Monthly Archives: December 2011

OBAMA SIGNS BILL THAT INCLUDES ADDED U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO ISRAEL

Haaretz

President Obama signed a bill Friday that includes a provision to expand U.S. military assistance to Israel. The bill, which was introduced in May and approved by Congress this week, would have the U.S. provide additional support to the annual $3 billion for ten years that the U.S. is already committed to under the Memorandum of Understanding.

Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, praised Obama’s decision to sign into law “the highest levels of funding for the joint US-Israel missile defense programs in our history.”

Despite a tough economic climate and expected U.S. budget cuts – including drastic cuts to the U.S. military budget – U.S. lawmakers will provide $236 million in fiscal 2012 for the Israeli development of three missile defense programs: “Arrow-2″, “David’s Sling”, and “Arrow-3″ medium-range interceptor. Some representatives described U.S. military support for Israel as an investment in “life-saving projects” and U.S. national security, since short- and medium-range missiles are becoming a widespread problem. The Israelis also view the funds as an investment in a common project, rather than financial aid.

Palestinian aid is on the budget, too, for the Obama Administration sees Palestinian funding crucial for stability and for Israel’s security. However, funding is conditional upon the Palestinians putting an end to pursuing unilateral recognition at the United Nations. Israeli diplomats stressed that Israel supports aid to the Palestinians, but thanked lawmakers for temporarily freezing them in order to exert pressure on the Palestinians to return to negotiations.

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ORTHODOX JUDAISM TREATS WOMEN LIKE FILTHY LITTLE THINGS

If a man and a woman are drowning in a river, first they’ll save the man, ‘who is obligated to perform more commandments,’ whereas a woman’s ‘wisdom is only in the spindle.’ In fact, ‘words of Torah should be burned rather than being given to women.’

By Yossi Sarid

Haaretz

If you would like to know the source from which your brothers derive their brazen behavior, go over to the study hall and open a page of Talmud. It’s true that the Torah has 70 faces, but the trend of these faces is clear: The source of the pollution is in halakha (Jewish law ) itself. What is happening in Beit Shemesh and its satellites is not “contrary to halakha,” it is mandated by halakha. And the rest will be told to the grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters.

Anyone ignoramus knows that the Torah’s “ways are ways of pleasantness,” that “the honor of a king’s daughter is within,” and that “proper behavior comes before the Torah,” but it’s worth knowing more. It’s worth knowing that a woman is unfit to be a judge, and is also unfit to give testimony. She is unfit for any public position with authority. “Thou shalt appoint a king over thee” – a king and not a queen.

A daughter, commanded the sages, must not be taught Torah, because “the mind of woman is not suited to be taught, but [only] to words of nonsense.” Women are light-minded and have little knowledge.

And if a man and a woman are drowning in a river, first they’ll save the man, “who is obligated to perform more commandments,” whereas a woman’s “wisdom is only in the spindle.” In fact, “words of Torah should be burned rather than being given to women.”

A man must say three blessings every day during morning prayers: He thanks God “that He didn’t make me a gentile, that He didn’t make me a woman, that He didn’t make me an ignoramus.” And it’s not proper to speak to a woman too much, since “all her conversation is nothing but words of adultery,” and whoever talks to her too much “causes evil to himself and will end up inheriting hell.” And let’s not even talk about the fate of someone “who looks even at a woman’s little finger.”

The extremists who spit at women, who call themselves Sikarikim, learned their lesson 101 times and learned it well: A husband would do well not to let his wife go outside, into the street, and should restrict her outings “to once or twice a month, as necessary, since a woman has no beauty except by sitting in the corner of her house.”

Because inside the house – very deep inside – her glorious honor awaits her: “Every woman washes her husband’s face and feet and pours him a cup and prepares his bed and stands and serves her husband. And any woman who refrains from doing any of these tasks that she is obligated to perform – is forced to do them.” Some recommend forcing her with a whip or by starvation “until she gives in.”

And needless to say, she is at her husband’s disposal whenever he is overcome by a desire “to satisfy his urges with her.” And if she continues to rebel, he always has the right “to divorce her without her consent.”

And there are many similar halakhot, only a few of which we have collected here. Nor have we cited everything in the name of the ones who said them, for lack of space. The readers are invited to find the references on Shabbat – and to browse around – on their own; this is a good opportunity for study. We will direct your attention to Tractate Shabbat, which does a good job of summing up halakha’s attitude toward women: “a sack full of excrement” with a bleeding hole.

Some people will seek to console themselves: It’s true that this is the halakha both m’doraita (from the Torah ) and m’drabanan (from the rabbis ), but that is not what is taught nowadays. But it suffices to listen to the sermon the sage Rabbi Ovadia Yosef delivered five years ago, based on the well-known halakhic work “Kitzur Shulchan Aruch”: “A man must take care not to walk between two women or between two dogs or two pigs, and men should also not allow a woman or a dog or a pig to walk between them.”

Treating women as impure and filthy begins with halakha and continues with actions. As long as the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties – Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union, none of which have any women in the Knesset – are not disqualified, their nakedness will continue to sing out and the nakedness of the land will be revealed.

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RON PAUL: SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN ARE ‘ACTS OF WAR’

Ron Paul

Los Angeles Times

Defending himself against charges of isolationism, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul told voters in Iowa on Thursday that western sanctions against Iran are “acts of war” that are likely to lead to an actual war in the Middle East.

Paul, one of the leading contenders to win next week’s Iowa caucuses, said Iran would be justified in responding to the sanctions by blocking the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.  He compared the western sanctions to a hypothetical move by China to block the Gulf of Mexico, which Americans would consider an act of war.

He also said he would not respond militarily to keep the strait open—because he would not consider it an act of war against the U.S.  But if he were president, he would report to Congress on the issue, leaving it up to lawmakers to declare war if they wanted. 

“I think we’re looking for trouble because we put these horrendous sanctions on Iran,” Paul told a midday audience at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa.  He said the Iranians are “planning to be bombed” and understandably would like to have a nuclear weapon, even though there is “no evidence whatsoever” that they have “enriched” uranium.

Apparently alluding to Israel and its nuclear-weapons arsenal, Paul said that “if I were an Iranian, I’d like to have a nuclear weapon, too, because you gain respect from them.”

To approving applause from a crowd of about 125, the Texas congressman said that “we always seem to have to have a country to bash,” linking the current saber-rattling against Iran to previous hawkish rhetoric that led to conflicts in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

“If you want to quiet things down,” he said, referring to Iran, “don’t put sanctions on them” because it’s “just going to cause more trouble.”

He said an Iranian blockade would be the most likely response to tighter sanctions because Iran has “no weapons of mass destruction” and shutting down the strait is “the most” it could do.

“I think the solution” to current tensions with Iran “is to do a lot less a lot sooner and mind our own business and then we would not have this threat of another war,” he said to applause.

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US WARNS IRAN NOT TO DISRUPT OIL ROUTE

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet is warning Iran that any disruption of traffic flowing though the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil route, “will not be tolerated.”

Iran’s navy chief warned earlier Wednesday that the Islamic Republic was ready and willing to close the strategic waterway if the West imposes news sanctions targeting Tehran’s oil exports over the country’s suspect nuclear program.

“Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated,” said Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Rebecca Rebarich.

She said the U.S. Navy is “always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”

Iran’s navy chief warned Wednesday that his country can easily close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world’s oil flows.

It was the second such warning in two days. On Tuesday, Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran’s oil shipments.

With concern growing over a possible drop-off in Iranian oil supplies, a senior Saudi oil official said Gulf Arab nations are ready to offset any loss of Iranian crude.

That reassurance led to a drop in world oil prices. In New York, benchmark crude fell 77 cents to $100.57 a barrel in morning trading. Brent crude fell 82 cents to $108.45 a barrel in London.

“Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces,” Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV. “Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway,” the navy chief said.

The threats underline Iranian concern that the West is about to impose new sanctions that could target Tehran’s vital oil industry and exports.

Western nations are growing increasingly impatient with Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies have accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its program is geared toward generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

The U.S. Congress has passed a bill banning dealings with the Iran Central Bank, and President Barack Obama has said he will sign it despite his misgivings. Critics warn it could impose hardships on U.S. allies and drive up oil prices.

The bill could impose penalties on foreign firms that do business with Iran’s central bank. European and Asian nations import Iranian oil and use its central bank for the transactions.

Iran is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, with an output of about 4 million barrels of oil a day. It relies on oil exports for about 80 percent of its public revenues.

Iran has adopted an aggressive military posture in recent months in response to increasing threats from the U.S. and Israel that they may take military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

The navy is in the midst of a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route. The exercises began Saturday and involve submarines, missile drills, torpedoes and drones. The war games cover a 1,250-mile (2,000-kilometer) stretch of sea off the Strait of Hormuz, northern parts of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden near the entrance to the Red Sea as a show of strength and could bring Iranian ships into proximity with U.S. Navy vessels in the area.

Iranian media are describing how Iran could move to close the strait, saying the country would use a combination of warships, submarines, speed boats, anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes, surface-to-sea missiles and drones to stop ships from sailing through the narrow waterway.

Iran’s navy claims it has sonar-evading submarines designed for shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, enabling it to hit passing enemy vessels.

A closure of the strait could temporarily cut off some oil supplies and force shippers to take longer, more expensive routes that would drive oil prices higher. It also potentially opens the door for a military confrontation that would further rattle global oil markets.

Iran claimed a victory this month when it captured an American surveillance drone almost intact. It went public with its possession of the RQ-170 Sentinel to trumpet the downing as a feat of Iran’s military in a complicated technological and intelligence battle with the U.S.

American officials have said that U.S. intelligence assessments indicate the drone malfunctioned.

 

RELATED–

 

Iran official: U.S. cannot stop us from cutting off world oil supply

U.S. military indicates it will not allow Tehran to close off Strait of Hormuz, after Tehran threatens to do so in case of western sanctions on its oil sector.

Haaretz

The United States is in no position to advise Iran against cutting global oil supply in case of sanctions against its petroleum industry, a top Iranian commander said on Thursday.

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The comment by deputy chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Hossein Salami came after the U.S. Fifth Fleet said on Wednesday it will not allow any disruption of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway in the distribution of worldwide oil supply.

“The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity,” said in a written response to queries from Reuters about the possibility of Iran trying to close the Strait.

Responding to the remark by U.S. forces on Thursday, Salami told Iranian state television Press TV that the “Islamic Republic of Iran asks for no other country’s permission for the implementation of its defense strategies.”

According to the Press TV report, the senior Iranian military official indicated that the U.S. was not in a position to give Iran permission to close the strategic waterway, adding that U.S. pressure had failed to prevent Iranian action on other issues in the past.

The U.S. navy’s comments on Wednesday came a day after Iran’s first vice-president warned on Tuesday that the flow of crude will be stopped from the crucial Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if foreign sanctions are imposed on its oil exports, the country’s official news agency reported.

“If they (the West) impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” IRNA quoted Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying.

About a third of all sea-borne oil was shipped through the Strait in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and U.S. warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage.

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program have increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Nov. 8 that Tehran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iran has warned it will respond to any attack by hitting Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf, and analysts say one way to retaliate would be to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq – together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar – must slip through a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran.

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Afteryule

Afteryule starts 27/12/11

If the 1st Crescent Moon that begins the Month of Aefteryule is seen during the Mothernights or the eve of Yule, anywhere from the Solstice to Jan 4th, then we will have a Thrilitha year following

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Climate Science Reaches a Landmark That Chills Global Warming Alarmists

From Forbes.

James Taylor

James Taylor , Contributor

I write about energy and environment issues.

 

As 2011 comes to a close, climate science celebrates an important landmark. It has now been 33 years, or a third of a century, since sensors aboard NASA and NOAA satellites began measuring temperatures throughout the earth’s lower atmosphere.

For 33 years, we have had precise, objective temperature data that do not require guesswork corrections to compensate for uneven thermometer placement and non-climate surface temperature biases such as expanding urban heat islands and land-use changes. The satellite data, moreover, tell us the earth is warming at a more modest, gradual, and reassuring pace than was foretold by United Nations computer models.

The satellite sensors became operational at a time that is very convenient for those who believe humans are causing a global warming crisis. Global temperatures declined from the mid-1940s through the late 1970s. As a result, the sensors coincidentally began measuring global temperatures at the very beginning of our most recent global warming trend. Had the sensors been in place 33 years earlier, during the 1940s, the overall pace of warming shown by the satellite sensors would be less than half what is shown by the post-1978 temperature data.

Even so, the measured temperature trend is quite modest. John Christy, who along with Roy Spencer oversees the NASA satellite sensor program, reports temperatures have warmed at an average pace of 0.14 degrees Celsius per decade since the satellite sensors became operational. This is merely half the pace predicted by computer models utilized by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Christy appears to be making a generous concession regarding the warming that has occurred. The temperature data  seem to show warming closer to 0.3 degrees over the 33 year period, or 0.09 degrees Celsius per decade. But why quibble over the difference? A warming of 0.14 degrees per decade, or 1.4 degrees per century, is still significantly less than predicted by UN climate models and far from an impending global warming crisis.

Importantly, the satellite sensors show less warming in the lower troposphere (approximately 10,000 feet above the earth’s surface) than is reported by surface temperature readings. Global warming theory holds that one of the fingerprints of human-induced global warming is more rapid warming in the lower troposphere than at the surface. The reason for this is carbon dioxide molecules reside in the lower troposphere and have their greatest heat-trapping effect there.

As a result, if global temperatures are rising as a result of human carbon dioxide emissions, the satellite sensors should report more warming in the lower troposphere than is actually occurring at the surface. In essence the satellite sensors should report a warming trend somewhat more severe than is actually occurring at the surface of the earth.

Surface temperature measurements, however, indicate more rapid warming at the surface of the earth than in the lower troposphere. According to James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute, temperatures at the surface of the earth rose twice as fast during the past 33 years as the satellite data show. Surface temperatures compiled by the UK’s University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit reflect a similar warming trend.

With temperature data indicating more warming at the earth’s surface than in the earth’s lower troposphere, one of the following must be true: (1) the surface temperature data is more corrupted by heat biases such as expanding urban heat islands and localized land-use changes than the IPCC admits, (2) the warming of the past 33 years is primarily the result of factors other than greenhouse gas emissions, or (3) longstanding, widely believed assumptions about greenhouse gas theory are wrong.

Regardless of which one or more of the three options are true, the satellite sensors have contributed greatly to our scientific understanding of the earth’s ever-changing climate. Thirty-three years and counting, we rightly celebrate the scientific advances provided by satellite temperature sensors.

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ISRAEL, U.S. DISCUSS TRIGGERS FOR MILITARY STRIKE ON IRAN

The Daily Beast reports that the countries are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities.

Haaretz

Israel and the U.S. are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities, the Daily Beast website reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, filed an official complaint with the administration following a speech by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta a few weeks ago, warning against a military strike on Iran.

The Daily Beast reported that Panetta’s statements infuriated the Israeli government, which ordered ambassador Oren to file the complaint. The White House then relayed a message to Israel saying the administration has its own “red lines” concerning a strike on Iran, and that Israel does not need to act unilaterally. Israel’s protest also resulted in Panetta reversing his stand in an interview with CBS, saying the U.S. will use any means necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Patrick Clawson from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in the report that “If Iran were found to be sneaking out or breaking out then the president’s advisers are firmly persuaded he would authorize the use of military force to stop it.” However, he added that “we just don’t know how the president will react.”

The Daily Beast also reported that as part of the strategic dialogue between Israel and the U.S. that took place earlier this month, Israel presented new information about Iran’s efforts to build secret reactors for nuclear fuel production, and showed that these efforts were further along than the U.S. thought. Some of the intelligence was based on soil samples collected near the suspected sites.

Israel and the U.S. disagree about how far along Iran’s uranium enrichment program has developed, making it difficult for the two sides to formulate “red lines” concerning the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

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