TIME Military

Hagel: Ground Troops May Be Needed in Iraq

'I would say we're not there yet'

Departing defense secretary Chuck Hagel said it’s possible the United States may need to send non-combat ground troops to Iraq to help deter the Islamic State.

Hagel, who resigned as Pentagon chief on Nov. 24, told CNN in an interview Friday that he thinks the deployment of American troops for intelligence-gathering and locating targets is a possibility, reports Reuters.

He said he wasn’t sure, however, that it would come to that. “I would say we’re not there yet,” he said. “Whether we get there or not, I don’t know.”

MORE: Obama’s Awkward Farewell to Hagel

Currently, 4,500 troops are already committed to roles in Iraq including training and advising. President Obama sent reinforcements to Iraq in advising roles in September.

President Barack Obama has nominated Ashton Carter to replace Hagel as defense secretary.

[Reuters]

 

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Opens Up on Pot Use in His Youth

Jeb Bush
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco, Jan. 23, 2015. Jeff Chiu—AP

The potential 2016 presidential candidate's high school years were tumultuous, reports the Boston Globe

Jeb Bush has dipped in and out of politics his whole life, serving as a two-term governor and more recently announcing a possible presidential bid in 2016. But as a student at an elite boarding school in Massachusetts, he was decidedly apolitical.

In an in-depth report in the Boston Globe, classmates remember the son of Congressman George Bush Sr. as indifferent and detached. Jeb Bush refused to join the Progressive Andover Republicans club at Phillips Academy in Andover, and declined to discuss politics, reports the Boston Globe. He also indulged in drugs and drinking.

“I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush said of his high school years, both of which could have led to expulsion. “It was pretty common.”

Bush’s grades were so poor that he was nearly expelled, and the possible 2016 presidential candidate remembers his boarding school experience as one of the most difficult times of his life, the Globe reports.

While other students “were constantly arguing about politics and particularly Vietnam, he just wasn’t interested, he didn’t participate, he didn’t care,” said Phil Sylvester, who said he was a Bush roommate for the early part of 10th grade.

Still, Bush, who went on to the University of Texas and was later named Florida’s Secretary of Commerce calls Andover Academy the place where “I learned how to think.”

Read more at the Boston Globe.

 

TIME People

Former KKK Leader May Run for Steve’s Scalise’s House Seat

Former Klansman and congressional candidate David Duke discusses his bid for the seat opened by Rep. Bob Livingston during NBC's ''Meet the Press'' on March 28, 1999 in Washington.
Former Klansman and congressional candidate David Duke discusses his bid for the seat opened by Rep. Bob Livingston during NBC's ''Meet the Press'' on March 28, 1999 in Washington. Richard Ellis—Getty Images

Slams Scalise for apologizing

The third-ranking House Republican may get a chance to differentiate himself from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke once and for all.

Just as he started his tenure as House Majority Whip last month, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana faced a controversy when a blogger uncovered that he had spoken to a white supremacist group founded by Duke. Scalise later apologized and argued he was led astray by poor staff work. “It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold,” he said in his apology.

Now, it looks like Scalise may get a chance to show exactly how much he disagrees with Duke, as the former Klan leader is considering running against him for Congress.

Duke told Louisiana radio host Jim Engster he would consider running against Scalise after he tried to distance himself from EURO “This guy is a sell out,” Duke said. “Why in the world would he apologize? He said specifically that he shouldn’t have gone to European American United Rights Organization, that he shouldn’t have done it, it was a terrible mistake. What he’s basically saying is that 60% of his district, the same people who voted for him, that they’re just a bunch of racists.”

Duke noted that his own political priorities were more consistent with Scalise’s constituents, which he described as “opposed to the massive illegal immigration, opposed to welfare reform.”

“He can’t meet with members of his own district who have opinions like I have, but he’ll meet with radical blacks who have totally opposite political positions,” Duke said.

The former Grand Wizard of the KKK also said that school integration was to blame for America’s education problems. “I think our diversity is our downfall,” he said, before launching into a diatribe about how “European-Americans” are underrepresented at Harvard.

 

TIME The Brief

#TheBrief: Why America Could Change How It Puts People to Death

3 Inmates in Oklahoma are challenging the use of certain drugs in executions

A new Supreme Court case could mean a change in the chemicals that prisons use for lethal injections. Watch #TheBrief to find out more.

TIME 2016 Election

Scott Walker Comes To Washington to Bash Washington

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the American Action Forum in Washington on Jan. 30, 2015.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the American Action Forum in Washington on Jan. 30, 2015. Yuri Gripas—Reuters

A rising Republican star carves out a role as the beltway outsider

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to the nation’s capital Friday to attack Washington’s culture, dismiss its wisdom and call for removing its power, offering new clarity on his strategic approach for earning the chance to live downtown by winning the 2016 presidential election.

“Washington is kind of this top-down, government knows best,” Walker said to an audience of about a half-dozen supporters and more than 50 members of the media who gathered just a block from the White House. “It’s a tired, old approach that hasn’t worked in the past and I don’t think will work in the future. What I see in the states and for the people outside of Washington is a craving for something new, something fresh.”

Walker, who is deep into preparations for an all-but-certain bid for the Oval Office, called for a “transfer of power” from Washington, D.C. to the states. He called the city “68 square miles surrounded by reality,” with six of the 10 richest counties in America, according to the median income. “We need to transfer power, power from our nation’s capital here in Washington back to the cities and states in this country, where the people, where the hardworking people in this country can actually hold their government accountable,” he said.

“That’s what Our American Revival is really about: Transferring that power from Washington back to the people,” he said, referencing the name of his new 527 organization that is laying the groundwork for his presidential bid.

It was not the first time that Walker positioned himself as a Washington outsider, a strategy that he hopes will give him an advantage over other prospective candidates like Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who work weekdays in the city. But it was his most muscular expression to date of his role, ready to take on and slay the sacred cows of the beltway power networks. Walker’s tour comes on the heels of a well-received speech in Iowa before Republican activists last weekend, and just days after announcing his new 527 organization.

He also took time to criticize President Obama’s State of the Union speech. “That sounded like a person who wants to grow the economy here in Washington,” he said. “I think the rest of America wants to grow the economy in cities and towns all across this great nation.” He also quoted Ronald Reagan’s admonition that The federal government did not create the states, the states created the federal government,”

His true guides, he continued, were the nation’s founding fathers, whom he said he always looked up to as a child. “I was a little geeky,” he said. “I actually thought of our founders almost as super heroes. Bigger than life.

Walker was introduced by Republican financier Fred Malek, a former Green Beret and aide to Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush, who effusively praised the presidential contender. “I can’t think of anybody I’d rather be in that foxhole with our in that firefight than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,” he said, calling him a “terrific leader.”

Asked by Malek about tackling the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Walker remained vague. “To me it’s not a matter of if there’s another attempted threat,” he said. “I’d do everything in my power to make sure families in this country would sleep safe.” He added that he would “take the threat to them.”

TIME technology

The New FCC Definition of Broadband Could Change Everything for Comcast

New definition of broadband means that 63% of U.S. households would have only one choice for a broadband Internet provider

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a formal announcement this week confirming what all of us already knew to be true: that piddling download speeds of 4 mega-bit-per-second (Mbps) shouldn’t count as broadband. (I mean, come on: it’s not even enough to stream a single episode of Peaky Blinders on Netflix.)

As of yesterday, the FCC now defines broadband as download speeds of 25 Mbps or faster.

That may seem like a bureaucratic hiccup — the FCC simply catching up with the times — but it’s actually really big deal.

The FCC’s redefinition fundamentally rewrites the rules on what the broadband market looks like, which dramatically changes the competitive landscape for companies offering broadband Internet service. And that, in turn, is the single most important factor in whether the Department of Justice approves Comcast’s $45.2 billion dollar bid to takeover Time Warner Cable.

Here’s how that works.

Until yesterday, Comcast was able to use the official federal definition of broadband (4 Mbps of faster) to plausibly and legally claim to compete head-to-head with basically every single Internet service provider out there, including glacial dial-up connections and old-school DSL lines. As a result, Comcast was able to claim — again, plausibly and legally — that even if it is allowed to buy Time Warner Cable, it will control only about 35.5% of the fixed (i.e. not wireless) broadband market in this country. That’s a big chunk, but it’s nowhere near monopolistic, right?

But now that math has changed. If you use the FCC’s new definition of broadband, which excludes all the dial-up and most DSL and other super-slow ISPs that used to count as “broadband,” then roughly 12 million US households that previously qualified as having “access to broadband” no longer qualify. While the industry numbers vary a bit, that means that a combined Comcast-TWC could control more than 60% of the total fixed broadband sector. (Some estimates put it at 70% or higher.)

To put that another way, if the merger is allowed to go through, then a whopping 63% of U.S. households would have only one choice for a broadband Internet provider, according to a memo from the FCC in December. For the majority of those households, their “one choice” would be Comcast-TWC.

Suddenly, that’s beginning to look pretty darn monopolistic.

For the last 24-hours, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable have frantically downplayed the importance of the FCC’s redefinition. On an earnings call Thursday, Rob Marcus, the CEO of Time Warner Cable, called the FCC’s redefinition “somewhat arbitrary” and said it wouldn’t affect the merger at all. “I don’t anticipate that that has any practical implications for life going forward or for the DoJ’s analysis of the deal,” he said.

He and representatives from Comcast stuck with the script they’ve been pitching for the better part of a year. Since Comcast and Time Warner Cable serve different geographic areas, U.S. cable customers will have the exact same choices before and after the merger. If your only choice for broadband today is Time Warner Cable, then your only choice for broadband after the merger will be Comcast-TWC, they say.

The Department of Justice is expected to decide in the next six months whether the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is allowed to go through.

TIME 2016 Election

Mitt Romney Abandons 2016 Campaign For President

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee, gestures before speaking during the Republican National Committee's winter meeting aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Deigo, Calif. on Jan. 16, 2015. Gregory Bull—AP

Three weeks after raising expectations, Romney steps out of the spotlight

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told donors and supporters Friday that he will not run for president, just three weeks after upending the GOP field by suggesting he was seriously considering a third bid for the White House.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told donors, in remarks that were first published by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt and confirmed by a Romney aide.

Late Thursday, Romney invited donors and supporters to a conference call to announce his plans. “Please join me for an update call tomorrow at 11:00 AM EST / 8:00 AM PST,” Romney’s political team wrote in an email, signed “All the best, Mitt.”

Romney told those on the call that he is confident he could once again win the Republican nomination. But he also acknowledged, “it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.” He added hat he believes that another Republican would best be able to challenge likely Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” he said. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

“You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country,” he said. “But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.”

Romney, who met privately in Utah last week with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is not expected to endorse a candidate in the already crowded GOP field.

On the call Romney said it was “unlikely” he would reconsider his decision to step aside, and freed his donors and supporters to work for other candidates. “Please feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee,” Romney said. Many Romney aides and donors had already sought out work with other contenders. Just Thursday, David Kochel, Romney’s Iowa strategist, signed on with Jeb Bush’s campaign.

He delivered the prepared statement in an even tone on a four-minute call with supporters and donors, ending his remarks with the words “Bye bye.” An aide said Romney wrote the remarks, in which he thanked supporters for their patriotism, himself.

In a statement following the call, Bush praised Romney as a “patriot” and a leader of the GOP. “Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense,” he said. “Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.”

 

TIME Behind the Photos

The Best Pictures of the Week: Jan. 23 – Jan. 30

From Kurdish fighters recapturing the ISIS held town of Kobani, Syria to the deadly attacks on Israeli forces by Hezbollah militants on the Israel-Lebanon border and life returns to normal with Ebola cases down to single digits in Liberia to blizzard Juno hitting the U.S. East Coast, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME People

John Kerry Is in Trouble for Not Shoveling His Snow

US Secretary of State Kerry in Nigeria
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference within his official visit in Lagos, Nigeria on January 25, 2015. Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

The Secretary of State was fined $50

We all have excuses for putting off clearing our sidewalks after a storm, but attending the funeral of a deceased world leader seems like a particularly good one. Yet the city of Boston was unsympathetic when Secretary of State John Kerry failed to shovel the walk in front of his Beacon Hill residence after this week’s snow storm, fining him $50.

While Kerry was in Saudi Arabia attending the funeral of King Abdullah, a snow removal company did not remove the snow from his drive because it was blocked off by tape, the Boston Globe reports. Since the snow clearers thought it was police tape, they did not clear the walk. When they understood it was just a precautionary measure, they set to work shoveling the snow late Thursday morning.

Kerry’s spokesman Glen Johnson said of the incident, “Diplomats—they’re just like us,” and confirmed that the secretary will “gladly” pay the fine.

[Boston Globe]

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