Thursday, November 20, 2014

In The News: Iran Still Evasive On Nukes, Net Neutrality, U.S. Slams Israeli Construction

Nuclear Watchdog Says Iran Still Evasive On Nuke Issues

The head of International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday that Iran has failed to provide explanations in response to allegations about aspects of its nuclear research that could be used for making atomic bombs.

“I call upon Iran to increase its cooperation with the agency and to provide timely access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel,” IAEA director general Yukiya Amano told a meeting of the organizations’s 35-nation board of governors, Reutersreported.

Meanwhile, Tehran’s nuclear chief said Iran sees “no more room” for negotiations on the design of its Arak reactor, refusing to give ground on a key issue in international negotiations.

Western nations fear the unfinished reactor could provide Iran with weapons-grade plutonium, but Tehran insists it is solely for research purposes.

The United States has proposed transforming Arak into a light water reactor so that it produces far less plutonium, but Tehran has refused.
“On Arak, we have said we were ready to design it so that the concerns are lifted. This matter is settled to some extent on the technical aspect and there is no more room for further negotiations,” Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted Thursday by media as saying.
The future of the site is one of the main focuses of talks between Iran and six world powers under way in Vienna aimed at striking a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program by a November 24 deadline.

The US criticized Israel Wednesday following a Wednesday announcement that the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee approved the construction of 78 new homes in two East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods.
“We would reiterate our clear and consistent opposition to construction activity in East Jerusalem. During this sensitive time in Jerusalem, we would see such activity as inconsistent with the goal of lowering tensions and seeking a path towards peace,” said State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke at a press briefing Wednesday.
He added that the US administration remains in close touch with the Israeli government on these and other issues, including the deadly attack at a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday morning.

Rathke also said that the renewal of the controversial Israeli policy to demolish the homes of terrorists as a punitive measure “are counterproductive in an already tense situation.”

Earlier Wednesday, Jerusalem municipal spokesperson Brachie Sprung said that of the 78 homes in East Jerusalem set to be built, 50 apartments are to be built in the Ramot neighborhood and another 28 in Har Homa.
She said the same committee last week approved 178 homes for Arab residents in neighborhoods of the city including Ras al-Amud, Jabel Mukaber, Wadi Joz and Beit Hanina.
Although located in northwest Jerusalem, the Ramot neighborhood straddles the Green Line that marked Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries, which means some of its area is on land that the Palestinians want as part of a future state.
Har Homa is over the Green Line in southeast Jerusalem and faces the Bethlehem area.

Earlier this month, the planning committee approved 200 apartments for construction in Ramot. Washington said that move would further hinder efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution.
At the beginning of the month, the higher-level Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved the construction of 500 apartments in the capital’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, also over the Green Line in East Jerusalem. The US swiftly condemned the decision to go ahead with the project.
Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967 and maintains that it is now part of the unified capital of Israel. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem and the Old City as their capital.

Climatologist John Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, thinks that last year's winter, described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" is going to be a regular occurrence over the coming decades.
Casey asserts that there is mounting evidence that the Earth is getting cooler due to a decline in solar activity. He warns in his latest book, Dark Winter, that a major alteration of global climate has already started and that, at a minimum, it is likely to last 30 years.
Casey predicts food shortages and civil unrest caused by those shortages due largely to governments not preparing for the issues that colder weather will bring. He also predicts that wickedly bitter winter temperatures will see demand for electricity and heating outstrip the supply.

Casey isn't alone in his thinking. Russian climate expert and astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov goes one step further and states that we are at the very beginning of a new ice age.
Dr. Abdussamatov points out that Earth has experienced such occurrences five times over the last 1,000 years, and that:
"A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man's industrial activity as a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect." (source)

Don Easterbrook, a climate scientist based at Western Washington University, predicted exactly what Casey is saying as far back as 2008. In his paper 'Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling for the Next Three Decades'
"My opinion is that we are heading into a Maunder Minimum,"  said Mark Giampapa, a solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. "I'm seeing a continuation in the decline of the sunspots' mean magnetic field strengths and a weakening of the polar magnetic fields and subsurface flows."

A NASA Science News report of January 2013 details the science behind the sunspot-climate connection and it well worth reading. It should be remembered that since the report was written Solar Cycle 24 has been proven to be not just the smallest cycle in 50 years, but the smallest for more than 100 years. The last one with sunspot numbers this low was 1906, solar cycle 14.
If these scientists are correct, we are heading into a period of bitterly cold winters and much cooler summers. Imagine year after year of 'polar vortex' winters that start early, finish late and deliver unprecedented cold across the country. Cool wet summers will affect food production, as will floods from the melting snow when spring finally arrives.

In reality, "net neutrality" is as confusing as its name.
There are two pieces to this that need to be identified and explained before we go further. One is the term "net neutrality" and other is "Title II regulation."

Let's investigate.
Back in June, Tom Woods
talked to Berin Szoka about net neutrality and what it means.
Szoka is the president and founder of TechFreedom, a non-profit technology think tank in Washington, DC. Before founding TechFreedom, Berin was a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Center for Internet Freedom at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, and previously practiced Internet & communications law.
Please visit TechFreedom's net neutrality myth-busting website Don't Break the Net for a more detailed explanation of Title II and what reclassifying the internet would mean for consumers.
Title II means the very opposite of net neutrality. Even under Title II, the FCC can't legally ban all paid prioritization — only regulate it to make sure that prices are just and reasonable. In fact, Title II would authorize broadband providers to charge some price to content and service providers for carrying their traffic to users — and there's no precedent for the FCC from "forbearing" from this requirement in a market that it claims is a "terminating accessmonopoly." Title II would raise a host of other problems, including choking broadband competition, inviting regulation of the rest of the Internet and validating Russia and China's push to have the International Telecommunications Union regulate the Internet as a telecom service.

If broadband is reclassified as a Title II public utility, the FCC will soon start taxing it– at an estimated $87/year per broadband household.
Using existing state laws, these regulations would be free to tax Internet services as a regulated or public utility service. In addition, the Internet tax moratorium will end on December 11th, which will give state and local governments the right to levy Internet taxes on consumers. If common carrier taxes are any benchmark, we can expect Internet taxes on consumers to increase to a rate of 17 percent. Ironically, the increase in price would suppress consumer demand and block Internet access far beyond whatever "openness" could hope to be achieved by net neutrality. This would be regulatory mismanagement at its finest.

And what about privacy? Grant Babcock of Reason addressed this in his article Net Neutrality—and Obama's Scheme for the Internet—Are Lousy Ideas:
We know, indisputably, thanks to the heroic disclosures by Edward Snowden and the tireless work of journalists like Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, that the federal government is attempting to use the Internet to build a global Panopticon, capable of accessing everyone's personal information at any time for any reason or no reason.
We also know that one way the government is trying to accomplish this is by securing the cooperation of private companies. You can attempt to thwart surveillance by using encryption—but encryption only protects data in transit. Once it's received and decrypted, it's an open book. If the government can compromise private data custodians, encryption loses a lot of its efficacy. This is exactly what happened to Google, which had its internal traffic bugged by the NSA.
Sometimes, instead of outright sabotage, the government pressures companies into turning over information about their customers. See, for example, the brave efforts of Ladar Levison, head of now-defunct secure email provider Lavabit, to protect his customers—including Edward Snowden—from the government's prying eyes.

Also see:


Dutch Treat said...

The article on 6 feet of snow really caught my eye since I'm right in the middle of it. I live south of Buffalo and have been holed up for 3 days now with driving bans all over the place; but then again I've always felt that if your house is in one piece it's a good weather day; and wuld rather deal with this than an earthquake, hurricane or a tornado. Yessir this is Global Warming at it's finest hour. LOL!

KemBlank said...

Just a comment on the snow situation. None of the streets in our town or the surrounding towns have even been touched in three days. Dh and I are fine and thankful for a warm house, health and food but with unplowed streets, anyone ill or without some stored food is in danger as ambulances cannot get down the roads. There are concerns for the roofs as some in the area have collapsed.

Scott said...

Hey good luck in this! Isnt it pretty unusual up there to have driving bans? Take care of yourself and stay warm!

KemBlank said...

Driving bans are not all that unusual but three straight days are very unusual. I have spoken with some in the village proper and their streets are mostly in good shape so the claim of the town that the plows can't handle the snow is pretty bogus. Something decidedly odd is going on.

Dutch Treat said...

Thanks Scott! We are fine here for now; but with temperatures going into the 50s by Sunday and Monday, flooding is going to be a major concern here. Driving bans are not that unusual here in a big storm. They're mainly instituted to keep cars off the road so plows and emergency vehicles can get through.