Obama Stalling on Iran Sanctions Bill

Sunday, 28 Mar 2010 09:24 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama Stalling on Iran Sanctions Bill
2. ‘Cowgate’ Is Latest Global Warming Scandal
3. Poll: Obama Gets No Boost From Healthcare Vote
4. India Angry Over U.S. Plea Deal With Mumbai Terrorist
5. Republicans Grill Obama’s Army Nominee Over Leaks
6. We Heard: Schwarzenegger, Jenny Sanford, Meg Whitman

 

1. Obama Stalling on Iran Sanctions Bill

Legislation passed by Congress imposing harsh sanctions on Iran has languished for months without President Barack Obama’s signature as the Islamic Republic moves forward with its nuclear program.

In December, the House passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act by a 412-12 vote. The bill would increase the White House’s power to sanction any company or individual aiding Iran in importing gasoline or refining petroleum.

Iran must import up to 40 percent of its gasoline due to a lack of refining capacity.

The Senate passed a similar bill by a unanimous voice vote in January.

Citing Iran’s human rights abuses, funding of terrorists and pursuit of its nuclear program, Sen. Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said: “With passage of this bill, we make it clear that there will be appropriate consequences if these actions continue.”

Pro-Israel groups strongly support the legislation.

All that remained was for the Democratic leadership to reconcile slight differences in the House and Senate bills.

Instead, they have “bottled up the measure and refused to allow a blending of the bills,” Michael M. Rosen, a Republican activist and attorney in San Diego, writes in the Jerusalem Post.

“Why? Because the Obama administration asked them to.”

A State Department spokesman said the White House is trying to “make sure the president has sufficient flexibility to be able to work with other countries effectively for our shared goal of finding ways to put appropriate pressure on Iran to change course.”

The administration is reportedly not expected to seek a reconciliation of the bills until the United Nations pursues a new resolution on Iran.

China opposes another round of U.N.-sponsored sanctions, and the White House has urged congressional leaders to call China a “cooperating country” and exempt Chinese companies from sanctions for doing business with Iran, according to The Washington Post.

“In light of the Obama administration’s recent pummeling of the Israeli government for building homes in Jerusalem, the White House’s reluctance to punish Tehran and its willingness to coddle Beijing begin to make sense,” Rosen writes.

“Obama and his foreign policy advisers have consistently shown themselves to be more solicitous of America’s enemies than its allies, more willing to provoke our friends than to challenge our foes. And so far, this approach has succeeded only in emboldening opponents of the United States while alienating its trusted partners.”

Editor's Note:



2. ‘Cowgate’ Is Latest Global Warming Scandal

Another claim by global warming alarmists has been discredited — this time assertions about the role livestock play in producing greenhouse gases.

In 2006, a United Nations report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” claimed that “the livestock sector is a major player, responsible for        18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a higher share than transport.”

This led to demands for a “cow tax” in the U.S. and a campaign in Europe last year called “Less Meat = Less Heat,” political commentator Gerald Warner points out in Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

Now Dr. Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis, calls the U.N. report “scientifically inaccurate.”

In a report to the American Chemical Society, he reveals that the U.N. added all greenhouse-gas emissions associated with meat production, including fertilizer production, land clearance, methane emissions, production of feed, milk processing, and vehicle use on farms, to get the highest possible result.

But the transport figure included only the burning of fossil fuels, resulting in an “apples and oranges analogy that truly confused the issue,” Mitloehner disclosed.

In fact, just 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are attributable to the raising of cows and pigs, compared to 26 percent from transport, according to Mitloehner.

“It is becoming difficult to keep pace with the speed at which the global warming scam is now unraveling,” Warner writes, noting that the Washington Times has called the latest flap “Cowgate.”

“Himalayan glaciers, polar bears, Arctic ice, Amazon rainforests, all discredited.”

One of the authors of the U.N. report, Pierre Gerber with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, told the BBC he accepted Mitloehner’s criticism: “I must say honestly that he has a point — we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn’t do the same thing with transport.”

Editor's Note:



3. Poll: Obama Gets No Boost From Healthcare Vote

If the Democrats were hoping for a boost in President Barack Obama’s approval rating following passage of his healthcare reform bill, they must be disappointed by the results of a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Obama’s approval rating in the week before the healthcare vote in Congress stood at 46 percent. In the days following the vote, it actually went down to 45 percent.

His rating was split along party lines, but it stood steady at 40 percent among independents before and after the vote.

“It may be that passage of healthcare eventually helps President Barack Obama’s approval ratings, but at this point there’s no sign of that,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Other findings of the poll:

  • 41 percent of respondents view Obama less favorably over his handling of healthcare reform, 28 percent view him more favorably, and 29 percent say it makes no difference.
  • 38 percent of respondents said they are less likely to vote in November for a member of Congress who voted for the healthcare bill, while 25 percent are more likely and 34 percent said it would make no difference.
  • 39 percent of those polled say they view the Republican Party less favorably over its handling of healthcare reform, but 44 percent feel that way about Democrats.
  • Asked if eliminating the filibuster procedure in the Senate so that a simple majority could pass a measure, 51 percent said that is a bad idea and 39 percent think it is a good idea.
  • 41 percent of respondents think the healthcare reform plan will hurt the quality of the healthcare they receive, while 17 percent say it will improve, and 37 percent believe it will make no difference.

Editor's Note:



4. India Angry Over U.S. Plea Deal With Mumbai Terrorist

Officials in India are protesting a U.S. plea bargain agreement barring the extradition of Pakistan-born American David Headley, who admitted helping to plan the 2008 terror assault in Mumbai.

On March 18, Headley pleaded guilty in a Chicago federal court to 12 charges — nine of them relating to the attacks that killed 166 people — after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty or allow extradition.

In November 2008, 10 Pakistani gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish center in the Indian city. Nine were killed and one was captured.

Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani to facilitate his terrorist efforts, admitted that he made five trips to Mumbai to scout targets and met with co-conspirators in Pakistan.

A top legal official in India advised his government that the plea bargain conflicts with extradition treaties between the U.S. and India, according to CNSNews.

P. Chidambaram, India’s union minister of home affairs, said India would continue to press for Headley’s extradition. “There are many more questions that we want to ask,” he said in remarks reported by the Times in Britain.

“I will continue to press for access to Headley in the sense that he will testify in a proceeding or subject himself to interrogations. We have not given up our plea for extradition.”

G.K. Pillai, the home secretary, said India would lodge a “very strong protest” if Headley receives a light sentence as a result of his plea bargain.

India had hoped that Headley’s arrest in Chicago last October would expose Pakistani links to the Mumbai attacks.

That has led to speculation that the U.S. cut a deal with Headley because the disclosure of evidence showing that Pakistani officials helped plan the attacks might sour American relations with Pakistan, at a time when the U.S. needs Pakistan’s help in containing the threat from the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Editor's Note:



5. Republicans Grill Obama’s Army Nominee Over Leaks

Senate Republicans are questioning President Barack Obama’s choice for Army general counsel, former New York Times Chief Legal Officer Solomon Watson, over two Times articles that disclosed classified information.

One article, published in December 2005, revealed that President George W. Bush had given the National Security Agency the authority to eavesdrop on Americans’ international phone calls and e-mails without obtaining a warrant.

The second, published in June 2006, reported that a banking cooperative based in Belgium was secretly providing the U.S. with access to databases of international financial transfers, without individual warrants.

Both articles were sharply criticized by some as compromising counterterrorism efforts.

At a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Republicans charged that the articles jeopardized national security and questioned whether Watson could be trusted to protect classified secrets, the Times reported.

Watson, who spent 32 years at the Times before retiring in 2006, vowed that he would take “aggressive action” against anyone in the Army who leaked classified material.

He also said he did not personally play a role in deciding to publish the two articles.

Pressed by Sen. John McCain as to whether he believed the decision to publish them was justified, Watson said: “Were it my decision to make, I would not have made that decision. So I think, that is to say that — no.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said that Watson’s responses during the hearing “did not alleviate all my concerns regarding his role at The New York Times. In his role at the paper, I believe he had a responsibility to ensure that any concern he had about revealing sensitive material was properly heard by the paper´s leadership. His failure to speak up would seem to be tacit approval for the paper´s action."

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard . . .

THAT California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now has the highest disapproval rating of any governor in the state’s history, according to a new poll by the Field Research Corp.

The Republican’s disapproval rating stands at 71 percent, and his approval rating is 23 percent.

Democrat Gray Davis had a 70 percent disapproval rating before he was recalled in 2003. His approval rating at the time was 22 percent.

Schwarzenegger’s political standing has plummeted amid difficulties balancing a budget that has been billions of dollars in the red for several years running.

But Californians are even more unhappy with the state legislature, giving it a 78 percent disapproval rating.

THAT Jenny Sanford, Sen. Mark Sanford’s ex-wife, has launched a career as a motivational speaker by signing on with the Creative Artists Agency.

Jenny was granted a divorce decree in February after it was revealed that the South Carolina Republican was having an affair with a woman from Argentina. She told her story in The New York Times best-seller “Staying True.”

According to a release from Creative Artists Agency, Sanford “offers inspiration for anyone struggling to keep faith during life’s most trying times.”

THAT Republican Meg Whitman has now taken a lead over Democrat Jerry Brown in the race for governor of California.

The latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows Whitman, a former eBay CEO, with a 5 percentage point lead over Attorney General and former Gov. Brown.

In January, Brown led Whitman by 5 points in that poll.

And in February, a Rasmussen poll had the two in a dead heat.

Whitman is vying for the GOP nomination with state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, while Brown appears to have the Democratic nomination sewn up.

Editor's Note:



Editor's Notes:

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