Wednesday, November 6, 2013
New book quotes the American president as expressing what he really thinks about the Prime Minister of close ally Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama are not known to have had a good relationship, but the American president seems to have taken it a bit too far.
In a new book that was released Tuesday, Obama is quoted as expressing what he really thinks about Netanyahu during his 2012 presidential campaign.
According to the book, “DoubleDown,” Obama said that "We all know Bibi Netanyahu is a pain in the a**" when discussing the conflict between the Israelis and the Arabs.
"Double Down" was written by MSNBC correspondents Mark Halperin and John Heilemann and it reveals behind-the-scenes political stories from the American presidential race in 2012.
The quote about Netanyahu by Obama, which was reportedly made during a meeting between the President and his aides a year before the elections, is the only time Israel is mentioned in the book.
Relations between Obama and Netanyahu were strained during Obama's first term, with supporters of Obama accusing Netanyahu of interfering in the U.S. election in favor of Obama's rival, Mitt Romney. Supporters of Netanyahu, meanwhile, accused Obama of trying to keep Netanyahu from being reelected last January.
Days before the last Israeli elections, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, who is close to Obama, wrote that the President had said repeatedly that Israel does not know what its own best interests are.
Obama, according to Goldberg, had said that Netanyahu “is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation” every time he announces new construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
A month and a half before the Israeli elections, Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel criticized Netanyahu over what was perceived as his public support of Romney.
Emanuel had reportedly said during a closed session that "Netanyahu supported the wrong candidate in the U.S. elections and lost."
Emanuel also said that the White House expects that Netanyahu’s treatment of President Barack Obama will be different and that Obama was not willing to accept "degrading treatment" by the Israeli Prime Minister.
During Obama’s first term, the White House was embarrassed when French media reported on a conversation between Obama and then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy about Netanyahu.
In that conversation, Sarkozy had said, “I cannot stand him. He is a liar.” Obama reportedly replied, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!” The two, who thought they were having a private conversation, did not know that their microphones were open and that reporters outside could hear what they were saying.
The White House would not deny or confirm the conversation with Sarkozy took place, but insisted Obama had a good relationship with the Israeli prime minister.
Israel National News
Illinois is poised to become the 15th U.S. state to allow same-sex unions after lawmakers in President Barack Obama's home state gave final approval to a bill on Tuesday.
The state Senate approved gay marriage on Valentine's Day in February, but there was a delay in bringing the vote to the House, even though Democrats have a strong majority.
Following a 61-54 House vote on Tuesday—just one vote more than what was needed—the bill was given final approval by the Senate, and will go to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who has pledged his support. The final Senate vote was 32-21.
The votes were followed by cheers and applause in both chambers.
The proposal was resisted by some African-American Democratic lawmakers who were under pressure from outspoken black Protestant churches to oppose it. The leadership of the Catholic Church in Illinois also has staunchly opposed the proposal.
"I am voting for marriage equality today because it is the right thing to do," Democratic lawmaker Jehan Gordon-Booth, who is African-American, said during the debate. "I know enhancing the civil rights of others does not diminish the civil rights of anyone in this room or anyone in this state."
Obama said in a statement he was "overjoyed" that legislators voted to legalize gay marriage.
"Our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," he said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the vote a "critical moment in history" for Illinois and the gay rights movement.
"Finally, gays and lesbians across our state are guaranteed the fundamental right to marry, and countless couples with children will be acknowledged for what they are under the law - families just like everyone else," said Emanuel.
Once signed, the law will go into effect June 1 of next year.
A vote has been delayed for months in part because Illinois has been preoccupied with a financial crisis stemming from huge pension liabilities that have led major credit agencies to lower the state's rating to the lowest among U.S. states. The state also has billions of dollars of unpaid bills, forcing social service agencies to curtail or delay many services.
Opponents expressed concern that under the proposed gay marriage law, religious organizations that decline to allow their facilities to be used for gay marriages could face lawsuits. The amended version of the bill passedTuesday provides safeguards for religious organizations.
Opponents on the House floor Tuesday quoted the Bible, and even the song "Tradition" from the musical Fiddler on the Roof, to support limiting marriage to one man and one woman.
"There are many people who believe in the fundamental traditional definition of a marriage of a man and a woman," said David Harris, a Republican opponent of the bill. "They are not homophobic."
Illinois currently allows civil unions, which gay rights activists said does not go far enough.
A year ago, only six states—Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut and Iowa—plus the District of Columbia recognized same-sex marriage, but the number has since more than doubled.
Maine, Maryland and Washington became the first to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples by popular vote with passage of ballot initiatives last November. Gay marriage became legal this year in California, Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island.
Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped his legal opposition to gay marriage, making his state the 14th to sanction same-sex weddings.
The Hawaii state Senate has approved gay marriage but it has not yet come up for a vote in the House.
Credit to Charisma
GOD is not and McDonald's menu option.......
The United States Air Force has decided to make God an option; at least as far as the service or enlistment oath is concerned. The oath is older that the United States itself, dating back to June of 1775, and has been administered in its current form since 1962, as follows:
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
Those enlisting now have the option of omitting those last 4 words, to which I say ‘Thank God’!
Credit to The Washington Post
The Vatican has sent out a questionnaire to parishes around the world to canvass opinion on how it is dealing with issues such as same-sex marriage, single-parent families and divorce, as part of Pope Francis’s drive to overhaul the Roman Catholic Church.
The questionnaire asks clergy to report on the changing nature of their flock and to explain the difficulties they face in teaching Church doctrine. The results will be collated and presented at an extraordinary synod of bishops next October which will discuss “the pastoral care of the person and the family.”
The questionnaire contains 39 questions on issues such as surrogate mothers, feminism, single-parent families, interfaith marriages and the challenges posed by secularism. It also touches on subjects previously considered taboo, such as the spiritual welfare of children adopted by same-sex couples, birth control and same-sex marriages.
The questionnaire asks whether the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, the sanctity of the family and divorce is “accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice?”
In England, bishops have posted the survey online so anyone can respond.
Credit to National post
While it took Japan over two years to admit the Fukushima situation on the ground is "out of control", a development many had predicted for years, a just as important topic is what are the implications of this uncontrolled radioactive disaster on not only the local environment and society but also globally, particularly Japan's neighbor across the Pacific - the US.
To be sure, there has been much speculation, much of it unjustified, in the past two years debating when, how substantial and how acute any potential debris from Fukushima would be on the US. Which is why it was somewhat surprising to see the NOAA come out with its own modeling effort, which shows that not only "some buoyant items first reached the Pacific Northwest coast during winter 2011-2012" but to openly confirm that a debris field weighing over 1 million tons, and larger than Texas is now on the verge of hitting the American coastline, just west off the state of California.
Obviously, the NOAA in releasing such a stunner could well be hammered by the administration for "inciting panic" which is why it caveated its disclosure carefully:
Many variables affect where the debris will go and when. Items will sink, disperse, and break up along the way, and winds and ocean currents constantly change,making it very difficult to predict an exact date and location for the debris’ arrival on our shores.The model gives NOAA an understanding of where debris from the tsunami may be located today, because it incorporates how winds and ocean currents since the event may have moved items through the Pacific Ocean. This model is a snapshot of where debris may be now, but it does not predict when debris will reach U.S. shores in the future. It's a "hindcast," rather than a "forecast." The model also takes into account the fact that winds can move different types of debris at different speeds. For example, wind may push an upright boat (large portion above water) faster than a piece of lumber (floating mostly at and below the surface).
Still despite this "indemnity" the NOAA does come stunningly close with an estimate of both the location and size of the debris field. One look at the map below shows clearly why, while the Fed may have the economy and markets grasped firmly in its central-planning fist, when it comes to the environment it may be time to panic:
Some of the disclosures surrounding the map:
- Japan Ministry of the Environment estimates that 5 million tons of debris washed into the ocean.
- They further estimated that 70% of that debris sank near the coast of Japan soon after the event.
- Model Results: High windage items may have reached the Pacific Northwest coast as early as winter 2011-2012.
- Majority of modeled particles are still dispersed north and east of the Hawaiian Archipelago.
- NOAA expects widely scattered debris may show up intermittently along shorelines for a long period of time, over the next year, or longer.
In light of these "revelations" which come not from some tinfoil website but the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it becomes clear why there has been virtually zero mention of any of these debris traffic patterns on the mainstream media in recent history, or ever.
Appropriately enough, since the US media will not breach this topic with a radioactive 10 foot pole, one has to go to the Russian RT.com website to learn some more:
Over a million tons of Fukushima debris could be just 1,700 miles off the American coast, floating between Hawaii and California, according to research by a US government agency.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently updated its report on the movement of the Japanese debris, generated by the March 2011 tsunami, which killed 16,000 people and led to the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown.Seventy percent of an estimated 5 million tons of debris sank near the coast of Japan, according to the Ministry of Environment. The rest presumably floated out into the Pacific.While there are no accurate estimates as to where the post-tsunami junk has traveled so far, the NOAA has come up with a computer model of the debris movement, which gives an idea of where its highest concentration could be found.
Having released the radioactive genie from the bottle, the NOAA is now doing all it can to avoid the inevitable social response. RT has more:
The agency was forced to alleviate the concerns in an article saying there was “no solid mass of debris from Japan heading to the United States.”“At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out. It is spread out so much that you could fly a plane over the Pacific Ocean and not see any debris since it is spread over a huge area, and most of the debris is small, hard-to-see objects,” NOAA explains on its official webpage.The agency has stressed its research is just computer simulation, adding that “observations of the area with satellites have not shown any debris.”Scientists are particularly interested in the organisms that could be living on objects from Japan reaching the west coast."At first we were only thinking about objects like the floating docks, but now we’re finding that all kinds of Japanese organisms are growing on the debris," John Chapman of the Marine Science Center at Oregon State University told Fox News."We've found over 165 non-native species so far," he continued. "One type of insect, and almost all the others are marine organisms … we found the European blue mussel, which was introduced to Asia long ago, and then it grew on a lot of these things that are coming across the Pacific ... we’d never seen it here, and we don’t particularly want it here."
What is the worst-case scenario:
The worst-case scenario would be that the trash is housing invasive organisms that could disrupt the local environment’s current balance of life. Such was the case in Guam, where earlier this year it was announced that the US government intended to parachute dead mice laced with sedatives on to the island in order to deal with an invasive species of brown tree snake that was believed to have been brought to the American territory on a military ship over 60 years ago. In a little over half a century, a few snakes spawned what became an estimated 2 million animals, the likes of which ravaged the island’s native bird population and warranted government intervention.Other concerns such as radiation, meanwhile, have been downplayed. On its website, the NOAA says, “Radiation experts agree that it is highly unlikely that any tsunami-generated marine debris will hold harmful levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear emergency.”Independent groups like the 5 Gyres Institute, which tracks pollution at sea, have echoed the NOAA’s findings, saying that radiation readings have been “inconsequential.” Even the release of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear reactor shouldn't be a grave concern, since scientists say it will be diluted to the point of being harmless by the time it reaches American shores in 2014.
Which is great news: since even the worst case scenario is inconsequential, we expect the broader media will promptly report on the NOAA's findings: after all, the general public surely has nothing to fear.
Credit to Zero hedge