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Wednesday, Mar 04th

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Republicans seize on HSBC scandal to hold up Loretta Lynch's confirmation

Loretta LynchSenate Republicans are seizing on the global tax scandal engulfing HSBC to delay the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, the Guardian can reveal.

The Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, Chuck Grassley, was on Friday preparing a fresh tranche of questions for Lynch about the huge cache of leaked data showing how HSBC’s subsidiary helped conceal billions of dollars from domestic tax authorities.

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Governor John Kitzhaber announces his resignation

oregon governor resignsGov. John Kitzhaber resigned office Friday amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing, almost exactly one month after being sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term. Secretary of State Kate Brown will replace him.

His resignation is effective Wednesday, he said Friday in a letter.

"It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken," his resignation letter said. "It is to stand and fight for the cause. For that reason I apologize to all those people who gave of their faith, time, energy and resources to elect me to a fourth term last year and who have supported me over the past three decades. I promise you that I will continue to pursue our shared goals and our common cause in another venue."

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George W. Bush Is Intervening in Iraq—Again

GW BushLate in the evening of Sunday, January 18, an eleven-member delegation of tribal leaders from Iraq’s western Anbar Province arrived in Washington, D.C. Just as their plane was touching down, Islamic State units back in Iraq attacked the compound of one of the delegation’s senior leaders, Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, killing nine Iraqi police officers and wounding 28 of the sheik’s guards. A nearby Iraqi military unit failed to respond to repeated calls for help.

The brutal attack underscored the purpose of the Anbar delegation’s visit: The tribal leaders believed that they could defeat the Islamic State—but only if the Obama administration would agree to ship them weapons directly, bypassing Iraq’s untrustworthy Ministry of Defense.

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Ash Carter confirmed as defense secretary

Ash CarterMoving quickly, the Senate on Thursday easily confirmed Ash Carter as President Barack Obama’s fourth secretary of defense.

The vote was 93-5, with five Republicans voting no: Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois; Roy Blunt of Missouri; John Boozman of Arkansas; and Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both of Idaho.

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Don’t disrespect our president, black lawmakers tell Netanyahu

John LewisThe audience for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on March 3 is shaping up to be largely Republican — and almost completely white.

Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they’re planning to skip the speech, calling it a slight to President Barack Obama that they can’t and won’t support.

Israeli officials have been taken by surprise by the CBC backlash, kicked off by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights leader who said last week he won’t attend, quickly followed by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and others. As a result, they’re working to set up a meeting for CBC members with Ambassador Ron Dermer — or even Netanyahu himself when he’s in Washington.

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Wisconsin Gov. Walker refuses to answer evolution question

walker refuses to answer evolution questionLikely 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker refused to say Wednesday whether he believes in the theory of evolution, dodging that question and several others about foreign policy after delivering a speech about global trade in London.

"I'm going to punt on that one as well," said Wisconsin's Republican governor when asked about evolution at the end of an hour-long appearance at the prestigious Chatham House think tank. "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other. So I'm going to leave that up to you."

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Conservatives want to rewrite the history of the Crusades for modern political ends

ObamaAt the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama made a statement that you wouldn’t expect to be controversial: violence in the name of religion is a global problem and it’s bad.

He referenced the war in Syria, the killings in Nigeria, anti-Semitism’s resurgence in Europe and religious violence in India. He admitted that it can be hard to “counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.” Then he offered a longer thought about humility:

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