February 15th, 2015
You already know, so we'll just leave it at that~ Refocus Notes
Times of San Diego
In a stroke of Friday the 13th bad luck, Fox 5 San Diego briefly portrayed President Obama as a sex-assault suspect on its 10 o’clock news.
At 10:04 p.m., viewers heard anchor Kathleen Bade say: “The only suspect in a sex assault at SDSU will not be charged.” At the same time, a picture of Obama appeared with the legend “NO CHARGES.”
The Obama shot lasted about 5 seconds, but it was noticed immediately in the newsroom, said Mike Wille, an assignment editor.
“Yeah, there was an accident when they had an over-the-shoulder” display, Wille told Times of San Diego. “It wasn’t on purpose.”
February 15th, 2015
Saint Michael, the archangel of battle, is tattooed across the back of a U.S. army veteran who recently returned to Iraq and joined a Christian militia fighting Islamic State in what he sees as a biblical war between good and evil.
Brett, 28, carries the same thumb-worn pocket Bible he did whilst deployed to Iraq in 2006 - a picture of the Virgin Mary tucked inside its pages and his favourite verses highlighted.
"It's very different," he said, asked how the experiences compared. "Here I'm fighting for a people and for a faith, and the enemy is much bigger and more brutal."
St. Michael, the Archangel of Battle tattoo
Thousands of foreigners have flocked to Iraq and Syria in the past two years, mostly to join Islamic State, but a handful of idealistic Westerners are enlisting as well, citing frustration their governments are not doing more to combat the ultra-radical Islamists or prevent the suffering of innocents.
The militia they joined is called Dwekh Nawsha - meaning self-sacrifice in the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Christ and still used by Assyrian Christians, who consider themselves the indigenous people of Iraq.
A map on the wall in the office of the Assyrian political party affiliated with Dwekh Nawsha marks the Christian towns in northern Iraq, fanning out around the city of Mosul.
The majority are now under control of Islamic State, which overran Mosul last summer and issued am ultimatum to Christians: pay a tax, convert to Islam, or die by the sword. Most fled.
Dwekh Nawsha operates alongside Kurdish peshmerga forces to protect Christian villages on the frontline in Nineveh province.
"These are some of the only towns in Nineveh where church bells ring. In every other town the bells have gone silent, and that's unacceptable," said Brett, who has "The King of Nineveh" written in Arabic on the front of his army vest.
Brett, who like other foreign volunteers withheld his last name out of concern for his family's safety, is the only one to have engaged in fighting so far.
The others, who arrived just last week, were turned back from the frontline on Friday by Kurdish security services who said they needed official authorisation.
"STOP SOME ATROCITIES"
Tim shut down his construction business in Britain last year, sold his house and bought two plane tickets to Iraq: one for himself and another for a 44-year-old American software engineer he met through the internet.
The men joined up at Dubai airport, flew to the Kurdish city of Suleimaniyah and took a taxi to Duhok, where they arrived last week....
February 15th, 2015
By Barry Secrest
While Obama has repeatedly stated that 'climate change' is the greatest threat to America, most Americans believe that the international threat of terrorism and ISIS are the real concern.
A new poll by Gallup reveals that 84% of all Americans believe that Islamic terrorism is the greatest threat, followed by the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran, at 77%.
Despite these facts, American leadership outside of the military and under Obama, views climate change, which was known previously as 'global warming,' as the greatest threat to America's future.
Obama's most recent statement on the increasingly questionable rubric of climate change came in a speech in Mid-January, in which the President indicated the following:
(From CNN) "the greatest threat to future generations was neither terrorism nor ISIS. It wasn't nuclear weapons in rogue states either."
"No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," said Obama in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.
"His statement was met with scattered, muted applause."
Despite recent headlines revealing that climate data has once again been manipulated by various government agencies, the President along with the United Nations have insistently clung to their climate change talking points, while virtually ignoring the growing threat from ISIS across the west.
"Americans believe that Isis poses the most serious threat to the United States in the next decade, according to a poll.
Eighty-four per cent of those quizzed by Gallup for the poll said they believed Isis, the extremist Sunni organization which has seized stretched of Iraq and Syria committing scores of atrocities, poses a "direct threat to the USA."
The nuclear threat from Iran, which claims it is preparing a nuclear capacity for peaceful purposes, and the "military power" of North Korea pose the next two gravest threats, according to the poll.
Despite a ratcheting of tensions between Russia and the US since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis last year, only 49 per cent believed Russia poses the biggest threat, while 44 per cent believed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine does.
The same number believe the Arab-Israeli conflict poses the greatest threat.
"In a winter that has seen acts of unspeakable terrorism, with Obama seeking authorization for military action against the Islamic State, Americans are clearly concerned about Islamic militants and terrorists," Gallup said in a statement.
"The conflict in Ukraine may not worry Americans as much because they see it as more of a threat to Europe than to the US."
In an earlier poll, 54 percent said they opposed sending military weapons and equipment, or so-called 'lethal aid', to Ukraine, where a ceasefire agreed between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels are scheduled to begin on Sunday.
The survey was based on telephone interviews with 837 people from throughout the US selected at random.
This week FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael Steinbach said that the US was "not even close" to bringing the threat of US citizens who had trained with terror groups such as Isis under control.
However some experts believe that the threat to the US from Islamic State may be exaggerated, and rival jihadist group al Qaeda retains a greater capacity to strike US targets.
"To this point, ISIS has appeared content to terrorize Westerners in Syria and Iraq, where the group holds sway. Its core objective for now appears to be managing the territory it controls in those countries, not taking its fight to the West," Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for south Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars wrote in the Wall Street Journal."
Related from IBT
- Isis chops off women's hands 'for using mobile phones' in northern Iraqi city of Mosul
- Ukraine fighting rages on as fragile ceasefire agreement set to take effect
- Isis collaborator or courageous journalist? Kosuke Tsuneoka plans to flee Japan
February 14th, 2015
"Yale anti-fossil fuel campaigners have indefinitely postponed a protest that was set for this weekend due to “unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues.”
BY MICHAEL BASTASCH
Fossil Free Yale, a group pushing the university to divest itself from fossil fuels, told the Yale Daily News that frigid, snowy weather set for this weekend will mean their global warming protest will have to be postponed.
FFY’s Mitch Barrow said that “unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues, including some cancellations from speakers and performance groups” would mean they would not be able to rally on Global Divestment Day — a day where environmental groups urge institutions like Yale to divest from fossil fuels, like coal, natural gas and oil.
As this reporter writes this article, the weather in New Haven, Connecticut where Yale is located stands at -9 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill. Saturday is expected to have weather in the low 30s with snow and Sunday will be 20 degrees with snow and rain, according to the Weather Channel.
The Yale Daily reports that FFY “had organized a series of events to rally support for its cause, including performances from student groups, guest speakers and a collaborative art installation” to protest Yale’s decision not to divest from fossil fuels six months ago. FFY remains adamant that the event is more than just about activities, it’s about “a shift in the way in which FFY will both be articulating its goals and engaging with the administration.”
February 13th, 2015
| By SETH BORENSTEIN
SAN JOSE, California (AP) — As bad as recent droughts in California, the Southwest and the Midwest have been, scientists say far worse "megadroughts" are coming — and they're bound to last for decades.
"Unprecedented drought conditions" — the worst in more than 1,000 years — are likely to come to the Southwest and Central Plains after 2050 and stick around because of global warming, according to a new study in the journal Science Advances on Thursday.
"Nearly every year is going to be dry toward the end of the 21st century compared to what we think of as normal conditions now," said study lead author Benjamin Cook, a NASA atmospheric scientist. "We're going to have to think about a much drier future in western North America."
There's more than an 80 percent chance that much of the central and western United States will have a 35-year-or-longer "megadrought" later this century, said study co-author Toby Ault of Cornell University, adding that "water in the Southwest is going to become more precious than it already is."
Megadroughts last for decades instead of just a few years. The 1930s Dust Bowl went on for more than 35 years, Ault said.
The study is based on current increasing rate of rising emissions of carbon dioxide and complex simulations run by 17 different computer models, which generally agreed on the outcome, Cook said.
The regions Cook looked at include California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, most of Iowa, southern Minnesota, western Missouri, western Arkansas, and northwestern Louisiana.
Looking back in records trapped in tree ring and other data, there were megadroughts in the Southwest and Central Plains in the 1100s and 1200s that lasted several decades, but these will be worse, Cook said. Those were natural and not caused by climate change, unlike those forecast for the future, Cook said.
Because of changes in the climate, the Southwest will see less rain. But for both regions the biggest problem will be the heat, which will increase evaporation and dry out the soil. The result is a vicious cycle: The air grows even drier, and hotter, Cook said.
Scientists had already figured that climate change would increase the odds of worse droughts in the future, but this study makes it look worse and adds to a chorus of strong research, said Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona.
"These results are not surprising, but are eye-opening nonetheless," said Overpeck, who wasn't part of the research, in email.