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Archive for September 22nd, 2014

Islamic State Needs Women

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Islamic State Needs Women
Months after declaring an Islamic caliphate, Islamic State is seeking women. In Internet posts and social media messaging, the extremist Sunni militants are recruiting women to marry their fighters and have children, part of a larger strategy of state-building. “They are treating the Islamic State as a country that needs women,” said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online activity by militant organizations. “The message is: ‘You are coming to marry someone immediately and have kids and cook.'”


Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off
A new survey from the Pew Research Center indicates American support for gay marriage could be leveling off.


“Kissing congressman”: Blessed I have a Christian wife

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

“Kissing congressman”: Blessed I have a Christian wife
Embattled Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister attempts to restore his faith-and-family-man image ahead of November’s election

More Americans want religion in their politics
A majority thinks religion is losing influence in American life overall

Rep. King: WH security breach “absolutely inexcusable”
Secret Service almost certain to come under closer Capitol Hill scrutiny after man breaks into White House, N.Y. Republican says


Fox’s Brit Hume Suggests Obama Designed Islamic State Strategy “To Fail Slowly”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fox’s Brit Hume Suggests Obama Designed Islamic State Strategy “To Fail Slowly”

From the September 22 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

Previously

Fox’s Hume Misleadingly Compares U.S. Aid To Combat Ebola To Obama’s Strategy To Defeat Islamic State

Conservative Media Are Actually Accusing Obama Of “Advising” The Islamic State

Media Lose Sight Of U.S. Strategy Against Islamic State In Frenzy Over “Manageable Problem”


Castro Valley Winery to Government: Crush Grapes, Not Vintners

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Castro Valley Winery to Government: Crush Grapes, Not Vintners
Debra Saunders, RealClearPolitics
“You’ll never meet anyone who says, ‘I want to be a millionaire. I think I’ll start a winery,'” owner Bill Smyth tells me from his small office over the tasting room of Westover Vineyards, nestled in Palomares Canyon. Smyth has worked in a number of fields. He made some money. He bought the vineyard property when he was young. His ex-wife bought him a kit to make wine, and his labor of love turned into a small business. Now, thanks to heavy-handed California regulators, he’s selling off his ports and boutique wines and turning his winery back into a home. In July, California Department of…


Labour ‘must debate devolution now’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Labour ‘must debate devolution now’
Ex-Labour cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw urges his party to set up a constitutional convention now to discuss English devolution.

Labour views: English devolution
What do conference-goers think about English devolution?


Juan Williams: Obama’s October Surprise

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Juan Williams: Obama’s October Surprise
OPINION | Get ready for bombs bursting in air and this election’s October Surprise.


U.S. Informed Syria Of Impending Airstrikes Against Islamic State Militants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

U.S. Informed Syria Of Impending Airstrikes Against Islamic State Militants
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the United States informed Damascus’ envoy to the United Nations before launching airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

The ministry issued a brief statement, carried by Syrian state media, saying that “the American side informed Syria’s permanent envoy to the U.N. that strikes will be launched against the Daesh terrorist organization in Raqqa.” The statement used an Arabic name referring to the Islamic State group, which seized large chunks of Syrian and Iraqi territory in a blitz this summer.

The airstrikes hit targets in and around the Syrian city of Raqqa and the province with the same name, activists said, adding that there were casualties among Islamic State militants on the ground. The city of Raqqa is the militant group’s self-declared capital in Syria.

The ministry statement was Damascus’ first official reaction after the U.S. and five Arab countries launched airstrikes on Islamic State group’s targets in Syria late on Monday, expanding a military campaign into a country whose three-year civil war has given the brutal militant group a safe haven.

U.S. officials said the airstrikes began around 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT), and were conducted by the U.S., Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

In the past, Syrian officials have insisted that any strikes against the Islamic State group in the country should come only after coordination with Damascus. Without their consent, Syrian officials have said such airstrikes would be an act of aggression against Syria and a breach of the country’s sovereignty.

However, U.S. officials have ruled out direct coordination with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, said the airstrikes targeted the northern province of Raqqa, as well as its provincial capital.

The Observatory, which has a network of activists around the country, said the attacks came after drones flew over areas under control of the Islamic State group.

Abdurrahman said about 20 air strikes hit Raqqa province, adding there were casualties among jihadi fighters, mostly on checkpoints. He said that in addition to the city of Raqqa, there were strikes on the towns of Tabqa, Ein Issa and the border town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey.

An anti-militant media collective entitled “Raqqa is being silently slaughtered” said that the targets included the governorate building or municipality used by Islamic State militants as their headquarters, and the Brigade 93, a Syrian army base that the militants recently seized.

Other airstrikes targeted a military air base recently captured by jihadi fighters in the town of Tabqa as well as the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey.

____

Mroue reported from Beirut.


United Nations General Assembly: For Most Women in Film, Their Roles Are Silent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

United Nations General Assembly: For Most Women in Film, Their Roles Are Silent
A study, supported by the United Nations women’s agency, found that movies released in the 10 most profitable markets worldwide exhibited evidence of “deep-seated discrimination and pervasive stereotyping of women and girls by the international film industry.”

New Video in ISIS ‘Lecture Series’ by John Cantlie
The terrorist group issued a new installment in its propaganda “lecture series” delivered by the British hostage.



U.S. Asks U.N. to Add Names to Sanctions List
The United States and France have asked the Security Council to impose sanctions on as many as 15 people suspected of ties to terrorism, including the Islamic State.




‘Flood Wall Street’ Protesters Say Root Cause Of Climate Change Is Unchecked Capitalism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 22nd, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

‘Flood Wall Street’ Protesters Say Root Cause Of Climate Change Is Unchecked Capitalism

On Monday, activists and protesters headed to New York City’s financial sector to bring attention to the relationship between capitalism and climate change.

The post ‘Flood Wall Street’ Protesters Say Root Cause Of Climate Change Is Unchecked Capitalism appeared first on ThinkProgress.

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CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Ari Phillips

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — On Monday, a day after nearly 400,000 marchers gathered for the largest climate march in history, activists and protesters turned their attention to the many links between capitalism and climate change by flooding Wall Street with supporters.

By early afternoon Monday, several thousand people were gathered just down the street from Wall Street around the iconic Charging Bull statue. They waved flags, chanted, and sat down on the street to draw attention to what they consider to be the primary cause of climate change.

The scene was far more tense than that of the previous day; two people were reportedly arrested for trying to cross a police barricade and several journalists and activists reported on Twitter that the NYPD used pepper spray on protesters rushing a barricade.

“We talk a lot about climate change and the root problems of climate change, but not many people are willing to say that the root problem of climate change is capitalism,” Sam Neubauer, 19, who came to the protest from Minnesota, told ThinkProgress. “Large corporations profit from capitalism by extracting oil and burning that oil and we need to call that out explicitly.”

Neubauer, who organized a bus to come to the climate march from Minnesota, said that Sunday’s march was “family friendly” and more about showing the size of the movement. Flood Wall Street is about more radical direct action.

“I think there are always a whole variety of different ways to be involved,” he said.

Nate Bresner, 17, from Boston, told ThinkProgress that knowing that if capitalism continues unchecked it “will make us unable to live on our planet” is terrifying, but also provides a “hard and fast deadline” to come up with alternatives.

“The way I see it, yesterday was about a whole spectrum of alternatives from people who support renewable energy tax credits to people that support Marxist revolution and today is about being more pointed about who is at fault,” Bresner said.

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CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Ari Phillips

Bresner, who also helped organize the event, said it started out at Battery Park where speakers from front-line communities — those experiencing the impacts of climate change now — spoke and gave the “moral imperative” for action. Then several thousand people lined up to head to the New York Stock Exchange but stopped a block or two short to congregate around the Charging Bull.

While the Flood Wall Street gatherers focused on the ways that big companies profit from fossil fuel extraction and environmental degradation, much of this week of climate change action in the build-up to the United Nations summit on Tuesday has been about how addressing climate change and growing the economy can work together in positive ways.

That relationship was the focus of the New Climate Economy report released last week, which concluded that if the $90 trillion expected to be invested in global infrastructure in the next 15 years is done in a low-carbon manner, it could “cost about the same as conventional infrastructure, but would deliver significantly greater economic, social, and environmental benefits in the long-run.”

On the other side of the Charging Bull curious passersby paused to take in the cacophonous scene. William Crow, a financial sector worker in town from Virginia for the day, said he didn’t know what was happening but that he was familiar with the climate march from the day before.

“I don’t think our country is serious enough about climate change,” he said. “I see this as being proactive.”

While Crow said he firmly believes in the free market system, he thinks there needs to be greater awareness of the societal effect of business.

“There’s just this one planet we live on, and something is not right,” he said. “There’s dramatic changes in climate happening all over the world that we are all aware of — and yes they happen all the time but they seem to be happening in greater numbers nowadays. There seems to be hard indicators now that this relates to extreme climate conditions.”

Crow said that this all comes back to capital markets and that social implications need to be given more weight. “That has to be part of the equation,” he said. “When they run their metrics on business models, climate shouldn’t be the last thing considered — it should be one of the top factors to be debated.”

Derek Persaud, an engineer who works for a company that represents the Federal Transit Administration, said he thinks the protest is a good start.

“The U.N. Summit tomorrow is a big thing,” Persaud told ThinkProgress from the sidelines of the action. “There’s so much we can do but we also need to bring other people on board. It’s a global thing.”

The post ‘Flood Wall Street’ Protesters Say Root Cause Of Climate Change Is Unchecked Capitalism appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Top FIFA Official Believes Qatar ‘Will Not Host’ 2022 World Cup

A top official expresses concern over safety at Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, but there remains little indication that FIFA is considering a move.

The post Top FIFA Official Believes Qatar ‘Will Not Host’ 2022 World Cup appeared first on ThinkProgress.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter (right) and Sheik Mohammed bin Hamad al-Thani, chairman of Qatar World Cup committee.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter (right) and Sheik Mohammed bin Hamad al-Thani, chairman of Qatar World Cup committee.

CREDIT: Associated Press/Osama Faisal

A top FIFA executive committee official expressed belief this week that Qatar “will not host” the 2022 World Cup thanks to the country’s sweltering summer conditions that could threaten the health and safety of fans and players at the event.

“I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar,” Theo Zwanziger, the former head of the German football association and current member of FIFA’s executive committee, told the German newspaper Bild. “Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions.”

“Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor,” Zwanziger continued. “That is not something that Fifa Exco members want to answer for.”

Concerns over the summer heat have caused FIFA to explore whether the World Cup could be played in the winter months, and though that idea now has the backing of European federations, Australia, which finished fifth in bidding on the 2022 Cup, has considered legal action if the Cup is moved to winter.

Along with the heat, the Qatar’s World Cup has faced criticism over allegations that FIFA officials accepted bribes to vote in the country’s favor. FIFA has launched an internal investigation into the allegations.

International labor organizations have also slammed the nation’s labor policies, which they liken to “modern-day slavery.” The International Trade Union Confederation, in a report released earlier this year, estimated that as many as 4,000 workers could die on World Cup-related projects due to Qatar’s heat and lack of labor protections. The country has since announced reforms to its labor system and laws, though international groups remain skeptical. Qatar has also drawn opposition over anti-gay laws and other human rights concerns.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that giving the World Cup to Qatar was “a mistake,” and British members of Parliament and U.S. senators have called for boycotts and a relocation of the tournament. But despite the criticism, concerns, and Zwanziger’s personal opinion, there remains little indication that the organization is exploring a move away from Qatar. The investigation into bribery and corruption allegations around both Qatar and Russia, the 2018 host, will not be made public, and both FIFA and U.S. Soccer have refuted reports that it asked the United States and other countries involved in 2022 bidding to prepare new bids in case it decides to abandon Qatar. Zwanziger’s opinion, meanwhile, is not backed by the German federation or FIFA’s full executive committee, and FIFA gave it little credence.

“He is expressing a personal opinion and he explicitly says so,” a FIFA spokesperson said. “We will not comment on a personal opinion.”

So for now, at least, it seems Qatar still has a firm grasp on the 2022 World Cup, which it plans to spend as much as $200 billion to host. Still, even if Zwanziger’s opinion doesn’t mark a major sea change at FIFA, the heat, human rights issues, and corruption allegations will remain focal points of opposition that won’t go away any time soon.

The post Top FIFA Official Believes Qatar ‘Will Not Host’ 2022 World Cup appeared first on ThinkProgress.