agreement on curbing the country’s nuclear activities by 30 June. Iran and major powers will resume talks on 21 April.

 

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