Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Washington Post Editorial Board: Airstrikes in Syria are necessary and if they can immediately help the Syrian Kurds they're eminently justifiable

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9/22/14, "U.S. airstrikes in Syria signal a new battlefield," Washington Post Editorial Board

"It didn't take long for the Islamic State to exploit the weaknesses in President Obama’s campaign against it. Last week the militants launched an offensive against a Kurdish-populated area of northern Syria — where until this week Mr. Obama had not approved U.S. airstrikes or the supplying of aid to local forces. By Monday, more than 130,000 people had fled across the border to Turkey, and local commanders said they desperately needed help to defend the strategic town of Kobane.


On Monday night, U.S. officials reported that Mr. Obama had authorized airstrikes in Syria, although officials initially declined to specify what targets were being hit. If the airstrikes are a recognition that the United States cannot defeat the Islamic State by fighting it only in Iraq — and leaving it a haven in Syria — they are to be welcomed. As he did in August in Iraq, Mr. Obama would be justified in shaping the campaign to rescue a vulnerable population — in this case the Syrian Kurds.


To be sure, the situation in northern Syria is more complicated than the one Mr. Obama faced around Mount Sinjar in Iraq in August. The area under attack is controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which is allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a rebel group in Turkey known as the PKK. 

While there is a truce between the PKK and the Turkish government, relations are poor and Ankara has resisted providing support to the Syrian Kurds. On Sunday, Turkey closed portions of its border with Syria, apparently to prevent Kurds from entering Syria to fight the Islamic State.

That counterproductive action was of a piece with Turkey’s questionable response thus far to the Islamic State. The government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan declined to sign a commitment to fight the extremists that had been drawn up by the United States and Arab states, citing the fact that 49 of its diplomats and other citizens were being held hostage by the Islamic State. Those prisoners were released over the weekend under circumstances that Turkish officials refused to explain. But there is no indication that Mr. Erdogan will be more willing than he has been previously to join or openly support military operations in Syria or Iraq.


Turkey’s recalcitrance is one of several holes in Mr. Obama’s strategy. His plan calls for fighting the Islamic State in Syria by training and arming moderate Syrian rebel forces. But the 5,000 fighters the U.S. plan provides for are unlikely to be enough to defeat the militants, even when training is complete a year from now. Administration officials have no answer to the question of how the U.S.-backed force will be protected from the Syrian army and air force of Bashar al-Assad, nor any plan for defeating the Assad regime or for creating a new political order in Syria has been articulated.


The United States will need a concerted and ambitious approach to Syria if Mr. Obama’s announced goal of degrading and destroying the Islamic State is to be realized. Airstrikes alone will not be sufficient, but they are necessary. And if, in the near term, they can save the Syrian Kurds from a situation described as “urgent” and “dire” by their deputy commander in an interview with the BBC on Monday, they will be eminently justifiable." via Lucianne



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NY Times Editorial Board: Obama reducing funding for security at 100s of nuclear sites in countries in which material can easily be accessed by terrorists and criminals

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9/22/14, "Backsliding on Nuclear Promises," NY Times Editorial Board

"For much of the past six years, President Obama has talked about working toward a world without nuclear weapons. Yet his administration is now investing tens of billions of dollars in modernizing and rebuilding America’s nuclear arsenal and facilities, as The Times reported in detail on Monday. 

And after good progress in making nuclear bomb material more secure around the world, Mr. Obama has reduced his budget requests for that priority. This is a shortsighted and disappointing turn. 

With the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria dominating news headlines, it is easy to forget the threat that nuclear weapons and nuclear material continue to pose around the world. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says there are 16,300 nuclear weapons located at some 98 sites in 14 countries, a vast majority in the United States and Russia. There are also 25 countries that possess enough nuclear and radiological materials to build a weapon, with such material held at hundreds of sites, many vulnerable to extremists.
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When he first came to office, Mr. Obama was clearsighted about nuclear dangers and ambitious in his disarmament goals. His major arms control achievement was the New Start treaty with Moscow aimed at reducing deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 on each side, down from 2,200, by February 2018. But to win Republican support for the treaty in 2010, Mr. Obama made a Faustian bargain, promising to spend $84 billion to upgrade aging nuclear weapons over the next decade, a $14 billion increase over the regular $70 billion modernization budget.

But the Congressional Budget Office now estimates that Mr. Obama’s plans will cost $355 billion over the next decade; other studies put the price at $1 trillion over three decades. The wish list includes 12 new missile submarines, up to 100 new bombers, 400 land-based missiles, plus upgrades to eight major plants and laboratories.

There has been little debate among members of Congress and the public about the decision by Mr. Obama and Congress to pour billions of dollars into new nuclear weapons systems — even as other government programs have been cut significantly.

Not only is this spending unwise and beyond what the nation can afford, multiple studies by the Government Accountability Office have described the modernization push as badly managed. In a statement released on Monday, nuclear weapons experts from the Arms Control Association, the Federation of American Scientists and others called the modernization plan excessive and said the country can reduce the number of missiles and bombers it buys and still maintain a safe and reliable nuclear arsenal. 

Worse yet, the administration is making a foolish trade-off — pouring money into modernization while reducing funds that help improve security at nuclear sites in Russia and other countries where terrorists or criminals could get their hands on nuclear materials.

Since Mr. Obama took office, he has pushed the international community to improve nuclear security. 

The result is that 13 countries have eliminated their nuclear materials stockpiles and 15 others removed or disposed of portions of theirs. But a report by experts at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government says the Obama administration’s proposed 2015 budget would cut spending for nuclear security by 21 percent,
from $700 million this year to $555 million. While Congress restored some of that money in a stopgap spending bill, it expires in December and no one knows what happens after that.

Fortunately, 26 senators have recognized that such cuts are dangerous and urged that they be reversed. Investing in nuclear security protects Americans more than unwise investment in new nuclear weapons."



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Monday, September 22, 2014

Fed. jury finds Arab Bank liable for facilitating 24 Hamas terror attacks, 300 plaintiffs. Alleged Saudi charity involved in transactions. Arab Bank will appeal to 2nd Circuit-NY Times

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9/22/14, "Arab Bank Liable for Supporting Terrorist Efforts, Jury Finds," NY Times, Stephanie Clifford

"A federal jury on Monday found Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorism efforts connected to two dozen attacks in the Middle East, the first time a bank has ever been held liable in a civil suit under a broad antiterrorism statute.

Arab Bank, a major Middle Eastern bank with $46 billion in assets, was accused of knowingly supporting specific terrorist acts in and around Israel during the second Palestinian uprising of the early 2000s.

The verdict is expected to have a strong impact on similar legal efforts to hold financial institutions responsible for wrongdoing by their clients, even if the institutions followed banking rules, and could be seen as a deterrent for banks that conduct business in violent areas.

The plaintiffs in this case, about 300 victims of the 24 terrorist attacks, said the acts had been carried out by Hamas, and accused Arab Bank of supporting the organization by handling transfers and payments for Hamas members.

Terrorist organizations are dependent on the financial system to operate,” Gary Osen, a plaintiffs’ lawyer, said after the verdict. “They’ve been able to thrive largely because folks like Arab Bank and others have turned a blind eye.”

Damages will be decided in a separate trial, which has not yet been scheduled. The plaintiffs have not asked for a specific amount.

The burden of proof in the trial, held at Federal District Court in Brooklyn, was high: The plaintiffs had to prove that the terrorist attacks were indeed conducted by Hamas, and that the bank’s support of Hamas was the “proximate cause” of the events. In addition, the plaintiffs had to demonstrate that their injuries were “reasonably foreseeable” as a consequence of the bank’s acts.

Several similar lawsuits are pending; one case, filed by victims of terrorist attacks against the National Westminster Bank, was reinstated on Monday by a federal appeals court.

“What this has done is it’s made the effects of American law felt in far-off places, and that is significant,” said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former terrorism finance analyst for the Treasury Department. “I don’t think any country, any bank, would want to be cut off from the U.S. financial sector, and they’re going to start thinking very carefully about whether they accept financial transactions” even from people or groups who are not on designated terrorist lists.

Shand S. Stephens, a lawyer for Arab Bank, said he was confident that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was “going to reverse” the jury’s decision.

The case focused on transactions Arab Bank handled during the second Palestinian uprising. The plaintiffs accused Arab Bank of handling transactions for a number of well-known terrorists, and helping to route transactions for a charity called the Saudi Committee. That charity, the plaintiffs argued, paid suicide bombers’ families.

Arab Bank holds that of all the accounts and transactions it processed in that period, only a few are in question, along with the large number of payments it processed for the Saudi Committee. It said the Saudi Committee is a legitimate charity that was never listed as a terrorist organization by the United States. And it said it properly checked all accounts and transactions against the appropriate blacklists, and any transactions that did go through were because of errors, such as different renderings of names in Arabic and in English.

Even if the terrorists were not on the relevant blacklists, the plaintiffs argued, Arab Bank employees should have known that the people were terrorists.
 
Mr. Stephens countered that designating terrorists is the government’s job. “The proposition that’s being floated here,” he told the jury, is “that private businesses, including banks, are supposed to make up their own lists of terrorists. Imagine, actually, what that would do, if a bank did that.”

The jury, which returned a verdict after two days of deliberations, was apparently unpersuaded. One juror who agreed to speak to the news media, Jill Rath, echoed the plaintiffs’ arguments, saying that “the money and the financing is the oxygen for the terrorists.”

Even before the case went to trial, it had drawn the attention of the Obama administration and the Supreme Court, and led to rulings that Arab Bank says hampered its ability to tell the jurors about its efforts to identify transactions connected to terrorists.

The bank refused to turn over a large number of the requested documents in the case, citing the privacy laws of the countries where it does business. As a result, a judge who oversaw the case issued sanctions, including one that prevented Arab Bank from telling the jury why it withheld those documents, though the plaintiffs were free to tell the jury that the documents had been held back.

The bank then asked the Supreme Court to overturn the sanctions. The Obama administration was split: The State Department pushed for Supreme Court intervention; Jordan, where the bank has its headquarters, is a loyal ally, officials there said. Others wanted the court to stay out of it: Tax and treasury officials did not want banks to hide behind foreign bank-secrecy laws in their investigations, and other justice divisions felt that the department should not be intervening against American victims of terrorist attacks.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, and it went to trial with a version of the sanctions in place. Along with the sanction about document withholding, those sanctions specified that jurors “may, but are not required to, infer” that the defendant provided financial services to Hamas, and that the defendant did so knowingly, according to instructions from the judge, Brian M. Cogan.

In their closing arguments, the plaintiffs’ lawyers made a point of Arab Bank’s withholding of documents. “Why are they doing those kinds of tactics? Because they don’t have a defense. Because they are caught red-handed. Because the documents that show they are doing business with Hamas are all over their files,” said Tab Turner, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, asserting that the bank had come up with a way to “twist and distort and hide, hide the documents, conceal the documents.”

Mr. Stephens, the bank’s lawyer, said after the verdict that “evidence this thin would never have resulted in a verdict unless there were errors in the admission of evidence, errors in the instructions, and errors in imposing a sanction that the United States has already told the Supreme Court was improper.”

In a statement released after the verdict, Arab Bank said that “any proceeding conducted under the district court’s improper sanctions” would be “nothing more than a show trial.”"



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ISIS pipeline in US mainly from 3 cities, Boston, Minneapolis, and LA-WCVB

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9/22/14, "Boston a focus of government's crackdown on 'U.S.-Jihad pipeline'," wcvb.com, Boston

"Stoughton man accused joining ISIS, spreading messages on social media."

"The federal government is targeting Boston and two other American cities to shut down what they are calling the U.S.-Jihad pipeline to ISIS in an attempt to stop Americans from joining the terrorist organization, ABC News reported Monday.

Efforts to shut down the pipeline will focus on Boston, Minneapolis and Los Angeles; cities from where a number of young recruits for ISIS training originated.

Ahmad Abousamra, a dual American-Syrian citizen, was born in France but grew up in Stoughton and attended Xaverian Brothers Catholic High School in Westwood before transferring to Stoughton High School during his senior year.

Abousamra has been on the run from the FBI for years, and is suspected of joining ISIS and using his computer skills to spread ISIS' messages on social media, according to ABC News.

ISIS released new videos in which they are calling on Muslims to kill people in countries that belong to the anti-ISIS, United States-led coalition.

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French, or an Australian, or Canadian or any other disbeliever, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,' an ISIS spokesman said.

U.S. officials said Monday that confronting the threat from ISIS is now of the highest urgency, ABC News's Brian Ross reported.

"We are working very closely with our international partners to try and mitigate this threat," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. "And to try and keep eyes on individuals and to monitor their movements."" via Pamela Geller

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Ed. note: ABC News is referenced in the WCVB report. I haven't been able to find an ABC News report on this story.


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RFK Jr. climate hypocrisy exposed at NY City climate march-Rush Limbaugh

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9/22/14, "RFK Jr.'s Climate Hypocrisy Exposed," Rush Limbaugh transcript

Rush: "There was a giant climate march in New York (well, it was all over the country) over the weekend, and it was clear that anti-capitalism was really the objective here. That's all the military environmental movement is, is a home for displaced communists, once the Berlin Wall fell. It would have been anyway. It's made to order for deception. It's made to order for campaigns of deceit. 

Environmentalism allows practitioners to claim to have the best interests of everybody at heart. They want to save something -- in this case the planet -- and they want everybody to be participant in it. 

It's been a brilliant campaign. The problem is, most people don't care about it now, and most people don't believe it. Most people have come to accept that it's a hoax. This has only made the climate mob even more intense

So they showed up, and some of the signs they were carrying yesterday made clear this is an anti-capitalist movement.  One sign said, "I care more about my child than money. Do you?" Things like this. When you see a sign bashing the Koch brothers, you get an idea what it's all about. But they made an absolute junk pile out of the place they were in in New York. They left a trail of trash -- and they do that every time they do this. 

Every time global warming people get together, any time Occupy... In fact, they're turning Occupy Wall Street into Occupy the Climate right now, is essentially what's happening. But anytime they get together, it's a pigsty when they leave. You talk about pollution and dirt and filth and stinking up the environment? These people are the professionals at it. And, lo and behold, yesterday, Robert Kennedy Jr. showed up.

He was one of the leaders of the People's Climate March in New York City. PJTV.com correspondent Michelle Fields caught up with him and we have a couple of sound bites. She said, "Mr. Kennedy, this is a pretty large event. Millions of fliers handed out, 400 buses filled with people coming here. 



Are you concerned about the damage to the environment, something like your event can cause?"
 
KENNEDY: We need this kind of event to save the environmentWhat I'm concerned with is the kind of damage that's been caused by Exxon and the Koch brothers and by the oil wars that we've spent $4 trillion on over the last 10 years. The oil companies have subverted our democracy and are running our foreign policy and running our domestic policy is people power.  They have the money on their side. We have the people on our side and we need to the people here to show that they don't want to take it anymore. [Video below]

(Rush) I didn't hear much about the environment in there. 

I heard a bunch of anti-capitalism and the usual bromides about no blood for oil -- and, of course, the inclusion of the Koch brothers.... 

Next sound bite: Michelle Fields says to Robert Kennedy Jr., "Well, I don't understand. You say gotta bring a bunch of buses in, you gotta do all this, gotta cause a lot of pollution in order to make news the event.  Shouldn't you lead by example and not be causing any pollution or mess?"

KENNEDY:  I do lead by example.

FIELDS:  So are you gonna give up your cell phone?

KENNEDY:  No, I'm not gonna give up my cell phone.

FIELDS:  Are you gonna give up your car?

KENNEDY:  Are you gonna give up yours?

FIELDS:  I'm not the one who's here talking about the environment.

KENNEDY:  No, I'm not going to stop using a cell phone, and I'm not gonna stop using... I don't believe that we have to reduce our quality of life in order to have a rational free market, in order to stop the use of carbon, in order to divorce ourselves from a fuel that is destroying our planet. It's much more popularity to change your politician than it is to change your lightbulb or your cell phone or your automobile. 

RUSH: Whoa! Whoa-oh!

KENNEDY: That's what you ought to be paying attention to rather than asking trivial and inane questions about whether or not what kind of car somebody drives or whether or not they use cell phones.

RUSH:  There it is. There it is. You see, ladies and gentlemen?  Typical liberalism. He wants you to change your life but he's not gonna change his. He's gonna use his phone. He's gonna use his car. 

"Hey, are you gonna get rid of yours?" She says, "I'm not the one telling everybody to get rid of theirs, RFK Jr. You are!"  And then he says, "Look, it's more important to change your politician than to change your light bulb or your cell phone or your automobile." 

That's gonna come as news to over half the kids who buy into this global warming crap, because he just gave up the ghost there in a moment of being caught.

RUSH: What I was going to say was that that interview -- that little street interview with Robert Kennedy Jr. -- is an example of what journalism used to be, for those of you who are too young to remember it. So here's a guy, RFK Jr., telling everybody that they gotta get rid of their cars and they gotta stop using phones and they've got to start cleaning up the way they live 'cause they're polluting the planet and destroying the climate, and we're all gonna die. 

And he's been saying this for years. 

But he drives his own SUV, he uses his own phone, he flies around in private jets, and the reporter said, "Well, are you gonna get rid of your cell phone? Are you gonna stop driving your car?"  That doesn't happen today. When a journalist of the day interviews somebody like Robert Kennedy Jr., they ask the setup question, they let him roll with whatever he wants to say.

They turn back to the camera and smile and say, "There you have it, from the climate march to save the world here in New York City! I'm so-and-so, CBS News," blah, that's it. This woman, Michelle Fields, actually asked, "Are you gonna get rid of your phone, sir? Are you gonna get rid of your car?" And he wasn't used to that.  He doesn't get questions like that because he deals with a fawning media. He didn't know what to say. He said, "No, I'm not gonna get rid of my cell phone! Are you gonna get rid of yours?" 

That was so illustrative of the mind-set. 

"No, I'm not gonna get rid of my cell phone. Are you gonna get rid of yours?"

"Sir, you're the one telling everybody to get rid of theirs.  Sir, you're the one advocating everybody stop driving cars. Sir, you're the one advocating that everybody forgo any progress or advancement in their life in order to 'save the planet.'  So all I'm asking, are you gonna show leadership and do the same thing?"
 
That's what journalism used to be. Journalists used to find hypocrisy in the powerful and point it out. Today, journalists have identified the powerful and they want to be included in them. They want to be buds. They want to be on the same team, and so they advance the agenda of these neophytes. RFK Jr. is a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance, and this interview illustrated that.
 
It's a lost art. 

It doesn't happen in the Drive-By Media."

End transcript



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"Related Links


Image above from RushLimbaugh.com

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9/21/14, "I guess the climate change people couldn't find a trash can. Yeaaaa earth. ," Normal American Man. Cup says, 'The Arctic Affects Us All'










9/21/14, " marchers trash the . Nice job. Erik Hansen
 
 
 
9/21/14, "From the climate rally in London today. This doesn't seem eco friendly, does it? Raheem Kassam. via 9/22/14, "Far Left Climate Activists Leave Mounds of Trash For Cities to Deal With," The Gateway Pundit
 
 


9/21/14, Communist Party USA banner at NYC Climate March, scroll to 15th photo, Revcom.us
seen on banner is Communist Party USA. via CFACT
 
 
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arson suspect arraigned in Northern California fire. State arson measure lapsed in Jan. 2014-Sacramento Bee

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9/19/14, "Suspect arraigned in King fire; at least four houses burn," Sacramento Bee, by Darrell Smith and Sam Stanton

"Authorities say the fire is the work of Huntsman, whom they describe as a small-time criminal offender from the Santa Cruz area who moved to El Dorado County about two years ago....

Huntsman is being held on $10 million bail, and the allegations led Pierson to make a public appeal to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to sign a bill on his desk that greatly enhances penalties for some arson fires.

The bill, by state Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, reinstates a measure that lapsed on Jan. 1 and allows for sentences of 10 years to life for someone convicted of aggravated arson, which is arson causing $7 million in damage, including firefighting costs.

The King fire is costing $5 million a day to fight, and while Pierson noted it could not be applied retroactively to the Huntsman case it could be an important tool for future arson prosecutions.

Shortly after Pierson sent a letter to the governor and made his remarks, Brown’s office issued an update of signed bills that included the arson measure."...

Image: "Wayne Allen Huntsman, the suspect in the arson that set off the King fire, is arraigned in El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville on Friday alongside his attorney, William Dittman."

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/19/6720237/wayne-allen-huntsman-king-fire.html#storylink=cpy
photo Randall Benton, sac bee



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Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/19/6720237/wayne-allen-huntsman-king-fire.html#storylink=cpy

US enabled beheadings, genocide against Kurds by giving finest tanks and weapons to unvetted Iraqis who left them for ISIS to use. 60,000 Kurds flee in past 24 hrs., small children walking miles across desert, "astonishing"-BBC. Depraved US could at least apologize for doing nothing to stop genocide it caused.

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9/20/14, "Syria crisis: 66,000 'flee Islamic State' into Turkey," BBC














"Queues of refugees began to mass even before the border opened on Friday," Reuters

"Some 66,000 refugees - mainly Syrian Kurds - have crossed into Turkey in 24 hours, officials say, as Islamic State militants advance in northern Syria....

"As of today, the number of Syrian Kurds who entered Turkey has exceeded 60,000," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters on Saturday.

He was speaking from the southern Turkish province of Sanliurfa, where many of the refugees have sought shelter.

Separately, a Turkish government official told the BBC's Mark Lowen that the number is as high as 66,000....

The influx is astonishing - and still continues....

BBC correspondents say the capture of the town would give IS control of a large strip of Syria's northern border with Turkey."...

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Where is the "caring, compassionate" US Left?

7/11/14, "ISIS steps up assault on Kurds in Syria’s north," Daily Star, Lebanon


"They (ISIS) captured large amounts of weapons left behind by Iraqi troops including U.S.-made armored personnel carriers, Humvees and artillery.

Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil said members of ISIS are trying to capture an area near the Turkish border that would link them with their positions in eastern Syria. The fighting is concentrated in the region of Ain al-Arab, or Kobani in Kurdish."...












Image: "Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrians approach the border fence near the Turkish town of Suruc, opposite the Syrian town known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic and Kobani in Kurdish. Photo: Reuters"
  

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Kurds beheaded by ISIS:

"He says that four other older men from his village were beheaded before they could escape. He named them....The battle-hardened veterans of the PKK and its Syrian franchise, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have proved the most effective fighters against IS. The PKK, however, is still described as a “terrorist organisation” by the US and Europe, at the behest of Turkey, which fought against the PKK from 1984 to 2013."...

9/21/14, "Isis in Syria: 60,000 Kurds flee terror in new exodus," UK Independent, Isabel Hunter

"Relatives carried the sick, the frail and the elderly on their backs as reports emerged that more than 30 civilians had been slaughtered while trying to escape.

An estimated 21 villages have so far been overtaken by IS and 200 have emptied as terrified Kurds fled, fearing a repeat of the horrific massacres in Iraq. “As soon as we saw what happened in Sinjar, we knew that we would be next,” Mr Ali says....

Using heavy artillery, captured either from Mosul or, more likely, according to witnesses, from Assad’s army bases in Syria, IS fighters have shelled villages to soften them up before mounting a ground assault.

Khaled, 38, and his 75-year-old father have been travelling for 10 days. Their clothes are torn and their hair dusty. They escaped the IS shelling of their village of Korik, known as Abu Haya in Arabic, near Tel Abyad. “We’ve been sleeping in our car or on the ground. They [IS] beheaded two people from our village. For what? They don’t need a reason – they were killing anyone they saw, but most people had left or were hiding,” says Khaled.

With his eyes trained on his village from the Turkish side of the border, Sabri Mohammad, 60, is worried about his five sons who have stayed behind to fight IS. “There! That’s Daesh [IS fighters],” he says as he points to a convoy of trucks entering the village. “I could see their black flag flying over the police station already … Everybody has left. I was the last one to come though.”

He says that four other older men from his village were beheaded before they could escape. He named them as Mohammed Oso Nabo, 55, Sino Nabo, 70, Mohammed Ali Muslim, 65, and Muslim Qadr, 75....

The battle-hardened veterans of the PKK and its Syrian franchise, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have proved the most effective fighters against IS. The PKK, however, is still described as a “terrorist organisation” by the US and Europe, at the behest of Turkey, which fought against the PKK from 1984 to 2013."...

Image: "60,000 Syrian Kurds are reported to have fled to the border with Turkey (AFP)"


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Comment: Crimes against humanity by the Republican Establishment. They're the only entity that could've stopped this and they didn't. 





'Climate Science Is Not Settled,' Dr. Steven E. Koonin, Energy Dept. official in Pres. Obama's first term-Wall St. Journal Saturday Essay

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"Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate."
 
9/19/14, "Climate Science Is Not Settled," Wall St. Journal, Steven E. Koonin, The Saturday Essay. "Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term."

"We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin."

"The idea that "Climate science is settled" runs through today's popular and policy discussions. 

Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don't know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

The crucial scientific question for policy isn't whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth's global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. 

There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself. 

Rather, the crucial, unsettled scientific question for policy is, "How will the climate change over the next century under both natural and human influences?" Answers to that question at the global and regional levels, as well as to equally complex questions of how ecosystems and human activities will be affected, should inform our choices about energy and infrastructure.

But—here's the catch—those questions are the hardest ones to answer. They challenge, in a fundamental way, what science can tell us about future climates.

Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole. For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere's natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets 

a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences. 

A second challenge to "knowing" future climate is today's poor understanding of the oceans. The oceans, which change over decades and centuries, hold most of the climate's heat and strongly influence the atmosphere. Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate.

A third fundamental challenge arises from feedbacks that can dramatically amplify or mute the climate's response to human and natural influences. One important feedback, which is thought to approximately double the direct heating effect of carbon dioxide, involves water vapor, clouds and temperature.

But feedbacks are uncertain. They depend on the details of processes such as evaporation and the flow of radiation through clouds. They cannot be determined confidently from the basic laws of physics and chemistry, so they must be verified by precise, detailed observations that are, in many cases, not yet available.

Beyond these observational challenges are those posed by the complex computer models used to project future climate. These massive programs attempt to describe the dynamics and interactions of the various components of the Earth system—the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, the ice and the biosphere of living things. While some parts of the models rely on well-tested physical laws, other parts involve technically informed estimation. Computer modeling of complex systems is as much an art as a science.

For instance, global climate models describe the Earth on a grid that is currently limited by computer capabilities to a resolution of no finer than 60 miles. (The distance from New York City to Washington, D.C., is thus covered by only four grid cells.) But processes such as cloud formation, turbulence and rain all happen on much smaller scales. These critical processes then appear in the model only through adjustable assumptions that specify, for example, how the average cloud cover depends on a grid box's average temperature and humidity. In a given model, dozens of such assumptions must be adjusted ("tuned," in the jargon of modelers) to reproduce both current observations and imperfectly known historical records.

We often hear that there is a "scientific consensus" about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn't a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences. Since 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has periodically surveyed the state of climate science. Each successive report from that endeavor, with contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, has come to be seen as the definitive assessment of climate science at the time of its issue.

For the latest IPCC report (September 2013), its Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, uses an ensemble of some 55 different models. Although most of these models are tuned to reproduce the gross features of the Earth's climate, the marked differences in their details and projections reflect all of the limitations that I have described. For example:

The models differ in their descriptions of the past century's global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere's energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate's inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right

Although the Earth's average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years, even as the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by some 25%. This surprising fact demonstrates directly that natural influences and variability
are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.

Yet the models famously fail to capture this slowing in the temperature rise. Several dozen different explanations for this failure have been offered, with ocean variability most likely playing a major role. But the whole episode continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.

The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high. 

The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that "hot spot" has not been confidently observed, casting doubt on our understanding of the crucial feedback of water vapor on temperature. 

• Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century

A crucial measure of our knowledge of feedbacks is climate sensitivity—that is, the warming induced by a hypothetical doubling of carbon-dioxide concentration. Today's best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. 

And this is despite an heroic 

research effort costing billions of dollars
.
These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not "minor" issues to be "cleaned up" by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.

Yet a public official reading only the IPCC's "Summary for Policy Makers" would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that "climate science is settled." 

While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.

We can and should take steps to make climate projections more useful over time. An international commitment to a sustained global climate observation system would generate an ever-lengthening record of more precise observations. And increasingly powerful computers can allow a better understanding of the uncertainties in our models, finer model grids and more sophisticated descriptions of the processes that occur within them. The science is urgent, since we could be caught flat-footed if our understanding does not improve more rapidly than the climate itself changes. 

A transparent rigor would also be a welcome development, especially given the momentous political and policy decisions at stake. That could be supported by regular, independent, "red team" reviews to stress-test and challenge the projections by focusing on their deficiencies and uncertainties; that would certainly be the best practice of the scientific method. But because the natural climate changes over decades, it will take many years to get the data needed to confidently isolate and quantify the effects of human influences.

Policy makers and the public may wish for the comfort of certainty in their climate science. But I fear that rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is "settled" (or is a "hoax") demeans and chills the scientific enterprise, retarding its progress in these important matters. Uncertainty is a prime mover and motivator of science and must be faced head-on. It should not be confined to hushed sidebar conversations at academic conferences. 

Society's choices in the years ahead will necessarily be based on uncertain knowledge of future climates.

That uncertainty need not be an excuse for inaction. There is well-justified prudence in accelerating the development of low-emissions technologies and in cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.

But climate strategies beyond such "no regrets" efforts carry costs, risks and questions of effectiveness, so nonscientific factors inevitably enter the decision. These include our tolerance for risk and the priorities that we assign to economic development, poverty reduction, environmental quality, and intergenerational and geographical equity.

Individuals and countries can legitimately disagree about these matters, so the discussion should not be about "believing" or "denying" the science. Despite the statements of numerous scientific societies, the scientific community cannot claim any special expertise in addressing issues related to humanity's deepest goals and values. The political and diplomatic spheres are best suited to debating and resolving such questions, and misrepresenting the current state of climate science does nothing to advance that effort.

Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognizing those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultimately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science itself.".
 
"Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. His previous positions include professor of theoretical physics and provost at Caltech, as well as chief scientist of BP, BP.LN +0.42% where his work focused on renewable and low-carbon energy technologies." via Powerline

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In 2012 alone $1 billion a day was spent on the notion of man caused global warming or man caused climate change.