Saturday, February 28, 2015

Obama has enabled Iran to take over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. He has also allowed Netanyahu to become a leader of historic dimensions-Caroline Glick

2/27/15, "Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama left him no choice," Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, via Jewish World Review

"It is hard to get your arms around the stubborn determination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. For most of the nine years he has served as Israel’s leader, first from 1996 to 1999 and now since 2009, Netanyahu shied away from confrontations or buckled under pressure. He signed deals with the Palestinians he knew the Palestinians would never uphold in the hopes of winning the support of hostile US administrations and a fair shake from the pathologically hateful Israeli media.

In recent years he released terrorist murderers from prison. He abrogated Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. He agreed to support the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. He agreed to keep giving the Palestinians of Gaza free electricity while they waged war against Israel. He did all of these things in a bid to accommodate US President Barack Obama and win over the media, while keeping the leftist parties in his coalitions happy.

For his part, for the past six years Obama has undermined Israel’s national security. He has publicly humiliated Netanyahu repeatedly.
He has delegitimized Israel’s very existence, embracing the jihadist lie that Israel’s existence is the product of post-Holocaust European guilt rather than 4,000 years of Jewish history. He and his representatives have given a backwind to the forces that seek to wage economic warfare against Israel, repeatedly indicating that the application of economic sanctions against Israel – illegal under the World Trade Organization treaty – are a natural response to Israel’s unwillingness to bow to every Palestinian demand. The same goes for the movement to deny the legitimacy of Israel’s very existence. Senior administration officials have threatened that Israel will become illegitimate if it refuses to surrender to Palestinian demands.

Last summer, Obama openly colluded with Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel. He tried to coerce Israel into accepting ceasefire terms that would have amounted to an unconditional surrender to Hamas’s demands for open borders and the free flow of funds to the terrorist group. He enacted a partial arms embargo on Israel in the midst of war. He cut off air traffic to Ben-Gurion International Airport under specious and grossly prejudicial terms in an open act of economic warfare against Israel.

And yet, despite Obama’s scandalous treatment of Israel, Netanyahu has continued to paper over differences in public and thank Obama for the little his has done on Israel’s behalf. He always makes a point of thanking Obama for agreeing to Congress’s demand to continue funding the Iron Dome missile defense system (although Obama has sought repeatedly to slash funding for the project).

Obama’s policies that are hostile to Israel are not limited to his unconditional support for the Palestinians in their campaign against Israel. Obama shocked the entire Israeli defense community when he supported the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, despite Mubarak’s dependability as a US ally in the war on Islamist terrorism, and as the guardian of both Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and the safety and freedom of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal.

Obama supported Mubarak’s overthrow despite the fact that the only political force in Egypt capable of replacing him was the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks the destruction of Israel and is the ideological home and spawning ground of jihadist terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Hamas. Obama then supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime even as then-president Mohamed Morsi took concrete steps to transform Egypt into an Islamist, jihadist state and end Egypt’s peace with Israel.

Israelis were united in our opposition to Obama’s behavior. But Netanyahu said nothing publicly in criticism of Obama’s destructive, dangerous policy.

He held his tongue in the hopes of winning Obama over through quiet diplomacy.
He held his tongue, because he believed that the damage Obama was causing Israel was not irreversible in most cases. And it was better to maintain the guise of good relations, in the hopes of actually achieving them, than to expose the fractures in US-Israel ties caused by Obama’s enormous hostility toward Israel and by his strategic myopia that endangered both Israel and the US’s other regional allies.

And yet, today Netanyahu, the serial accommodator, is putting everything on the line. He will not accommodate. He will not be bullied. He will not be threatened, even as all the powers that have grown used to bringing him to his knees – the Obama administration, the American Jewish Left, the Israeli media, and the Labor party grow ever more shrill and threatening in their attacks against him.

As he has made clear in daily statements, Netanyahu is convinced that we have reached a juncture in our relations with the Obama administration where accommodation is no longer possible.

Obama’s one policy that Netanyahu has never acquiesced to either publicly or privately is his policy of accommodating Iran.

Since Obama’s earliest days in office, Netanyahu has warned openly and behind closed doors that Obama’s plan to forge a nuclear deal with Iran is dangerous. And as the years have passed, and the lengths Obama is willing to go to appease Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been left their marks on the region, Netanyahu’s warnings have grown stronger and more urgent.

Netanyahu has been clear since his first tenure in office in the 1990s, that Iran’s nuclear program – as well as its ballistic missile program – constitutes a threat to Israel’s very existence. He has never wavered from his position that Israel cannot accept an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

Until Obama entered office, and to an ever escalating degree since his reelection in 2012, preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons has been such an obvious imperative among both Israelis and Americans that Netanyahu’s forthright rejection of any nuclear deal in which Iran would be permitted to maintain the components of its nuclear program was uncontroversial. In some Israeli circles, his trenchant opposition to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear capabilities was the object of derision, with critics insisting that he was standing strong on something uncontroversial while buckling on issues like negotiations with the Palestinians, where he should have stood strong.

But now we are seeing that far from being an opportunist, Netanyahu is a leader of historical dimensions. For the past two years, in the interest of reaching a deal, Obama has enabled Iran to take over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. For the first time since 1974, due to Obama’s policies, the Golan Heights is an active front in the war against Israel, with Iranian military personnel commanding Syrian and Hezbollah forces along the border.
Iran’s single-minded dedication to its goal of becoming a regional hegemon and its commitment to its ultimate goal of destroying the US is being enabled by Obama’s policies of accommodation. An Iran in possession of a nuclear arsenal is an Iran that can not only destroy Israel with just one or two warheads. It can make it impossible for Israel to respond to conventional aggression carried out by terrorist forces and others operating under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.

Whereas Israel can survive Obama on the Palestinian front by stalling, waiting him out and placating him where possible, and can even survive his support for Hamas by making common cause with the Egyptian military and the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the damage Obama’s intended deal with Iran will cause Israel will be irreversible. The moment that Obama grants Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal – and the terms of the agreement that Obama has offered Iran grant Iran an unimpeded path to nuclear power – a future US administration will be hard-pressed to put the genie back in the bottle.

For his efforts to prevent irreparable harm to Israel Netanyahu is being subjected to the most brutal and vicious attacks any Israeli leader has ever been subjected to by an American administration and its political allies. They are being assisted in their efforts by a shameless Israeli opposition that is willing to endanger the future of the country in order to seize political power.

Every day brings another serving of abuse. Wednesday National Security Adviser Susan Rice accused Netanyahu of destroying US relations with Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry effectively called him a serial alarmist, liar, and warmonger.

For its part, the Congressional Black Caucus reportedly intends to sabotage Netanyahu’s address before the joint houses of Congress by walking out in the middle, thus symbolically accusing of racism the leader of the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, and the leader of the most persecuted people in human history.

Radical leftist representatives who happen to be Jewish, like Jan Schakowsky of suburban Chicago and Steve Cohen of Memphis, are joining Netanyahu’s boycotters in order to give the patina of Jewish legitimacy to an administration whose central foreign policy threatens the viability of the Jewish state.

As for Netanyahu’s domestic opponents, their behavior is simply inexcusable. In Israel’s hour of peril, just weeks before Obama intends to conclude his nuclear deal with the mullahs that will endanger Israel’s existence, Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog insists that his primary duty is to defeat Netanyahu.

And as far as Iran is concerned, he acts as a free loader and a spoiler. Either he believes that Netanyahu will succeed in his mission to derail the deal with or without his support, or he doesn’t care. But Herzog’s rejection of Netanyahu’s entreaties that he join him in Washington next week, and his persistent attacks on Netanyahu for refusing accommodate that which cannot be accommodated shows that he is both an opportunist and utterly unworthy of a leadership role in this country.

Netanyahu is not coming to Washington next Tuesday to warn Congress against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, because he seeks a fight with Obama. Netanyahu has devoted the last six years to avoiding a fight with Obama, often at great cost to Israel’s national security and to his own political position.

Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama has left him no choice. And all decent people of good will should support him, and those who do not, and those who are silent, 
should be called out for their treachery and cowardice." via Lucianne


Jeb Bush CPAC appearance a debacle, he gave no speech, just did Hannity Q and A, bussing supporters from K St. didn't help

2/28/15, "Jeb Bush’s CPAC Debacle Wasn’t Saved By Bussing In Supporters," RedState, Steve Berman

"Mind-bogglingly mishandled appearance hurt campaign."

"Jeb Bush’s campaign is calling Dick Tuck to see if he’s behind the debacle he suffered at CPAC 2015. Gateway Pundit confirmed that Jeb bussed in supporters so it wouldn’t look like everyone in the room hated him (or worse, left). But it didn’t matter, because they booed him anyway.
And they left.

And Slate got hold of the emails from Fritz Brogan telling his K-street astroturf crowd,
We strongly recommend arriving as early as possible to get a seat,” wrote Brogan in an email sent to undisclosed recipients. “Our ‘Early Rise’ team will be there at 7:30am onward helping reserve seats- if you want to join the early team, let me know.”
Brogan wrote that there were still available seats on buses leaving from K Street and Georgetown at noon on Friday to get to the event in time for Bush’s talk.
Sean Hannity should have gotten combat awkward pay for asking the questions in the Q&A. There was no speech. The Gaylord National Harbor is a nice place, and it would be hard to clean up rotten tomatoes and beer bottles that would surely be thrown were Bush to actually address the crowd.

Score negative ten for Team Jeb."


Top Romney fundraiser Zwick praised Jeb Bush on GOP donor conference call organized by key CPAC figure Grover Norquist-Breitbart

2/27/15, "Sessions Vs. Jeb: Battle For The Soul Of The GOP," Breitbart, Matthew Boyle, National Harbor, Md.

"In a surprise speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) unloaded on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—systematically dismantling Bush’s push for amnesty and a massive increase in guest workers from around the world.

Right now, there are two conferencesone of them in public where candidates are out there having to speak and defend and answer questions on their views and on their positions on important issues facing America,” Sessions said to open up his remarks to the Breitbart News-sponsored meet-and-greet with CPAC activists. 

“Many people at this conference here and watching it from abroad are evaluating them, judging them and asking themselves whether or not their visions, their ideas, their character will be used to advance the interests of the American people and this republic—and that’s the way it ought to be.”

However, Sessions cited a Washington Times article saying Mitt Romney’s former top fundraising aide Spencer Zwick, “praised Jeb Bush’s stance on immigration, saying the party should follow his lead if the party hopes to win back the White House.”

“If someone wants to be serious about running for president, they need to be in a similar place [to Bush],” Zwick said on a conference call with GOP donors organized by Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist—a key figure at CPAC
since he is a board member of the American Conservative Union (ACU). The ACU hosts CPAC every year, but the organization under new chairman Matt Schlapp has seen a shift away from the establishment wing of the GOP it had under old chairman Al Cardenas. [*]

“I’ll tell you one thing: It’s the people of this country that run this country,” Sessions responded, pushing back against the donor community’s push for other Republican candidates to abandon their constituents in support of Bush’s immigration position. “Contributions and supporters are always important in presidential elections and other elections too, but votes trumps money.” The crowd in the room cheered for Sessions.

Bush, on the other hand, was booed by CPAC activists—many of whom walked out on his speech as he argued that Congress needs to grant amnesty to the millions of illegal aliens in America right now.

“The president did use authority he didn’t have, the courts are going to overrule that,” Bush said, comments in which he was essentially calling for Congress to stop fighting President Obama’s executive amnesty. But instead of stopping executive amnesty, Bush wants Congress to pass a legislative amnesty. “There is no plan to deport 11 million people,” Bush said, but calling—as the Senate “Gang of Eight” called for, something that turned out to not be true—border security to stop the flow of illegal immigration “first and foremost.”
Sessions offered a different vision on immigration that Bush, one more in line with the Republican base:

I think [people across America] are very ready to abandon this statist, amnesty and open borders threat to their jobs, wages and future for themselves and their children. People are worried about this. I’m going to tell you how we’re going to win this election.
It’s a fundamental question of who are our constituents? Who do we vote for and represent? A CEO’s job is to represent stockholders. Well, a politician’s job is to represent the people. We are not, as National Review said, an economy with a nation. We are a nation with an economy. People are not commodities.
Bush, during his interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on stage at CPAC, accused those who have the viewpoint widespread increases in immigration would hurt American workers—people including Sessions—of having liberal viewpoints.

“I believe that we we ought to be focused on is growing the economic pie and growing it in a way that looks more like the ’80s in America,” Bush said during remarks.

But Sessions fired back, by noting that “the American people want and rightly believe their federal government should defend their economic interest on the world stage effectively with passion and determination. That is an obligation that we have as representatives of the people to do so, and with regard to immigration the American people are good and decent. We have the most generous immigration system in the world.”

Sessions detailed how America right now allows in more legal immigrants than any other nation, and noted, “the American people’s view is right and good and decent.”

“They’ve pleaded for this, they’ve demanded this, Congress has promised this but never delivered—they’ve asked for a lawful system of immigration, one that serves the national interest, one that we can be proud of,” Sessions said.

While Sessions said that Romney would have been a great president, he lost the election because he failed to get lower-income American workers to vote for him. The way to get those people to the polls for a Republican, Sessions points out, is to make it clear to the voters that the Republican nominee whoever it is will stick up for them over corporatists, special interests and foreign workers." via Free Rep.


*Comment: Sorry, as long as Grover Norquist and Bush pal Al Cardenas are on the board of CPAC and ACU it's an Establishment operation, not even close to being anything else. They can say whatever they want, hire a new front man--that's part of co-opting which the GOP Establishment considers central to its business. Norquist is merely a parasite, Karl Rove had to give him $27 million in 2012 to make ends meet. Norquist likes to hob nob and was a champ at co-opting the Tea Party. There's no reason whatsoever for the Establishment to give up control of CPAC. Conversely, it would be standard procedure for them to spend time fooling hapless, disenfranchised, right of center Americans into thinking their voices meant anything. Not a chance of that from the people who gave us the 2014 Mississippi GOP primary and runoff. I appreciated the above article but don't agree with the premise in the headline. Jeb Bush isn't battling for anyone's soul. He's just going through the motions and making ridiculous statements. Jeff Sessions isn't running for president, and I haven't heard he has aspirations to do so.


US Constitution has effectively been changed to exclude power of the purse, Executive Branch wishes are all funded-Sen. Jeff Sessions. Secretarial Branch is led by Republicans McConnell and Boehner whose new country is in line with Democrat and Bush family desires

2/27/15, "Sen. Sessions: 'Power of the Purse Now a Historical Concept?'" CNS News, Susan Jones

"As Congress prepares to pass a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, including President Obama's executive amnesty, for at least another three weeks, one conservative senator says it's a very bad idea:

"We cannot let this Congress go down in the history books as the Congress that established a new precedent that we will fund any imperial decree that violates established American laws," Sen. Jeff Sessions said on Thursday.

"Is this to be the new normal? Congress must provide the president with the funds he wants, for any project he dreams up, no matter how illegal and unconstitutional? Is the power of the purse now a historical concept, never to be used again when it is needed most?

"There is no more basic application of congressional power than to establish where funds may and may not be spent; indeed, that is the very definition of an appropriations bill. And there could never be a more important time to exercise such a power than when our Republican heritage itself is at stake."

Sessions said he will vote against a "clean" funding bill -- one that does not block funding for President Obama's immigration changes. The Senate is expected to pass that bill on Friday, then send it the House, which reportedly has agreed to unconditionally fund DHS for another three weeks.

“I cannot vote for any legislation that funds this illegal amnesty," Sessions said on Thursday. "There must be a line in the sand, a moment where people say: this is where it stops. That is why I will oppose this legislation if the amnesty restrictions are removed, and urge my colleagues to do the same."

Sessions noted that six Democrats must switch their votes for the block on amnesty funding to take effect: "Six Senate Democrats are standing in the way of the interests of 300 million Americans," he said. "Six Senate Democrats are keeping us from protecting American workers and American borders."

Sessions said Obama's executive amnesty -- deferring deportation for millions of illegal immigrants and offering them work permits, Social Security Numbers and other benefits -- is not a minor constitutional violation.

"It is an explosive violation," Sessions said. "It threatens our very sovereignty. Essential to any sovereign nation is the enforcement of its borders, the application of uniform rules for exit and entry, and the delivery of consequences for any who violate those rules.

"But the president has suspended those borders, erased those rules, and replaced consequences with rewards. He has arrogated for himself the sole and absolute power to decide who comes to the United States, who lives in the United States, and who works in the United States.

Sessions said if Congress funds Obama's executive amnesty by passing an unconditional spending bill, "it is not a question of if the President will suspend more immigration laws, but only how many he will suspend.”

After Republicans took control of Congress in the midterm election, President Obama directed his Department of Homeland Security to do what Congress has so far refused to do. "President Obama’s executive action nullified the immigration laws we do have and replaced them with the very measures Congress and the American people have time and again rejected," Sessions noted."


Friday, February 27, 2015

Moody's downgrades Chicago debt to Baa2, two steps above junk-Reuters

2/27/15, "Exclusive: Chicago nears fiscal free fall with latest downgrade," Reuters, Karen Pierog, Chicago

"Chicago drew closer to a fiscal free fall on Friday with a rating downgrade from Moody's Investors Service that could trigger the immediate termination of four interest-rate swap agreements, costing the city about $58 million and raising the prospect of more broken swaps contracts.

The downgrade to Baa2, just two steps above junk, and a warning the rating could fall further still, means the third-biggest U.S. city could face even higher costs in the future if banks choose to terminate other interest-rate hedges against fluctuations in interest rates. All told, Chicago holds swaps contracts covering $2.67 billion in debt, according to a disclosure late last year.

"This is an unfortunate wake-up call for anyone still asleep over the fiscal cliff facing the city of Chicago," said Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based government finance watchdog, The Civic Federation.

Chicago's finances are already sagging under an unfunded pension liability Moody's has pegged at $32 billion and that is equal to eight times the city's operating revenue. The city has a $300 million structural deficit in its $3.53 billion operating budget and is required by an Illinois law to boost the 2016 contribution to its police and fire pension funds by $550 million.

Cost-saving reforms for the city's other two pension funds, which face insolvency in a matter of years, are being challenged in court by labor unions and retirees....
Moody's said Chicago's rating could be cut if Illinois courts find pension reform laws enacted to shore up the state's financially ailing pension system and for two of Chicago's retirement systems are unconstitutional. A ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court on one of the laws could come as early as this spring....

Chicago has the financial resources at hand to cover the initial $58 million termination payments on the four swaps if the city is unable to renegotiate terms, Moody's said. "The city's available liquidity is more than sufficient to cover these termination costs," Moody's stated....

A spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The downgrade and violation of terms on the swaps agreement likely will become an issue in Emanuel's re-election campaign. The first-term mayor, a former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, failed on Tuesday to win a majority of votes in a primary election, and faces a runoff vote April 7 against a Cook County commissioner, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia....

Chicago is defending a 2014 Illinois law that boosted pension contributions by the city and its workers to two of its retirement funds and reduced benefits. In the affidavit and in testimony earlier this month in Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago CFO Scott quantified the city's exposure to a variety of credit instruments as a result of further rating downgrades.

Under a three-notch downgrade, Chicago would default on about $2.8 billion of credit facilities, including letters of credit, that the city would likely not be able to replace, according to Scott. Moody's analysts said most of Chicago's $806 million of variable-rate GO bonds are tied to swaps.

The city, under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars in risk by terminating or renegotiating 18 interest rate swap or swaption contracts and those efforts are continuing, spokeswoman Libby Langsdorf said last month....
Some Chicago debt is trading at worse levels than bonds sold by Illinois, which is paying the biggest yield penalty among states in the U.S. municipal bond market due to its own fiscal woes. 

The spread on Friday for Chicago bonds due in 2019 over the market's benchmark triple-A scale hit 125 basis points, which is 25 basis points over Illinois' so-called credit spread, according to Municipal Market Data." via Drudge


4Q 2014 US GDP revised down to 2.2 due to spike in imports, US business stockpiling slowed. 1Q 2015 expected slow due to winter-AP

2/27/15, "U.S. economic growth in fourth quarter revised down to 2.2%," AP via LA Times

"The U.S. economy slowed more sharply in the final three months of the year than initial estimates, reflecting weaker business stockpiling and a bigger trade deficit.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the economy as measured by the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the October-December quarter, weaker than the 2.6% first estimated last month. It marked a major slowdown from the third quarter, which had been the strongest growth in 11 years....

For all of 2014, the economy expanded 2.4%, up slightly from 2.2% growth in 2013.

Consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity, was a bright spot in the fourth quarter. It expanded at an annual rate of 4.2%, down slightly from the first estimate of 4.3% growth but still the best showing since the first quarter of 2006.

Friday's report was the second of three estimates for fourth quarter GDP, the broadest measure of the economy's total output of goods and services....

The downward revision stemmed largely from slower stockpiling by businesses. Last month, the rise in inventories was estimated to have added 0.8%age points to fourth quarter growth. But that was lowered to a contribution of just 0.1%age point in the new estimate. The change, however, will likely translate into stronger growth in the current quarter because businesses will not have to work down an overhang of unsold goods.

Trade also weighed more heavily on growth than first thought, subtracting 1.2%age points as imports grew much more strongly than first thought. That could be a reflection of the rising value of the dollar, which makes imported products cheaper for U.S. consumers.

Many analysts believe 2015 will start slowly, in part reflecting the disruptions caused by a rough winter. However, it's unlikely to be as bad as the first quarter of 2014, when heavy snow and cold contributed to a 2.1% plunge in growth in the first quarter of 2014."...

US Quarterly GDP, 2011-2014:

Obama: Someday there's going to be a President Rodriguez. Rush Limbaugh: What about a President Cruz?

2/26/15, "MSNBC Ban Lifted to Analyze Obama's Infuriating Town Hall on Immigration," Rush Limbaugh transcript

"Obama: "At some point there's going to be a President Rodriguez or there's going to be a President Chin, or there's going to be -- (applause) The country is a nation of immigrants. And ultimately it will reflect who we are, and its politics will reflect who we are."

RUSH:  Yeah, what about a President Cruz? What about a President Rubio? What the hell is this? We could have a president Cruz or Rubio right now without letting a bunch of illegals in. What the hell is this?"...(scroll down, after Cruz picture).

Image above from


Added: Regular listeners know the reference to "ban lifted on MSNBC" in title of above Rush Limbaugh segment refers to a sometime ban Limbaugh institutes on himself about viewing MSNBC.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Madonna says anti-Semitism at all time high in Europe and especially in France

2/27/15, "Madonna: Atmosphere of intolerance in Europe 'feels like Nazi Germany'," Jerusalem Post staff

"Internationally-recognized pop music sensation Madonna on Thursday said anti-Semitism and "growing intolerance" in Europe, and especially in France, has reached a level that "feels like Nazi Germany."

During an interview with Europe 1 radio that is set to be aired in-full on Friday morning, the pop diva said "anti-Semitism is at an all-time high," in France and Europe.

Setting aside a fall off-stage during a performance at the Brit Awards Wednesday night in London, the 56-year-old star expressed her concern over the "climate of extreme fear" that she said has surfaced across the European continent, and which she likened to the era during the rise of German fascism.

"We are going through crazy times and it reminds me of Nazi Germany," Madonna told the radio network.

Madonna lamented that the spirit of freedom and celebration of diversity that she stated she had previously observed in France is now "completely gone."

"France was once a country that accepted people of color, and was a place artists escaped to, whether it was Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker," AFP quoted her as saying."


Missouri judge rules state membership in Common Core testing company illegal, Missouri had agreed to pay yearly dues of $4.3 million to Common Core testing co.

2/25/15, "Missouri judge rules pact with Common Core testing 'illegal'," AP via, Jefferson City, Mo.

"A Missouri judge says the state's membership to a testing company aligned with the national Common Core education standards is illegal and that it shouldn't pay fees to be part of the group.

Cole County Circuit judge Daniel Green ruled Tuesday that the state's partnership with the Common Core testing company is an "illegal interstate compact not authorized by the U.S. Congress."

The attorney general's office represents the state and is reviewing the ruling. Missouri's education department budgeted about $4.3 million for member dues this fiscal year

The Common Core education standards and tests aligned with them have been a magnet for critics, including the three plaintiffs in the court case ruled on Tuesday."

NextGen science standards seeks to be "consensus model" of entire country:

1/28/15, "Kansas, Missouri see temporary truce over Common Core standards," Kansas City Star, Joe Robertson

"The state also convened work groups on science standards and history and social studies standards — not part of Common Core, but with their own ideological divides.

The science groups are working with a menu of standards models that includes the Next Generation Science Standards, which carry a similar mission as Common Core to build a consensus model between states.

Airick Leonard West, a Kansas City school board member serving on the elementary science work group, is encouraged by what he’s seeing. “Partisanship and ideology have taken a backseat to the more pressing concerns of student preparation and teacher support,” West said.

The work is carrying on with “urgency” and “professionalism,” he said."...


2/25/15, "Judge Takes a Swipe at Common Core," The Blaze, Fred Lucas

"The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed the controversial Common Core education standards. The U.S. Department of Education has tied federal grants to states with adopting Common Core, which critics say makes it a de facto federal program. More than 40 states adopted the standards, but three states have outright repealed it, while numerous others are reviewing or rolling back certain aspects of the standards.
Two private testing companies are involved in administering the exams, Smarter Balance and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers."


Read more here:

Seats still available on bus from K Street to Jeb Bush CPAC Fox News Hannity chat on Friday! Don't delay!

2/26/15, "Jeb Bush Backers Are Busing Supporters From K Street to CPAC," Slate, Betsy Woodruff

"It sounds like Jeb Bush’s supporters are taking CPAC pretty seriously this year. Emails provided to Slate show that backers of the former Florida governor are busing supporters from downtown Washington D.C. to CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland, and organizing to get them day passes into the event.

One of the emails that went out this morning was from Fritz Brogan, a former advance man for then-President George W. Bush who (per the Washington Post) co-hosted a fundraiser for Jeb’s Right to Rise PAC earlier this month. A Bush insider confirmed to Slate that Bush’s Right to Rise PAC is helping organize the transportation.

“We strongly recommend arriving as early as possible to get a seat,” wrote Brogan in an email sent to undisclosed recipients. “Our ‘Early Rise’ team will be there at 7:30am onward helping reserve seats- if you want to join the early team, let me know.”

Brogan wrote that there were still available seats on buses leaving from K Street and Georgetown at noon on Friday to get to the event in time for Bush’s talk.

In another email sent last week to undisclosed recipients, Brogan discussed the importance of Bush supporters saving seats for each other before his talk.

“If you are able to come early, we would love to have your help at 7:30am reserving seats for fellow supporters,” he wrote.

One long-time CPAC insider said these organized efforts impressed him, and that he didn’t know of any other potential 2016 candidates busing backers in. Perhaps that’s because no other potential candidates are worried about the regular crowd turning against themthe Washington Times reports today that some CPAC attendees are planning “to stage an informal protest when he hits the stage.”

Eliana Johnson reported at National Review that Bush won’t give a speech. Rather, she wrote that he will do a 20-minute Q and A with Fox News host Sean Hannity. Bush is slated to appear on the mainstage at 1:40 p.m. Friday and we’ll let you know how it goes." via Free Rep.


Media love it when Republicans cave and then Democrats demand even more caving-Rush Limbaugh

2/25/15, "Republicans Cave on Everything," Rush Limbaugh

"Even the National Journal -- let me read this as it actually is written. "With the Homeland Security Department set to shut down on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday offered Senate Democrats everything they wanted. And then, as with mice and cookies, they asked for some more."

So the media knows the game. The Democrats lay out what it's gonna take to get a deal, Mitch McConnell caves, and Harry Reid (imitating Reid), "No, no, no, ho, no ho-ho-ho no. We haven't even gotten close yet. This isn't a cave. We still got Boehner over there acting out. You gotta do something about Boehner or else." 

The mainstream media love it when Republicans cave and then the Democrats demand even more caving.  (laughing)  The media, I mean, they're playing with 'em, folks, they're just toying with them.  "McConnell told reporters Tuesday that after two months of begging, he would finally agree to give Democrats a clean vote to fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year. The funding, based on an agreement between Democratic and Republican appropriators last year, would come with no strings attached."...
Anyway, who didn't see this coming?...We know where this is going because we know what the Republican donors want That's what everybody has to remember. They call it the donor class now. We got the elite class, the political class, the donor class, the hayseed class, the talk radio class. The donor class, the big money guys, Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street Journal editorial page, Jeb Bush, they want this. So it's not unexpected.  It's nevertheless just as frustrating, but it's not unexpected."...

Image above from Rush Limbaugh


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Israel retains broad American support per Feb. 2015 Gallup Poll vs Feb. 2014. 70% of Americans view Israel favorably, while 17% view Palestinian Authority favorably-Gallup, Feb. 8-11, 2015 poll

2/23/15,  "Seven in 10 Americans Continue to View Israel Favorably," Gallup Poll, Lydia Saad

"Israel has retained its broadly favorable image in the U.S. over the past year. Seventy percent of Americans now view that country favorably, and 62% say they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the Mideast conflict. By contrast, 17% currently view the Palestinian Authority favorably, and 16% sympathize more with the Palestinians.

These attitudes, from Gallup's Feb. 8-11 World Affairs survey, are unchanged from a year ago, suggesting that neither the evident friction between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nor the 50-day conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip last year, greatly affected how each is perceived in the U.S."...


From 2014 to 2015, approval of Israel increased among Republicans and Independents and decreased among Democrats:

2/24/15, "Gallup Records Significant Drop in Democrats’ Sympathy for Israel," CNS News, P. Goodenough

"A Gallup poll last month found that, while most Jewish Americans continue to identify as Democrats, the number has been slowly declining since 2008, the year Obama was elected to the White House.
In 2008, 71 percent of American Jews identified as Democrat; in 2014 the number had dropped to 61 percent....

In 2012, 69 percent of American Jews supported Obama while 30 percent supported his GOP rival, Mitt Romney....

In 2008, 22 percent of American Jews identified as Republicans; in 2014 29 percent did, Gallup reported.

In the 2008 presidential election, Jewish Americans supported Obama by 78 percent and his opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), by 22 percent....

The proportion of Democrats who sympathize more with Israel than with Palestinians in the Mideast conflict dropped ten points this year to 48 percent, according to a new poll by Gallup....

By contrast Republican sympathy for Israel over the Palestinians rose to 83 percent, continuing a trend that has risen from the low 50s in the late-1990s. Only in its 2010 poll did Gallup record a higher GOP sympathy for Israel, at 85 percent....
In addition, the percentage of Democrats viewing Israel favorably also dropped – by 14 points – over the past year, from 74 percent to 60, the poll found....

When the views of Americans of all political persuasions are taken into account, since 9/11 Americans have favored Israel by between 59 (2004) and 72 percent (2014). Over the same period, Americans’ favorable views of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) has ranged from a low of 11 percent (2006) to a high of 27 (2005).

In the latest poll, 70 percent of Americans overall said they view Israel favorably, and 62 percent said they sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians. Only 17 percent viewed the P.A. favorably, and 16 percent sympathized more with the Palestinians than the Israelis."...

Above images from Gallup


Nigeria government receives more than 75% of its revenues from oil exports-BBC

2/24/15, "Nigeria's fashionistas upset by falling oil prices," BBC, Lucy Fleming

"Nigeria's government receives more than 75% of its revenues from oil exports - and in the last six months prices on global markets have more than halved."...(subhead, "Online disappointment")

$1 billion Nigerian monthly oil theft "involves crooked politicians, security forces, oil industry personnel and oil traders....Proceeds are laundered through banks and businesses in African states, as well as the U.S., Britain, Switzerland, India, Singapore and the Persian Gulf."...

10/18/2013, "Nigeria's booming oil theft racket costs $1B a month,", Port Harcourt, Nigeria

"Royal Dutch Shell is selling off four of its onshore Nigerian oil blocks because of the constant theft of large volumes oil from its pipelines, officials said.

The move highlights the West African state's growing battle with criminal syndicates that are stealing an average of 100,000 barrels of crude a day. That costs the continent's second largest economy after South Africa up to $1 billion a month, a criminal enterprise on an industrial scale that officials say rivals the narcotics trade as the world's most lucrative crime.

Oil industry officials and community workers say this massive theft of Nigeria's key resource involves crooked politicians, security forces, oil industry personnel and oil traders.

There are also militant groups operating in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta, a labyrinth of swamps and creeks that provide cover for the complex network of crime.

"There's a sophisticated organization," says Philip Mshelbila, Shell's chief of communications in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital. "Clearly it's not just local. There has to be a wide network."

Mela Oforibika, a lawyer and head of the delta community of Bolo in southern Nigeria that's the center of the oil theft network, asserts that the military is paid off by crime syndicates.

"The pay-off system to the armed forces and police ... is well organized ... Most army have a lifestyle that you can't explain," he said.

Stealing oil from pipelines or other facilities is known as "bunkering." Officials say it's now so pervasive, in the delta particularly, that there's little interest in trying to stamp it out. And, with the fix supposedly running all the way up to senior levels of government, there's little political will to do anything despite the ruinous economic impact the oil theft has in a deeply corrupt country long torn by tribal, regional and religious rivalries.

Since Shell, which pioneered Nigeria's oil business, started production from the Oloibiri field in 1958, other majors like Exxon Mobil, Texaco and Gulf Oil have moved in.

Nigeria historically was Africa's foremost producer, although Angola, further south down the Atlantic coast, is now producing more crude oil.

In recent years, Nigeria's onshore production has been slipping, in large part because of "bunkering," but also because the older fields are running down.

Initially, most of Nigeria's production was onshore, 75 percent in the 1970s, But now offshore wells are overtaking the land-based fields and deepwater drilling is now predominant -- and harder to steal from.

Because of the oil theft, Nigerian production is running 400,000 barrels per day below its capacity of 2.5 million bpd.

The damage inflicted by the oil thieves has forced some companies in the delta to shut down pipelines for long periods.

On Oct. 10, Shell closed its Trans-Niger pipeline, capable of pumping 150,000 bpd to the giant refinery at Bonney, because it had been holed so many times by thieves. 

It's one of the most sabotaged pipelines in the world and that was the third shutdown in four months.

High oil prices in recent months, usually around $100-$110 a barrel, have blunted the impact of the oil thievery. Oil and gas account for around 70 percent of the country's revenues. 

But Nigeria's not out of the woods yet, and is unlikely to be despite some expansion in non-oil sectors such as telecoms and construction.

A recent report by the Royal Institute for International Affairs, a London think tank, said Nigeria's oil is being stolen not just from the pipelines, but tank farms, export terminals, refinery storage, ports and even wellheads.

"Officials and private actors disguise theft through manipulation of meters and shipping documents," the study observed. 

"Proceeds are laundered through world financial centers and used to buy assets in and outside Nigeria, polluting markets and financial institutions overseas, and creating reputational, political and legal hazards."

Much of the stolen oil is loaded on barges and small ships in the delta's creeks and carried to tankers offshore in the Gulf of Guinea, where it's taken to neighboring countries in West Africa, or further afield to Brazil, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Balkans where it's processed by international crime syndicates.

RIIA says the proceeds are laundered through banks and businesses in African states, as well as the U.S., Britain, Switzerland, India, Singapore and the Persian Gulf."


7/5/12, "Mongolia’s task: avoid Nigerian resource curse," Reuters, Martin Hutchinson

"Current estimates are that more than $1 billion of oil per month is stolen from the Niger Delta fields and corruption remains endemic even under well-meaning President Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria ranks 133rd on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and 143rd on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. True, high oil prices reversed 40 years of decline in living standards through 2000. And while GDP growth is slowing, it’s still expected to run at 6 percent to 7 percent this year. But with inflation in double digits and government expenditure budgeted to exceed revenue by 31 percent in 2012, Nigeria’s situation is unstable." 


Brazil truckers block roads for seventh day to protest fuel prices, harvests threatened. Brazil is world's leading supplier of sugar, coffee, orange juice, beef, poultry, and soybeans-Reuters

2/24/15, "Truck strike enters 7th day, crimps Brazil's fuel, food supplies," Reuters, by Gustavo Bonato

"A growing protest by Brazilian truck drivers against high fuel prices entered a seventh day on Tuesday, interrupting supplies of diesel and food across several commodity-rich states at the start of harvest season.

The protests are part of a reaction to the return of fuel taxes, one of several unpopular measures that President Dilma Rousseff is counting on to shore up government fiscal accounts.

The spontaneous spread of the demonstrations without organized help from unions has complicated state and federal government efforts to negotiate with the protesters. So far, isolated attempts by the government have not been fruitful in meeting their demands.

"There is no sign the blockage in Sorriso (Mato Grosso) and the other towns in the state is ending," said a representative for Rota do Oeste, the consortium that operates the BR 163 highway on Tuesday. "Trucks are not getting through."

Truckers started restricting the flow of goods along BR 163, the main highway running through top soybean-producing state Mato Grosso, on Feb. 18 but the demonstrations quickly spread and spilled into as many as six states by Monday, including Minas Gerais, Parana, Goias and Rio Grande do Sul.

A ragtag group of smaller logistics companies and independent truckers have called for state and federal relief in diesel and toll prices, which protesters say are squeezing their profits.

A 15-centavo-per-liter ($0.20/gallon) increase in diesel taxes took effect on Feb. 1. Over the past week, the price of diesel has averaged 3.06 reais a liter ($4.15/gallon) in Mato Grosso, according to the National Petroleum Agency.

Truckers have crammed into roadside stops, grassy medians and along shoulders of roads leading in and out of towns across the center-south farm belt. They are allowing cars and public transport to pass but have clamped down on truck movement.

In some smaller towns, there is a shortage of diesel oil for farm equipment, the fuel distribution association Sindicom said, and farmers are concerned they will run out of the fuel used to harvest maturing grain crops. Harvest in parts of Mato Grosso has already stopped because there is not enough fuel.
Brazil is the world's leading supplier of sugar, coffee, orange juice, beef, poultry and soybeans. So far, ports have been able to fill arriving ships but may soon run out of stocks if the strike continues much longer, traders said.

Brazil's BRF SA, the world's biggest chicken exporter, said production at two of its factories in Parana had stopped due to lack of raw materials blocked by the protest. ($1=2.86 reais)."

Image: "Some 70 roads have been fully or partially blocked, according to Brazilian police." EPA via BBC


Fed. Chief Yellen: Part time workers and labor force participation still problems for US, large number of people working part time who'd rather have full time jobs. Labor force participation won't improve in near future for demographic reasons

2/24/15, "Yellen: Unemployment Rate 'Less Rosy' When You Count Part-Time, Discouraged Workers," CNS News, Ali Meyer

"Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing that the U-6 unemployment rate--which includes people who are working part-time for economic reasons and those who are marginally attached to the labor force--“definitely shows a less rosy picture” of employment in the country.

People "marginally attached" to the labor force "are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for one work sometime in the past 12 months."

In January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the "U-3" unemployment rate, which is the one generally reported, was 5.7 percent. U-6 was 11.3 percent.

The "U-3" rate counts as "unemployed" only people who actively sought a job in the past four weeks but did not find one.

Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) asked Yellen, “Do you agree that the unemployment number that you cited, 5.7 percent, in your opening statement paints a rosy or better picture of the true unemployment rate?”

The U-6 is a broader measure of unemployment, and it includes marginally attached and discouraged workers and also an unusually large number of individuals who are working part-time who would like full-time jobs, so it is a much broader indicator of underemployment or unemployment in the U.S. economy,” Yellen said. “And a lot of it’s come down. It was 12.1 percent a year ago. It’s come down from there to 11.3. It definitely shows a less rosy picture than U-3 or the 5.7 percent number.”

“And I did mention that we don’t at this point, in spite of the fact the unemployment rate has come down, don’t feel that we have achieved so-called maximum employment in part for these very reasons,” Yellen said.

“Labor force participation has come down, has been trending down. That is something that will continue for demographic reasons. I don’t expect it to move up over time, but I do think a portion of the depressed labor force participation does reflect cyclical weakness in the stronger job market more people would enter,” she said.

Shelby asked, “But you basically concede that 11.3% of underemployed people, that is not good in this country?”

That is abnormally high level, and it signifies weakness that would be good to address,” said Yellen. In her opening remarks, Yellen touted the widely reported unemployment rate of 5.7 percent but did address a decline in the labor force participation rate.

“Since my appearance before this committee last July, the employment situation in the United States has been improving among many dimensions,” said Yellen. “The unemployment rate now stands at 5.7 percent, down from just over 6 percent last summer and from 10 percent at its peak in late 2009.
The average pace of monthly job gains picked up from about 240,000 per month during the first half of last year to 280,000 per month during the second half, and employment rose 260,000 in January.

“In addition, long-term unemployment has declined substantially. Fewer workers are reporting that they can find only part-time work when they would prefer full-time employment, and the pace of quits - often regarded as a barometer of worker confidence in labor market opportunities - has recovered nearly to its pre-recession level,” she said.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

In Feb. 2015 peer reviewed study scientists say they wouldn't be surprised if ongoing 15 year hiatus in global warming lasted until 2020-Nature Climate Change

2/23/15, "Quantifying the likelihood of a continued hiatus in global warming," Nature Climate Change, C. D. Roberts, M. D. Palmer, D. McNeall, and M. Collins

"Since the end of the twentieth century, global mean surface temperature has not risen as rapidly as predicted by global climate models1, 2, 3 (GCMs). This discrepancy has become known as the global warming ‘hiatus and a variety of mechanisms1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 have been proposed to explain the observed slowdown in warming. Focusing on internally generated variability, we use pre-industrial control simulations from an observationally constrained ensemble of GCMs and a statistical approach to evaluate the expected frequency and characteristics of variability-driven hiatus periods and their likelihood of future continuation. Given an expected forced warming trend of ~0.2 K per decade, our constrained ensemble of GCMs implies that the probability of a variability-driven 10-year hiatus is ~10%, but less than 1% for a 20-year hiatus. Although the absolute probability of a 20-year hiatus is small, the probability that an existing 15-year hiatus will continue another five years is much higher (up to 25%). Therefore, given the recognized contribution of internal climate variability to the reduced rate of global warming during the past 15 years, we should not be surprised if the current hiatus continues until the end of the decade. Following the termination of a variability-driven hiatus, we also show that there is an increased likelihood of accelerated global warming associated with release of heat from the sub-surface ocean and a reversal of the phase of decadal variability in the Pacific Ocean."
Supplementary Information (5,387KB)"

BBC--Global warming slowdown that began in 1998 could last until 2033 per Science Magazine peer reviewed study:

"Cooling periods associated with the latter deeper heat-sequestration mechanism historically lasted 20 to 35 years." Meaning ongoing pause could continue until 2033 (1998 + 35= 2033). 

8/21/14, "Global warming slowdown 'could last another decade'," BBC, Matt McGrath

"The hiatus in the rise in global temperatures could last for another 10 years, according to new research.

Scientists have struggled to explain the so-called pause that began in 1999, despite ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The latest theory says that a naturally occurring 30-year cycle in the Atlantic Ocean is behind the slowdown. The researchers says this slow-moving current could continue to divert heat into the deep seas for another decade. 
However, they caution that global temperatures are likely to increase rapidly when the cycle flips to a warmer phase. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global average temperatures have increased by around 0.05C per decade in the period between 1998 and 2012. This compares with a decadal average of 0.12 between 1951 and 2012.

More than a dozen theories have been put forward on the cause of this pause in temperature growth that occurred while emissions of carbon dioxide were at record highs.

These ideas include the impact of pollution such as soot particles that have reflected back some of the Sun's heat into space. Increased volcanic activity since 2000 has also been blamed, as have variations in solar activity. 

The most recent perspectives have looked to the oceans as the locations of the missing heat.

Last year a study suggested that a periodic upwelling of cooler waters in the Pacific was limiting the rise.

However this latest work, published in the journal Science, shifts the focus from the Pacific to the Atlantic and Southern oceans.

The team, lead by Prof Ka-Kit Tung from the University of Washington, US, says there is now evidence that a 30-year current alternately warms and cools the world by sinking large amounts of heat beneath these deep waters.

They've used observations from a network of devices called Argo floats that sample the oceans down to 2,000 metres.

The researchers say that there was another hiatus between 1945 and 1975 due to this current taking down the heat, that led to fears of a new ice age

From 1976 though, the cycle flipped and contributed to the warming of the world, as more heat stayed on the surface. But since the year 2000, the heat has been going deeper, and the world's overall temperatures haven't risen beyond the record set in 1998

"The floats have been very revealing to us," said Prof Tung.

"I think the consensus at this point is that below 700 metres in the Atlantic and Southern oceans [they are] storing heat and not the Pacific."

A key element in this new understanding is the saltiness of the water. The waters in the Atlantic current coming up from the tropics are saltier because of evaporation. This sinks more quickly and takes the heat down with it.

Eventually though, the salty water melts enough ice in Arctic waters to lower the saline level, slowing down the current and keeping the heat near the surface. "Before 2006 the saltiness was increasing, this indicated that the current was speeding up," said Prof Tung.

"After 2006, this saltiness is diminishing but it's still above the long-term average. Now it is slowly slowing down. "Once it gets below the long-term average, then it is the next period of rapid warming."

As well as the data from the Argo floats, Prof Tung has also examined the Central England Temperature record, that dates back over 350 years. He believes that this confirms the

regular 70-year cycles of warm and cold spells

This historic pattern, he says, could extend the current period of pause. 

"We probably may have another 10 years, maybe shorter as global warming itself is melting more ice and ice could flood the North Atlantic, but historically we are in the middle of the cycle."

Several other researchers in this field acknowledge the Tung analysis is part of a growing body of evidence that suggests the Atlantic has a role in the pause. Prof Reto Knutti from the ETH Zurich has recently published a review of all the current theories on the hiatus.

"I see the studies as complementary, and they both highlight that natural variability in ocean and atmosphere is important in modifying long term anthropogenic trends," he said.

"A better understanding of those modes of variability is critical to understand past changes (including differences between models and observations during the hiatus period) as well as predicting the future, in particular in the near term and regionally, where variability dominates the forced changes from greenhouses gases."

Other scientists say that the Atlantic hypothesis is interesting but a much longer range of observations is needed. "We really don't have a lot of data," said Dr Jonathan Robson from the University of Reading, UK.

"So if there is this 60-year oscillation in the ocean, we haven't observed it all, basically we've observed the impact of it. We may have to wait 15-20 years to know what's going on."

Prof Tung believes that whatever the cause and the length of the pause, we are on a "rising staircase" when it comes to global temperatures that will become apparent when the Atlantic current switches again.

"At the end we will be on the rising part of the staircase, and the rate of warming there will be very fast, just as fast as the last three decades of the 20th Century, plus we are starting off at a higher plateau. The temperatures and the effects will be more severe.""


Science Magazine on "slowdown" in global warming linked in above BBC article:

8/22/14, "Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration," Xianyao Chen1,2, Ka-Kit Tung2,* Author Affiliations.
1Key Laboratory of Physical Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China. 2Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

"A vacillating global heat sink at intermediate ocean depths is associated with different climate regimes of surface warming under anthropogenic forcing: The latter part of the 20th century saw rapid global warming as more heat stayed near the surface. In the 21st century, surface warming slowed as more heat moved into deeper oceans. In situ and reanalyzed data are used to trace the pathways of ocean heat uptake. In addition to the shallow La Niña–like patterns in the Pacific that were the previous focus, we found that the slowdown is mainly caused by heat transported to deeper layers in the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, initiated by a recurrent salinity anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic. Cooling periods associated with the latter deeper heat-sequestration mechanism historically lasted 20 to 35 years."...


2013 Nature published study on "the hiatus" in global warming:

"Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Nina-like decadel cooling."

8/28/13, "Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling,",
Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie

"Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century1, 2, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming. Various mechanisms have been proposed for this hiatus in global warming3, 4, 5, 6, but their relative importance has not been quantified, hampering observational estimates of climate sensitivity. Here we show that accounting for recent cooling in the eastern equatorial Pacific reconciles climate simulations and observations. We present a novel method of uncovering mechanisms for global temperature change by prescribing, in addition to radiative forcing, the observed history of sea surface temperature over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a climate model. Although the surface temperature prescription is limited to only 8.2% of the global surface, our model reproduces the annual-mean global temperature remarkably well with correlation coefficient r = 0.97 for 1970–2012 (which includes the current hiatus and a period of accelerated global warming). Moreover, our simulation captures major seasonal and regional characteristics of the hiatus, including the intensified Walker circulation, the winter cooling in northwestern North America and the prolonged drought in the southern USA. Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Niña-like decadal cooling. Although similar decadal hiatus events may occur in the future, the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase."
Climate models didn't forecast pause in global warming:

2009, BBC: "For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it."...
10/9/2009, "What happened to global warming?" Paul Hudson, BBC

"This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. "For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise."... 

2011 PNAS study finds "hiatus" in global warming 1998-2008:

7/5/11, "Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998–2008,"
 "Robert K. Kaufmanna,1 ,Heikki Kauppib, Michael L. Manna, and James H. Stockc"... 


"Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008. We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings....
Data for global surface temperature indicate little warming between 1998 and 2008 (1). Furthermore, global surface temperature declines 0.2 °C between 2005 and 2008. Although temperature increases in 2009 and 2010, the lack of a clear increase in global surface temperature between 1998 and 2008 (1), combined with rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases, prompts some popular commentators (2, 3) to doubt the existing understanding of the relationship among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface temperature."...

$2 billion a day is spent on the notion of non-existent CO2 danger instead of the poor and needy:
12/5/14, "India contests UN report on climate financing,", PTI, Lima, Peru

Finance for climate action flowing globally stood at USD 650 billion annually in 2011-2012, and possibly higher,” the report said."...via Hockey Schtick